3/2 Billy Idol IS the Karate Kid
 

Karateka

Damn.

     Forget anything I ever said up to now. This has to be the worst game ever made. Karateka (Kah-rah-tay-kah) seems utterly bent on making your life difficult. It seems to single you out, pick on you and make you cry. So far, I've been able to pull at least a somewhat redeeming feature out of all the games I've played thus far, such as Captain Novolin's pathetically laughable premise, or the insane enemies from The Lost Word of Jenny. I'm at a loss after playing Karateka, a game that fails dismally at every single thing it set out to do. I can't even compliment the visuals.

     Here's our hero, a sunburned Billy Idol. The first thing I did when the game started was attempt to jump off the cliff. The game actually denies you the ability to run to the left. If you hit down, he crouches into his martial arts stance, which allowed me to crab walk off the edge of the cliff. Which leads me to fatal flaw number three (the first two being the title screen and the inabilty to move to the left): You only have one life. Which really sucks when/if you get the hang of the fighting controls and make your way past the first few idiots only to get knocked over by a bird. Evidentally, your character has the ULTIMATE FIGHTING STANCE, since the same punch that knocks your health slider back a millimeter will kill you when you're in 'running' mode. Which, as I mentioned, applies to birds as well, which only attack indoors when you've just beaten a nondescript enemy type. It's pretty damn humiliating to get your ass kicked by a pink bird right after defeating one of your blue-faced adversaries.

If there is a plot, it probably has something to do with the guy who sits in a room with a fourth-grader's macaroni devil sculpture on the wall. He keeps pointing to the left, causing his followers to run in that direction. Also, once I swear I saw a woman tied up in a room with no right door. Therefore, I deduce that she's either a princess you're supposed to rescue, or the last villain. I'll probably never know, since I keep getting taken out by that damned bird. I don't know why that bird is so pissed off at me. Frankly, I don't care. Its pecking really irritates my sunburn. The remainder of the enemies are essentially the same guy running at you over and over, occasionally changing hats and pajamas. They're fairly harmless. In fact, you might even grow to love them. I doubt it, though. Even the bright promise of a PJ party with a house full of peppy karate enthusiasts, complete with an all-night dropkick contest, pales in contrast to my utter, seething hatred of this game.

The 'sliding scale' life bar provides an interesting twist on things. This way, if birds and guys in weird masks whittle down your health far enough, the next one who appears will be all-powerful and drop you with one punch. I actually had an idea like that when daydreaming about The Perfect Game, only it gave you a special comeback attack when your health gets to a point. Also, just as in real life, you can only deliver about three or four swift kicks to a guy's face before your central nervous system freezes up, forcing you to forgo ass-kicking and take a step back with your guard down. Fortunately, these 'devil ninjas' or whatever they pride themselves as have the hand-eye coordination of the mighty Brontosaurus. Another nice touch of realistic karate technique they've added are the tiny explosions the warrior's blows create. There are tales set in fuedal Japan of rival samurai who would, faced with the threat of freezing to death in a blizzard, spar to keep warm. This is also accurate in the respect that Billy Idol is highly combustible, and, if his temperature were raised, say, through a sunburn, he could generate fire blasts capable of melting a school bus and other parlor tricks.

Now to clarify the title. Or, if you prefer, "The eight flashing letters that triggered an epileptic seizure that killed my puppy, Spooch. DAMN YOU, KARATEKA! SPOOOOOCH!!!" 'Karateka' means 'karate artist.' And since your guy is running around with no shoes in his pajamas, he's obviously a skilled karate guy. Notice his black belt. Notice every other guy in the game has a black belt. Notice how little you feel after ten minutes of this trash. Let's move onto some more vocabulary, shall we? "Mangaka" are the manga artists we rely on for our day-to-day subway and bathroom reading needs. They are usually high-stress individuals prone to staying up late and waking up early. Come to think of it, Mangaka would have been a more interesting game. You could play an out-of-shape artist who looks as though he's never seen the sun. You could relive the excitement of carefully placing screentones, then carefully trimming the excess, using white ink to add highlights. Other Japanese expressions you may like to know include 'tori,' which means 'bird' and "KYAAA!! TORI O KURU DA!! TASUKETE KUDASAI! YAMETE! ORE NO HITOMI- ITAAAAIII! KUSO!" which approximately translates to "Why yes, I'd love more ramen."

Assuming you can get past the bird somehow, don't get too drunk with victory. The gate will scissor you in half with ease. And what else did you expect from a fighting game created by somebody named "Jordan Mechnor."

Need I rate this trash?

Graphics: 0 Billy Idol never looked this red. Wait until VH1 hears about this game. They might do a scandalous yet tasteful documentary on it.
Sound: -1 I played this once with the sound up. The second time I played, I turned the sound off and had a friend stomp on my foot repeatedly while fighting. I think we're onto a whole new level of interactive gaming here.
Gameplay: -6x(Avagadro's number)íŽ(Which is freaking huge) Astounding. I've played helicopter simulation games with better response time than this. It's easier to make Tetris blocks go up than fool around with Little Billy.
Overall: Innately Evil With a winning combination of crappy yet smoothly animated graphics, unpleasant, uncatchy music, and the worst play control this side of Russia, this game could make Ghandi take up a .45 and start taking out people. And buy a sandwich while he's at it.

-MANNA

     

An ancient Japanese word for "This Game Sucks."

Billy Idol with kung-fu grip.

Billy Idol kicks a marauding Hun in the crotch and enters the International House of Pancakes.