From PRINCE OF PERSIA creator Jordan Mechner, the original side-scrolling karate classic comes to Steam with art by Jeff Matsuda (The Batman) and music by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin (CIVILIZATION IV).
User reviews:
Mixed (136 reviews) - 69% of the 136 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 3, 2012

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"Delightful... The game has the unique ability to tell a story and sell characters without words... Simple, pure fun and the price is right."
8/10 – Machinima Inside Gaming

"What seems extremely simple is actually incredibly nuanced... You’ll be shocked at how much better you do on your second play-through."

"Exceptional production values... Karateka may be just the game you need to remind you what made those early arcade games so fun."
8/10 – Game Informer

About This Game

From PRINCE OF PERSIA creator Jordan Mechner, the original side-scrolling karate classic comes to Steam with art by Jeff Matsuda (The Batman) and music by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin (CIVILIZATION IV).

Whether you are a nostalgic Karateka fan or new to the game, Karateka will charm you with its classic love story set in feudal Japan. Fight to save the lovely Mariko from the evil warlord Akuma and reunite her with her True Love!

Key Features:

Rhythm-based combat mechanic. Easy to grasp yet challenging to master, the cinematic gameplay seamlessly blends a series of escalating karate battles with a simple human story.

Three playable characters. Three endings. Three suitors vie for Mariko’s love: A fearsome Brute, a noble Monk, and her brave True Love.

Highly replayable. Innovative “three suitors” system offers a compact single-playthrough experience, yet challenges advanced players to unlock more difficult achievements and endings as their skill improves.

Unique real-time score by Christopher Tin tells the story through the music. Authentic Japanese instruments and themes let you “hear” the onscreen action in real time.

System Requirements

    • OS:Win XP, Win 7, Vista, Win 8
    • Processor:1.5GHz dual-core
    • Memory:1000 MB RAM
    • Graphics:ATI X1800 or better
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:1000 MB HD space
    • Sound:44kHz stereo
    • Additional:Runs on Unreal Engine 3
    • OS:Win 7
    • Memory:2000 MB RAM
    • Graphics:ATI X1800 or better
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:1500 MB HD space
    • Additional:Runs on Unreal Engine 3
Customer reviews
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Mixed (136 reviews)
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85 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
25 of 31 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 11, 2015
It’s a finicky thing trying to update a decades old game for a modern audience.

On the one hand you’re presumably trying to preserve the essence of the original, but on the other times have changed and games that were once incredible are often astoundingly simple compared to what developers are now capable of. And so there’s a fine line to ride between recreating outdated mechanics and deviating so heavily that the result bears little resemblance to its forbearer.

Karateka, and complete remake of the Apple II game of the same name, falls on the side of defiantly indulging in a wholesale recreation of its former self. The visuals may be drastically improved by way of a slick (if somewhat washed out) cell shaded look, but the core of the same is still the same rhythm based fighter it always was, and therein lies the problem.

I don’t think Karateka is bad, it’s just entirely as one-note as the now three decade old original, and wears out its welcome just as quickly as you’d expect. Though it resembles a fighting game, Karateka is far closer to a rhythm game. Attacking and blocking relies on proper timing and attention to visual cues, but there’s little player agency beyond reacting to the Simon-says feedback the game is giving you.

The idea is actually one I find pretty neat as a fan of rhythm games, and I was enjoying Karateka for at least the first handful of fights. But nothing ever changes beyond the simple fights your put through to learn how to play, and even at less than an hour long I was ready for Karateka to hurry up and end before it was even halfway through.

The repetition is grating and the game’s refusal to acknowledge and react to it frustrating. It’s not a game without merit, it just doesn’t know what to do with itself. That it’s constructed around a groan worthy damsel-in-distress plot, which culminates in the woman you’re rescuing effectively becoming your own prisoner, is only more bothersome and shows a hesitancy for Karateka to move past its archaic beginning. I’m not exactly sure who this version of Karateka is for, but as someone without any amount of nostalgia for the first it clearly wasn’t me.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
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27 of 35 people (77%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 17, 2014
From the creator of Prince of Persia, a fighter remade from early days of computing, 1984. Objective is to rescue the princess held captive by the evil warlord. You get three fighters though the ultimate objective is to not have to use numbers 2 and 3. The first fighter is weak and that's where the challenge lies. Upon his failure he is replaced by a stronger fighter. Upon his death he is replaced by an even stronger fighter. The princess is happy to be freed but wants her true love, fighter 1 to rescue her.

Unlike the 1984 version this version is based almost solely on counters. By listening carefully to the musical score you can discern the number of attacks to which you must block. After successfully blocking the last attack you can counter, damaging the opponent and whittling away his health. There is a chi system that allows you to stun your opponent as well as a health recovery system after some but not all fights.

