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.
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
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
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
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