International Karate + (aka IK+) is a karate fighting game produced by System 3, back in 1987, for the three 8bit home-computers, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. In 1988 IK+ was developed for the Atari ST and Amiga (1 Disk 3.5") and became one of the best fighting games for the 16 bit home computers. In 2003, following the retro-gaming trend, Maclean's Ignition Entertainment released IK+ for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation in Europe.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Three Karatekas are fighting on the same screen (and the same backdrop), in order to further their belts and skills. After gaining some points there are frequently two bonus games where you must either kick bombs away (before they explode) or you deflect fireballs holding a shield. A second player can join the game and the third is controlled by the CPU. The first of the three players to score six points is the winner and is awarded extra points for every second left. The player with the lowest score at the end of the round is out of the game. One of the most impressive aspects of this game is that punches and kicks are fast and furious, I mean really fast! There are twelve attacking moves and a handful of defensive styles at your disposal. Some details are taken directly from the original International Karate, plus a lot more, such as reverse face kick, double head kick (for hitting both fighters) and so on. IK+ is one of the best and more fun to play fighting games for the 16bits home computers. Win points, get the highest belt and become the new karate master! IK+ is everything a fighting game should be. It is intense, spectacular, loud and great looking!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics are colorful and the character animation is perfectly done and smooth. Although the background detail does not change during gameplay, there is a wonderful animated sunset near a temple (the sun's rays reflect in the sea as it laps the shore). There are a few nice animations found on the background too (birds flying, leafs falling from a tree, fish jumping! etc). Note that the overall visuals are identical between the Amiga Atari ST, although the Amiga version offers more colors on screen (actually double the amount). The game's sprites move really fast and very smooth and are greatly animated. The most impressive detail are the sounds FX which were produced using high-quality digitized samples from karate/fighting movies and Bruce Lee-style battle cries. More on that, the Amiga version features a great main menu stereo music, composed by Dave Lowe and performed several years later at the Symphonic Game Music Concert III in 2005! IK+ music was voted as the Best 16-bit Soundtrack of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards!
CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs