Amiga Karate logo

Price: £19.95/disk

Yes, Karate Games are all the rage again, and here is one of the first Amiga beat 'em ups. But we've got none of these funny titles, no Exploding Fists or Ninja Masters, the game is quite simply called Amiga Karate. But simple it's not, and when you get to 7th Dan well... anyway that's not important right now.

Now most good games have a plot of some kind which puts you in the mood for a bit of the old joystick wiggling, but I am afraid there doesn't seem to be one this time. Nope, no story telling how your kid sister was beaten with a chopstick or how the village tyrant made everybody give up chicken fried rice.

And to do that, you need skill, courage, dedication and a good firing thumb. But as we all know, most gamesters come with these features as standard.

Having been thrown into the ring with a bloke who could put Bruce Lee to shame, things start to look bleak. In fact they look even bleaker when you look at the instructions and find that they are in another language! But, as luck would have it, I finally fond the English ones, which were hiding under a full stop.

However, learning the moves wasn't too difficult, and I soon decked the would-be Charlie Chan, it was after a few bouts that I discovered the programmers humour.

Fighting with a few white belts is OK, one at a time nice 'n' easy like. Even when some little b... started throwing shurikens about all over the shop I managed to dodge and weave saving my knee caps from a close encounter of the fatal kind. It's when you have to fight two blokes, yellow belts no less, at the same time with death stars still flying about that you can start to worry.

Well, anyway, before you progress to the next belt you have to go through a special bonus-type screen. If you don't make the bonus screen then you lose a life and have to try again. Muff it three times and the game's over. Some bonus!

Just imagine it. You are, having just beaten five brown belts, feeling really proud and then you get trashed by a couple of flying china vases!
Vases? Oh yes, the bonus screen involves kicking or punching at vases in order to break them and go on to the next level.

While you're fighting the hordes, you can't help noticing the really smart backdrops which have been created for you to fight in front of. There are five different colour backgrounds which depict various settings from Buddhas to boats and houses and H'oriential temples.

Sound, too, is quite good, featuring digitised screams and background noises like birds tweeting, sea tides flowing and the odd bit of local gossip. The loading music is excellent.

Have I got anything to moan about? Well, the animation is very wooden. Just look at the front kick, no knee bending! Also the hit scoring system is a little stupid, it should be more like Fist or Int. Karate. After all, I think a flying number 47, in the gob would knock you over, don't you?

Overall a fairly good game, but not really what we should expect from an Amiga.