Karateka is a mid 80s fighting game written by Jordan Mechner (who later created Prince of Persia). The game was renowned at the time for its realistic vector graphics animations. Karateka was released for the Apple II computers and later ported to almost every major 8bit platform like the Amstrad CPC, Atari XE/XL, Atari 7800, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and the 16bit Atari ST, PC (DOS). The game was also released for the Nintendo NES and Game Boy consoles!
STORY / GAMEPLAY Written on an Apple II by Jordan Mechner in his Yale University dorm room, Karateka became a bestseller and affected a generation of gamers with its groundbreaking animation and cinematic cut-scenes. Evil Akuma kidnaps and holds the lovely Princess Mariko. You must defeat the guards of the castle as well as Akuma's eagle and eventually face Akuma himself in order to rescue the princess. The game's perspective of the two combatants is based on the typical 2D arcade fighting style. Your fighter can perform 3 different kicks and 3 different punches, depending on where the hits land: high, medium and low. Thus, the control layout becomes quite intuitive after just a few minutes of play time. A classic 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 both of you regain health. The controls are slow and that's really the only hiccup of this fun fighting game.
GRAPHICS / SOUND We first tried this game on the Atari XE and a few months later on the Amstrad CPC. The game has amazingly colorful graphics for its time and a flawless character animation. Remember, this is a 1984 fighting game. The graphics look more detailed on the Atari XE/XL (and the CPC) compared to its counterparts (a few more details found at the top of the mountains, the sprites have more shadows). The sound on the Atari XL/XE computers is not bad at all and features some low frequency sampled sound effects but no music except of the game's opening and between each level scene.
CPU: MOS Technology 6502C (1.79MHz for NTSC / 1.77MHz for PAL) MEMORY: 16Kb, 64Kb to 128Kb RAM (600XL, 65XE/1200XL/800XL, 130XE respectively), 16-32Kb ROM GRAPHICS: Upto 16 colors on screen at 160x192 or 2 colors at 384x240 (overscan) from an 128 to 256 color palette (the last available only on GTIA chip found in later than the old 400/800 models). SOUND: (POKEY custom chip) sound generator of 4 voices, 3.5 octaves, capable for polyphonic music and sound effects.