Karateka, Commodore 64

Karateka was Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner‘s first published game. He programmed it (originally for the Apple II) while attending Yale University in 1984.

It’s a simple martial arts fighting game that uses rotoscoped graphics to create realistic animation. Back in 1984 they were pretty revolutionary.

The aim of Karateka is to fight your way into a guarded fortress to rescue your love interest, Mariko. Using well-timed punches and kicks you defeat waves of opponents; defeat attacking hawks; and make your way past deadly falling portcullis – until you reach the boss, Akuma. Who of course you have to fight to free Mariko.

Karateka is – I think – a better-looking game on the Commodore 64 than on the Apple II. Both versions play quite slowly (frustratingly slowly for some, although you can boost the speed in an emulator), but the underlying gameplay is still sound.

Jordan Mechner himself was involved in a 2012 remake of Karateka, released for XBox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and iOS.

More: Karateka on Wikipedia

2 Comments

  1. At first glance I thought this was International Karate. Quite surprised to see that this predates that by many years, and seems to have more meat to it.

    Not too sure about that remake like, seems a bit too different, but seeing how cheap it is might give it a punt out of interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the figures have got an International Karate look to them. The Apple II version of Karateka came out in 1984, and this C64 version was 1985 (the same year as IK), so the original pipped it to the post a year earlier.
      Not sure about the remake. I might give it a try at some point, but it looks a bit cartoony. I doubt it’ll be crap, though, if Mechner himself was involved.

      Like

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