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 The Amstrad CPC port is amazing, with colorful graphics and an excellent character animation (vector graphics). There isn't much to say about the background details but the color palette is fine for its age. Its loose controls, high difficulty and rather slow action cannot keep someone away from this game. The game's sound on the CPC is good and includes typical sound effects but no music except of the game's opening and between each level scenes (as in all versions).
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.