Created on an Apple II by Jordan Mechner in his Yale dorm room, Karateka became a #1 bestseller and influenced a generation of gamers with its groundbreaking rotoscoped animation and cinematic cut-scenes.
Evil Akuma is holding the lovely Princess Mariko. You must defeat the guards of the castle as well as Akuma's eagle and must eventually face Akuma himself in order to rescue the princess. Combat consists of side views of the two combatants, very much as with a typical arcade platform game. In game, you can use 3 types of kicks and 3 types of punching - divided by their height: high, medium and low. Thus, the control layout becomes quite intuitive after just a few minutes of play time. A typical energy indicator is used at the bottom of the screen to display the amount of damage you and the enemy can endure. Each time you or your enemy retreats you or him regains health.
The controls are slow, and that's really the only hickup about the game.
I've first played this game on a Atari XE and a few months later on my Amstrad CPC, I was absolutely amazed by the colorful graphics for the time, and the excellent character animation. Remember, this is a 1984 fighting game! Ok not much to say for the background details, but the colors being used are ok for its age. Graphics look more detailed on the Atari XE/XL (and the CPC) version when compared to its counterparts (notice a few details found at the top of the mountains, sprites have more shadows etc). I forgive the loose controls and high difficulty of the gameplay! The game definitely had the power of the use of vector graphics even on the 8bit home micro versions!
The sound is fine I believe, featuring sampled (of low frequency of course) sound FX here, but there is no music except in the game's opening and between each level.