Karateka is a remake of an old school game, that I have never had the chance to play, but may check out now given the theme of this remake. That said, I have no basis for comparison to the original. It would seem some fans of the original did not like this remake too well. But this could very well be the same syndrome one gets when comparing a book to a movie adaptation, or anything similar.
In any case, I enjoyed the little bit I played of this. Karateka is very nice looking. You play as one of 3 characters: The hero of the game. A monk. And a oafish brute. You start as the hero, and when you die, the monk takes his place, and if the monk dies, the big brute takes his place. Each character has their own ending, and fighting style. So the objective to get the better endings would indeed be to not get killed.
Karateka feels very on rails. It is 2.5D, and you can only move forward. there is no jumping, or going back. Just a series of fights. One after another. That is pretty much what this game involves. The fights though are handled pretty nicely. It's not like a fighting game, but more like a QTE without the on screen button prompts, or a rhythm game, again, without any prompts. You block oncoming attacks, which wll be switched up with each opponent, and after succesfully blocking, do your own attacks. Or once in a while, the enemy may taunt you, in which you can attack them at that point. That's pretty much it. Very simple, but challenging at the same time.
There is no voice work. There are no subtitles. So the story is pretty much interpreted through actions. But it's pretty simple. A young girl is being held captive. And one of the three playable characters is going to go through an army of bad guys to save her. One ♥♥♥ kicking at a time.
I can't really recommend this one at the current price, given how short it is. But if you get a copy either through a bundle, or a nice discount, this is definitely worth playing.