Game: "Karate Champ"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action
Published by: Other

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 4/17/2008

Review: Karate Champ was a simple 80's fighting game before the more popular titles like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat eventually came around. You faced off against an opponent, human or computer, to see who could score two points first and eventually win the best of three rounds before moving on to the next level. What was odd about the game is how the points were earned. If you just kicked your opponent in the chest, it would reward you with only a half point. However, if you managed to land a more high risk move such as the jump back kick, you could potentially get a full point and be on your way to winning the match even faster. Learning the moves definitely took a little while to get used to, having to move the control pad in weird patterns while simultaneously pushing the correct buttons... but it's nothing you couldn't master after playing the game for an hour at most.

Other than different locations for your battles to take place, which has no effect on the battles themselves I might add, the game really doesn't change at all. I guess the creators figured they needed to add some variety to the game, and since you didn't get to learn any new moves, at least you could enjoy some different backgrounds. The ten background scenes included a cliff, a field, an alley, a tropical sunset, train tracks, a brick dungeon-like area, a park, the ocean, an island, and a warehouse. After you made it through all ten areas, the game would just start over again.

Karate Champ did incorporate digitized voice effects, which at the time, were always a nice addition to any game. Though, to be honest, hearing the referee say "Point!" and "Begin!" countless times, does tend to wear off quickly. And speaking of the ref, it seems as though they didn't really plan on having him in the game originally because he's placed in different areas depending on what screen you're on. My favorite placement is on the tropical sunset level where they actually placed him on top of a palm tree silhouette because there was simply no other place to stick the poor guy. That combined with the fact that he's always doing this little dance which makes it look like he needs to take a piss makes for some great unintentional humor.

There are some other aspects to the game which I always found amusing too. For example, instead of bowing to show your defeated opponent respect after you win a round, your guy does a victory dance right in front of his face. Not very honorable of you, Mr. Karate Champ.

At the end of each round, the winner is also treated to a bonus round in which a plethora of flower pots are chucked at you from both sides of the screen for some inexplicable reason. You could punch and kick them, but you had to time it just right or you'd be knocked on your ass in a heartbeat. I never did master those bonus rounds even after all the hours I spent on this game as a kid. Who the hell throws flower pots at Karate Champs anyway?

It's far from the best fighting game ever made, and it does get old really fast if you're playing against the computer, but if you've got a friend to play it with, you could do a lot worse than Karate Champ as far as classic fighting games go.

Overall rating: WholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Retardedly Handsome
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
I think I had this game for my Commodore 64 when I was a kid. For the time I think it was a good fighting game. Just another game that would cheat though.
Ordinary Blogger
Apr 17th, 2008, 06:25 PM
I liked seeing the arcade version in the movie "Bloodsport" it made the game cool for me seeing Van Damme show off his mad Gameing skills LMAO!!!
Fake Shemp
Apr 17th, 2008, 07:41 PM
Loved this game for my NES. Playing against one certain friend of mine, I was completely unbeatable with my leg sweep. He never seemed to figure out that a)he could jump it, b)he could just back the hell away from me or c)I was going to keep using it on him over and over and over again.

Thanks for the flashback RoG, I'd totally forgotten about this little piece of fried NES gold :P
Ultimate Buzzkill
Apr 18th, 2008, 04:32 PM
I remember playing this in arcades, mostly because of the judge's "pee pee dance," which I found hilarious as a child.
Apr 18th, 2008, 06:29 PM
I got a game likw on one of those illegal GBA carts that have 40-100 games; first thing I did was fall off.. It wasn't this though; the graphics were more realistic...
Do I regonise that vally looking place from a certain awesome Castlavania Flash game?
Apr 18th, 2008, 09:36 PM
I remember wasting many hours of my childhood repeatedly kicking my opponent in the shins.
Apr 21st, 2008, 12:29 AM
Originally Posted by Icculus View Post
I think I had this game for my Commodore 64 when I was a kid. For the time I think it was a good fighting game. Just another game that would cheat though.
now that you mentioned the Commodore 64, there was a similar game called IK: International Karate which had similar gameplay. apparently Data East tried to sue the company behind IK, but it was settled. it's kinda ironic, because Capcom would do the same thing to Data East when Fighter's History came out.
Forum Virgin
Apr 21st, 2008, 04:37 AM
Hey -RoG-, when it comes to the "Bonus"/Flower pot round, after smashing a few of the flower pots this bull would come out and charge you. Don't ask me how to beat the bull...he always ran me over(nor did I ever figure out how to take care of that damned bull).
Space Case
Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:08 AM
Heh heh, Karate Champ... My younger brother and I still play it. Neither of us can beat the bonus stage either.
Pickled Patriarch
Apr 22nd, 2008, 07:12 PM
Scorpio1976, are you serious? I've never seen that bull before... was it just in the arcade version maybe or do I just suck that badly at the bonus flower pot round?