The game itself is quite short but the path to freeing the princess is challenging and the ambiance of feudal Japan is immersive. The game is also available on the IPhone but does support 1080P and controllers on the PC.
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22 of 33 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 11, 2014
Block, block, block, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. This whole game is that for 30 minutes. There is a little tune before the enemy attacks indicating what rythem you have to block in but annoyingly enemies either have delayed attacks or sometimes they just don't put them in at all. One nice gimmick is that when you lose you get thrown off a cliff and a new (slightly uglier) hero comes along to try and save the shallow mute Princess. However as the final boss is always the only one to take you out, it leaves little motive to discover the alternative endings. Sorry Princess but you're stuck with Herman Munster.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 3, 2014
You're one of three heroes who have set off to rescue a foxy chick. You get to use all three characters, one at a time, to beat the game. When one dies, the next one steps in to take his place right at the same spot. Health is sprinkled pretty generously throughout the game in the form of flowers. And even if you do die on the third character, you'll get a chance to exchange some of your points for an extra life with the last hero. Obviously, "mastery" of the game means beating it with fewer of the characters as miss foxypants prefers the second hero to the third, and the first hero to the second.

Gameplay is very simple. Run forward (there's no sideways movement, just forward) until you get to the next guard. When you fight the guard, listen for an audio cue that tells you the rhythm to block incoming attacks with, then counter attack as you wish. You occasionally fill your combo meter, which allows you to deal a not-all-that-special special attack.

If you want a quick game to kick out of your backlog, Karateka is a fine choice. It's totally a one-sitting game as you can beat it in half an hour. For that brief period of time, it's fun enough, and every time you think you've gotten it down, it throws a new tricky pattern at you, though it never gets too hard.

3/5 Leprechauns in Space
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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
22.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 23
So I am one who had karateka on the Apple II+ back in the 80's. It was fun and so when I saw the reboot I was intrigued. I bought it in the Summer sale (2015) and finally got around to playing it. It is very short, but has some replay value trying to do it without being hit and winning with the true love.

Buy it on sale for $2-3 and you will enjoy it.

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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 24, 2014
When the enemy pulls back to make a punch, you press the block key. Sometimes you need to press it two or three times. Then you press one of two attack keys (which one doesn't really matter) a few times. You repeat this until the enemy is dead, then walk forward on the bridge a little, meet another enemy and do it again.

I'm not just telling you the best strategy - I'm telling the ONLY strategy. The game doesn't even let you attack until after you've blocked first. You cannot move your character. There's no strategy, no combos, no variation; just block, block, attack, attack, attack. It's like Punch-Out, but without the dodging, stamina, unique enemy attacks, or any of the other things that made Punch-Out fun.

After doing the same thing a dozen or so times, I stopped playing. I can't recommend this game to anyone, even if you got it for cheap in a bundle.
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13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 12, 2014
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.
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 17, 2014

An interesting concept, squandered by uninteresting gameplay and a disappointing lack of content.

(+) Interesting concept
(+) Unique approach to difficulty

(-) Basically just one giant QTE
(-) Pointlessly Repetitive
(-) Far too short (can be completed in less than an hour)
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 1, 2013
An on-rails brawler that basically consists of block, then counter with punches and kicks. No movement control other than moving forward after each fight.

Time to complete: 30 minutes
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 17
Fun rythem based fighting game. You fight your way to the top of the mountain to save the princess and it's all done by timing your blocks and punches.

You need to make it to the top within three lives. Each life is a different character who wants to rescue the princess and has a different story of how they know her. The first guy is her true love, second is a monk, and then third is a big muscle head. If you lose a fight it will start with the next character where you lost at.

It's a short game and can offer a good challenge on trying to make it to the top with her true love. It's worth playing and can be good if you just want to jump into something when you have little time. I recommend checking the game out. It can be fun.
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Recently Posted
2.1 hrs
Posted: October 25
I only played through twice, but the nostalgia alone was worth the $10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.6 hrs
Posted: March 5
Short, dull and ugly. Pass.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.3 hrs
Posted: March 5
A simple game, that is strangely addictive.
Minimal controls, but they are devilishly hard to master if you want that perfect score!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Posted: February 13
Minimalistic and short but still fun. Just like the old times.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.0 hrs
Posted: February 13
I finished the game in under 30 minutes. Only 529 more games to go.

07/10 would finish it again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
9.2 hrs
Posted: November 25, 2015
Not bad, it was a lot of fun to complete this one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Spooky Smed
0.6 hrs
Posted: November 10, 2015
it's like 3 button DDR
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sentient Entropy
1.7 hrs
Posted: November 3, 2015
Karateka is very beautiful way to rescue princess.
Helpful? Yes No Funny