5.5

Nintendo's perhaps first attempt to distribute licensed games is nothing special, only to appeal to die-hard fans.

Pros: Good character likenesses; perhaps the first use of environmental weapons in gaming; bonus stage variety.

Cons: Kicks are the only way to go, making gameplay monotonous; generic graphics and music; only enemies use environmental weapons; second player in versus mode has unfair advantage; no dialogue or storyline

"The Karate Kid" is one of the first licensed games to be released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The title is a bit misleading since it was actually based on the 1986 movie "The Karate Kid Part II." If you've seen the movie, then you're familiar with the plot. If not, here's how it goes:

You're Daniel, a bullied karate student that fights in a martial arts tournament to prove his self-worth. After passing the tournament (you get to fight four fighters), you travel to Okinawa with Mr. Miyagi to fight thugs lead by Chozen, a nephew of a wealthy landowner that also has a beef with Miyagi. The last 3 stages you fight Chozen as the boss. (The reason why I'm giving this out is because there's no actual plot or dialogue in this game. I guess the developers assumed that you've seen the movie).

The gameplay is fairly simple, much like Kung Fu: punch, kick, jump, low punch, and low kick. Actually, the only move that is useful is the kick. The rest will leave you extremely vulnerable for enemy attacks. If you continuously hit your enemies with either a punch or a kick, you are awarded a "Drum Punch" or a "Crane Kick" (letters of "D" and "C" appear respectfully); they can also revive your life points too, so it’s very important to obtain those. There are 3 types of bonus stages in which you have to jump on certain black backgrounds to obtain them. One is the "Swinging Hammer", the hardest of the 3; you need to time your "blocks" 6 times or else you'll get knocked over (you won't die, though). Next is the "Ice Block Break;" this depends on your life meter as it goes up and down. The higher the meter, the more you'll break (if you break none, a comedic scene will follow). Last is the "Chopsticks Fly Catch", the easiest one; you are to catch all six flies with limited time. You are awarded Drum Punches and Cranes, depending on how successful you are in those stages.

Good character likenesses appear on the title screen, and during gameplay in which either Miyagi or Kumiko (your girlfriend) appear in certain stages to retrieve your life. Enemies can also use environmental weapons like cabbage and pots to defeat you, so watch out for those. The versus mode gives the second player (Chozen) an unfair advantage since his kicks are more powerful, and is able to move more freely than Daniel. If Daniel is cornered to the left, then SOL.

Other than the environmental weapons, graphics and sound are nothing special

"The Karate Kid" is at best a generic piece of gaming that would only appeal to the die-hard fans of series. Otherwise, you're probably better off ignoring this game altogether.

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