Commodore User1st November 1986
Published in Commodore User #39
I bet the last thing you expected to appear on your cruelly mocked little machines was America's number one game, but you better believe that the fastest head-to-head karate game in the world is available for your mini micros.
First impressions are very favourable, excellent background screens which look just like the package shots. The only difference was that, instead of one black and one red figure, both fighters are black. Another minor error will become apparent as soon as you start to play. You are player two not player one as the instructions tell you. This is a bit daft since the computer had the arrows pointing beneath the wrong figure.
Pessimists among you will be wondering how many moves may have been dropped because of the excellent graphics and the limited memory of your micro. Surprisingly you have access to sixteen different moves that are more than adequate to dispose of your opponent. All of the favourite moves are there: somersaults, roundhouse, the painful crouch punch but there's a rather pathetic flying kick.
You both bow before each bout and have thirty seconds to beat the living daylights out of each other. The first man up is very easy and quickly despatched in a few moves. Incidentally the judge in the background doesn't do anything at all, he's just a part of the scenery, that or he's a zombie.
The other backgrounds have to be loaded separately. This seemed to be a waste of time since each opponent looked like the last one. Was it worth the bother? Just about, if only to see the best backgrounds yet on the C16. Once I had beaten the 'kid' on screen three, (I've yet to see a C16/Plus4 karate game that uses men) I was waiting for something spectacular to happen. Nothing. Match Over was the result, which is pretty infuriating, when you've wasted valuable gaming time getting there.
If you have read the review of the C64 Ninja Master in August you may remember unfavourable remarks about wooden dolls. Well, the two 'kids' in this have animation which looks very much like wooden puppets, with tangled strings.
What about that flying kick, you cry? Well, pathetic would be putting it lightly. It's a puny few centimetres off the ground, which your kid then jabs into the air and follows it up by sticking his leg out. All the same, it's still very effective, as far as its impact on unsuspecting opponents goes. One major drawback which is very noticeable, is the lack of some reasonable sound. Yes, it has sound, but it's so poor as to be worthless.
The major problem was I couldn't get anyone with enough courage to face up to a good thrashing. Maybe the Ed will be a better opponent than the wallies the computer throws up at you. I really do suggest you don't bother to play against the computer, International Karate is best seen as a two player game, if you do want more from a martial arts game, I suggest you wait for Exploding Fist or Anco's Karate King, and then decide.