What makes a man? There are many different versions to what people today believe a true man is, however the ways of the gentlemen is dying out by each year, because of those that misunderstand a man’s gesture. In Karateka, three brave men will climb up a mountain just to save the lovely Mariko from the evil overlord Akuma before her life is ruined for eternity marrying such a tyrant. The main question is, will you be strong enough to deal with the many adversaries before reaching the palace? I mean even Akuma’s bird is gunning to take you down. Let us find out!
I want you to understand that this is indeed a love story with a few twist involved wrapped around a simple path. There is no side quest or hidden items. There are three main heroes that are trying to rescue the fair Mariko. The first you will play as is her true love, the second is a righteous Monk and the third is a loyal Brute. Pretty much this game gives you the small, medium and “DAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN” treatment of the game. There is only a path to move forward facing enemies one at a time. The style of the game play is a rhythm martial arts fighter. At your disposal is a punch, kick, block and chi special attack, but to be clear button smashing will just get you thrown off the mountain. If you follow the beat of the music when it chimes in before the enemy attacks; you can predict how many attacks to block before you unleash your fury of combos. In a successful combat situation you will begin to build up your chi energy. Once your chi is filled, you can cause a stun attack and catch your enemy open to land a devastating attack. It is really simple, just do not lose your focus and follow the proper beat of your enemies’ attack, so you can have the perfect match.
Karateka is running off the unreal engine so the graphics are amazing, but the whole atmosphere is of a silent Hong Kong movie. The actions of each character are shown through their personality and at times you will meet a few enemies that have honor in combat when you “Gei-sho-rei” to them or if you don’t know the term in martial arts, a respectful bow before combat to honor your enemy. I recall bowing to each and every one of my enemies even the boss fights, but when those select few decided to dust off their shoulder or just taunt me to, “Come on!” I made sure to punish them for their disrespect! The most annoying enemy is that damn bird who randomly appears as you get closer to your goal. It will attack once and if you successfully block you will have to determine whether to hit it with a punch or a kick to stop its second attack. If the bird falls back high you do a kick, if it falls low you perform a punch…you are welcome!
Side note: “I bet some of you didn’t know this was a 1984 remake originally by Jordan Mechner on the Commodore 64. The funny part is the cover shows a blonde white male and a blonde white female named Mariko….lol. Just wanted to share that information! It was the same concept ascending a mountain fighting enemies, but it was a 2d side-scrolling with fighting game elements. I am glad they came out with a remake and upgraded the characters giving them a more ethnic background. That’s your video game history lesson!”
The downside of the game would be the fact that you can’t choose your hero to save the fair Mariko. If your first warrior goes down; then it is up to the second to take his place and if the second shall fall. It is all up to the third to successfully finish the game, however to keep the third hero alive all depends on how many points you accumulated. However I shall not spoil the ending for you if you are to succeed in your journey, but it is a challenge to try to keep the first hero alive.
In the end Karateka is a fun, but short game at $9.99 which makes this a classic “BUY!” If played right you can get through this game in 30 minutes or less depending on your skill. I am not going to knock this game for being a remake, because it was an interesting title and a quick way to have some fun. I hope you give it a try because there is a demo out and I believe you will enjoy, especially those that played back in the 80’s. I hope you enjoyed this review and please be sure to enjoy the holidays and enjoy the rest of the year. Stay frosty gamers!
Developer: Liquid Entertainment
Genre: Action-Martial Arts
# players: 1
Platform: Ps3, Xbox360, Nintendo WiiU, Microsoft Windows
Kuma Kreations Rating: 3.5 out of 5