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International Karate + - The Atari Times

International Karate +

Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting!
by Matthias Jaap

January 1, 2002
International Karate+ is one of many Karate games for the Atari ST. But IK+ is special...

Archer McLean is the author of some classic games: Drop Zone, International Karate and Jimmy White's Snooker. Although he is not a Karate expert he programmed the excellent International Karate which competed with the also quite popular Way of the Exploding Fist. 

IK+ isn't just an uninspired sequel of IK - it adds tons of new features. The main difference between IK+ and the majority of other fighting games are the three players on-screen. One of them is always controlled by the computer which means that you can grab a human friend and play against the computer. There is no way to turn off the third player. If you play alone you'll face two computer players who have fortunately no sense to form an ally against you. In order to win a round you have to score 6 points. You'll get two points for a front hit and one for a hit at the back. If one of the fighters is hit he will go down for a short while. The one frustrating thing about the game is that while you stand up you're absolutely helpless. 

Your player knows 17 movements which is a lot since your joystick has only one fire button. Most of the movements are easy to do but some need practice. You'll gain more points if you perform a harder move. The points are important to get additional belts and to win the round. The only way to stay in is to win the round or to be the second best. If two players have e.g. four battle points their round score will decide who wins. After two battle rounds you'll reach a bonus round with either bouncing balls or bombs.

The graphics of IK+ are great. The animation is nice and smooth and the players even have shadows. The background image does not change and is a wonderful sunset near a temple. All the images were painted with Neochrome. The sound is also good and consists of a good title tune and several digitalized sound effects.

If you look at the background graphic you'll notice that a lot of strange things are happening there. Sometimes there is a spider, or a fish, a bird and even Pac-Man shows up. The game knows a lot of keyboard commands to cause some effects: type "FISH" and a fish appears or "BIRD" for a bird. Press "T" and the trousers fall down. There are about 50 commands and the manual only describes some of them.

This is the perfect karate game for the Atari. There were other good ones (e.g. Karate Kid) but they either suffered from bad controls or bad graphics.

This shot does no justice to the colored and animated fighters here.
Three way battle!
I never saw Ralph Machio do that move before!
International Karate +
System: Atari-ST
Publisher: Archer McLean
Genre: Fighting
Graphics Score: 80%
Sound & Music Score: 79%
Gameplay Score: 82%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 80%

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