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Karateka

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Released: 1986

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 8-bit

Publisher: Broderbund

Developer: Jordan Mechner

Submitted by: Anthony Staude

Conversion from the original Apple ][ game.

The aim of the game is to rescue the kidnapped princess Mariko by defeating a series of evil karatekas and finally Akuma who is holding her for ransom.

Jordan Mechner's first game and what a glorious game it was for it's day.

I remember first seeing it run on one of my school's Apple ][e computers on a horrible green-screen monitor. Despite this setup being completely counter to what a good gaming setup was supposed to be I was utterly enthralled. The smoothness of animation and realism of the movement was incredible.I "acquired" a copy of the game and played it when I could trying to defeat the evil karatekas, however it remained undefeated.

The lovely cut-scenes inbetween fights added to the atmosphere – it was more like playing a movie than playing a game.

The original Apple ][  version was nice – but I think the Atari and C64 versions were nicer again. There were loads of other conversions for almost all popular formats at the time including PC, Atari ST, Spectrum, Amstrad and even NES.

The Atari 8-bit version was originally released on disk by Broderbund. When the XEGS was released, Atari repackaged it into a XEGS cartridge. It's a big cart – as big as you can get for the Atari 8-bit with a 128KB ROM.

The cartridge release of the game makes it the best version from all the rest for two reasons: durability and quick loading times.

I bought it a couple years on eBay so that now I'm going to finally save Mariko and defeat Akuma and his henchmen once and for all.