International Karate + (aka IK+) is a karate fighting game produced by System 3, back in 1987, for the three 8bit home-computers, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. In 1988 IK+ was developed for the Atari ST and Amiga (1 Disk 3.5") and became one of the best fighting games for the 16 bit home computers. In 2003, following the retro-gaming trend, Maclean's Ignition Entertainment released IK+ for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation in Europe.
STORY / GAMEPLAY
Three Karatekas are fighting on the same screen (and the same backdrop), in order to further their belts and skills. After gaining some points there are frequently two bonus games where you must either kick bombs away (before they explode) or you deflect fireballs holding a shield. A second player can join the game and the third is controlled by the CPU. The first of the three players to score six points is the winner and is awarded extra points for every second left. The player with the lowest score at the end of the round is out of the game. One of the most impressive aspects of this game is that punches and kicks are fast and furious, I mean really fast! There are twelve attacking moves and a handful of defensive styles at your disposal. Some details are taken directly from the original International Karate, plus a lot more, such as reverse face kick, double head kick (for hitting both fighters) and so on. IK+ is one of the best and more fun to play fighting games for the 16bits home computers. Win points, get the highest belt and become the new karate master! IK+ is everything a fighting game should be. It is intense, spectacular, loud and great looking!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The CPC version looks and plays great, with bright colors and smooth enough sprite animation. All Karatekas move nicely on-screen with many frames of animation. The backgrounds look good as well, although they have a single scene (a sunset over the sea) with occasionally some animated sprites (birds flying)! Comparably, the game runs much smoother on the C64 counterpart and the backgrounds look closer to the 16bit versions (Amiga, Atari ST)! Some details also are clipped on the CPC version such as the tree standing at the very right side of the screen! As for the game's sound, the CPC version has a great tune during gameplay along with a few basic sound effects.
GAMEPLAY SAMPLE VIDEO On our video below you may watch the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 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.