International Karate

System 3 Software Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 2, Feb 1986   page(s) 28

System 3

With so many games based on the thrills and spills of the old Kung Fu movies, International Karate is definitely a worthy attempt at being the best.

Animation's fine, but the backdrops of the various countries you fight in get pretty boring after a while. But then graphics isn't what the games all about. Clobbering your opponent hard and fast's the aim of the game... International Karate has its Bruce Lees positively leaping all over the shop!

The fighters can choose from sixteen different movements but, as you can imagine, the logistics of carrying out these sophisticated moves - especially in a two-player bout! - is more than a set of weary fingers - or even a jaded joystick - can contemplate.

The judge of the fight announces - yes, the program speaks... and it's almost understandable too! - the scores, and puts the players back to the starting grid if the fighting gets too silly.

It's an enjoyable game - but getting the maximum out of your fighting figure is a little difficult. All the same, it's fairly addictive and, if you just restrict yourself to a well- chosen routine of kicks and punches, you can generally get good enough to fight your way through the levels.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 5/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 53, May 1990   page(s) 27



Beat-'em-ups, eh? They've been oodles of them gracing the Speccy over the years, haven't there? So many in fact that it's easy-peasy to get your Exploding Fists mixed up with your International Karates, and end up with absolutely no idea where you are. But not any more, 'cos here's Jonathan Davies with the Your Sinclair Definitive Guide To Beat-'Em-Ups!! Hurrah! (Or should that be "Hai-arrgh!"?)

Before we start, let's get one thing straight - beat-'em-ups are not boring, and if you think they are then you've got it all wrong. On the contrary, they're jolly interesting. And, rather than all being exactly the same, they're highly individual affairs, each with their own subtleties and nuances. To assume otherwise exhibits a total ignorance of the creativity and skill that go into making what has become one of the stalwarts of the computer games industry.

So what constitutes a 'beat-'em-up'? Obviously, the beating up of one or more characters is an essential part of the gameplay. Whether this is done with one's hands or a weapon depends on the game. Purists tend to frown upon the use of shurikens, big sticks and other instruments, but it's a sad fact that in these days you're unlikely to rescue your princess without some sort of mechanical assistance. The setting is also important. The summit of Mount Yukahomo is ideal or perhaps the imperial palace of the Dragon master, but an oriental atmosphere is a definite must.

In its traditional form the beat-'em-up takes place on a single screen, with your opponents tackling you one at a time. Variations, however, include the scrolling beat-'em-up (with the bonus of tackling two or more adversaries at once) and the full scale flip-screen, multi-level version with add-on weapons, puzzles to solve and an embossment of up to three initials.

Whichever incarnation it appears in, a beat-'em-up is not to be taken lightly. A sharp eye, lightning reflexes and an elephantine memory (for learning all those moves) are needed, along with the finest joystick available.


"That's easy," you exclaim. "Way Of The Exploding Fist!" But you'd be wrong. The first ever beat-'em-up, the father of them all, the seed from which all future offerings stemmed forth, and of which al the others are but pale imitations, was none other than Kung Fu, from a long-forgotten label called Bug-Byte.

A very primitive construction, it had all the ingredients of the real thing (including tinkly music). Reviewed in ish 11 of Your Spectrum, it scored 3/5 (times where hard). The rest, as they say, is, erm... oh, well you know.

International Karate
System 3

While being a shameful copy of Fist in most ways, International Karate managed to introduce a few novel features. The main one was the 'International' bit, which means that the game is played against a series of backdrops representing various parts of the world. Then there was the speech, which is about as successful as always on the Speccy. And finally the bonus screens. Hmm.

Other than that, International Karate is about as standard a beat-'em-up as you're likely to see. It doesn't quite have the slickness of Fist, and is definitely lacking when it comes to excruciating crunches and things, but it makes a reasonable attempt at animation which is something.

International Karate +, the sequel, startled us all with the introduction of a third character.

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Inscrutability: 75%
Wince Factor: 66%
Versatitlity: 68%
Eastern Promise: 79%
Overall: 74%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB