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.
As in all 8bit versions, graphics are colorful, without any particularly detailed backdrops. What is really impressive with this game is the excellent character animations. The action here is a bit slower when compared to the Amstrad and Atari versions, but it is playable. I forgive the loose controls and high difficulty of the gameplay though I do find the gameplay a bit easier on the Commodore rather than CPC or XE/XL! Surely, this game had the power of the use of vector graphics even on 8bit home micro versions! I did notice a frame-rate dropping here when more background detailed occur in some stages, ut this is normal for a mid 80s vector-graphics title.
As in all 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.