Karate Kid

It's pretty common knowledge that nearly every movie that breaks even at the box office gets a video game or two based on it.  However, due to the license generally being given to the lowest bidder to program, and even then having to be rushed to completion to coincide with the movie release date, we generally end up with some pretty bad games.  This trend can be seen as far back as E.T. for the Atari 2600, or as recently as the bug-filled mess, Enter the Matrix.   Unfortunately, Karate Kid is just another license having its name tarnished by this formula.

The game begins with a karate tournament, where you fight a number of opponents.  They may as well have not bothered recoloring the same sprite, though, since they all have the same strategy; walk up and punch you, which you can counter every time by standing still and pressing the Kick button repeatedly.  They'll fly through the air, they'll jump up and down, only to come to the same conclusion as you punt them across the ring again.  After four rounds of this nonsense, the main portion of the game begins.

Well, the premise is that you're going through downtown Japan fighting off attackers, but all this means to you is that you now have to jump over a few pits in addition to punching and kicking.  The enemies are no brighter than they were back at the tournament, so standing still and kicking is still the way to defeat every last one of them as you advance forward.  Occasionally you can pick up a powerup that allows you to use the Drum Punch (which just means you punch twice), or the Crane Kick (see below).  Since both seem to go off randomly when you press the Punch and Kick buttons respectively, they're really not of much use unless the powerup happens to appear during a boss fight.

The fearsome Crane Kick

After defeating the stage's first boss (another generic karate guy), you move on to the second stage.  This one is nearly the same, save for winds that push you backward and debris that flies at your head throughout the stage.  The debris can be taken care off the same way as all other enemies - with a single punch or kick.

Halfway through the stage, you may run into an open door.  Entering results in this:

A pretty crappy minigame!

Once that's over with, it's time to cut a swath through more nondescript karate guys, and then it's time for the second boss.  You may be worried about being low on life from all the shrapnel that hit your character in the face along the way, but don't worry - Mr. Miyagi is miraculously floating in the air near the end of the stage.  Hi-five him and your life is refilled!

The fearsome boss of hurricane-land is, yet again, a generic karate man.  Actually, you can just completely ignore this guy and jump up the platforms to the girl - you have to reach her to end the stage; karate man is inconsequential.

And from there, we're on to the final fight.  After another brawl through dozens more enemies, that is.


After running another gauntlet of crappy platforming action, generic karate guys, generic karate guys throwing rocks and karate guys with saws that turn into generic karate guys without saws after you kick them in the groin, the game comes down to the final fight with Chozen.  The trick this time?  If you kick him into the water on either end of the arena, he comes back with full life.  And if the girl on the platform gets knocked into the drink, you die.  Fortunately, dirty tricks are no match for the same technique that his felled every enemy in the game to this point.

Another amazing ending from LJN.  That pic of Miyagi sets it one step above Roger Rabbit's single screen of text, though.

Rating: 2/10
One-line synopsis: In my mind, the name "LJN" is usually synonymous with decent licenses turned into bad games.  This is one of those.

©2005 Spoony