(C64 / Commodore 64)

International Karate + (C64 / Commodore 64)

Game Review

International Karate + Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dion Guy

Karate fighting has never been so much fun.

After the original was released as one of the two debut C64 titles on the VC, we didn't have to wait too long for the even better sequel to appear. At heart the same game, the plus in IK+ refers to a key difference - a third fighter. Whilst you could previously compete against a friend or the computer one on one, you can now take on two opponents at once - although there always has to be at least one computer player.

Much as before, you have a wide range of moves at your disposal by moving the controller in one of eight directions, either with or without holding the fire button. Moves range from simple punches through leg sweeps and even headbutts. A new move introduced is the 'double head kick' which, when properly timed, knocks out both opponents at once!

Due to always having two opponents, IK+ is a more frantic affair than its predecessor, as whilst you are trying to land a move on one, the other is invariably trying to catch you off guard. Each round lasts 30 seconds, and a fighter is awarded points for each successful attacking move (as well as a score). If any fighter reaches 6 points then the round ends there, and they are declared the winner; receiving a score bonus based on time remaining. If a human player is in last place then they are replaced with a computer in the next round, unless there is only one human in which case it is game over. It is possible to come joint last - if this happens both players remain in.

After every two bouts there is a bonus stage that involves deflecting bouncing balls away with a small shield, as they approach from the left and right. At first the bounce height is constant; if a ball is approaching low then it will stay low. In later stages flashing bouncing balls are introduced, which vary their height with each bounce - these can prove difficult to predict! Each successful deflection earns 100 points - survive all balls (around 60) and you get a huge 5,000 point bonus. Score determines the belt you are ranked at (ranging from white to black), so this can be a fast way of progressing.

The graphics and animation remain as effective as before, although there is now only one background as opposed to the previous variety. However, your attention is very much focused on the hectic foreground activities for the majority of the time, so this really isn't a problem. Sound effects are simple but work well; a favourite being the noise your opponent makes when he crumples to the ground. The music is pleasant, although not outstanding, with a quick tempo that fits the game nicely.

Learning the assortment of moves may take a little while, but it's really the timing that you need to master in order to progress to the highest belt. This is no button hacker, there are no 20 move combos that you need to memorise - it's about making the right move at the right time, whilst constantly watching your back. Never is this more true than when playing with another human who, despite a pre-bout agreement to gang up on the computer, could stab (well, punch) you in the back at any moment.


Taking an already good game and adding an extra fighter was a stroke of genius, and results in an exceptionally playable game. Ideal for a quick tournament with your friends, or a longer session of trying to improve your rank, this is a must purchase if you are hankering for a beat-em-up that requires a decent amount of skill, rather than how fast you can push a sequence of buttons.

From the web

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User Comments (4)



Supermarioman said:

Another great review, great to see the VC Review crew working as hard as ever and I can't wait till this come to America and
...................FIR, ah screw being first.



cecesigue said:

So i guess this one is as good but different. maybe i will get the first one only.



^ Well, you've probably made up your mind by now, but the general consensus (i.e. almost everybody) is that the second game virtually makes the first obsolete. If you only get one, it should be IK+.

If it's "as good but different", why would you want the first one so much? IK+ is pretty much the first game with refinements. The one background is really good looking, and the third character works in favor of making the game about a million times more interesting.

Don't be a fool, just wait for IK+ unless you want both.

IK+ is an awesome game, and should've been on the VC here in the US a long, long time ago. Europe is almost done hogging it, at least I hope. They're not the only ones in the world who got the damn Commodore 64, but you'd think they were with how long it was exclusively on the Europe VC! >: (

It's ok. I'm sure we'll be hogging Saturn VC. Mwahahahaha! (fat chance ;_;)

IK+ is a really great fighting game, though. It uses those pre-Street Fighter conventions making it a more unique experience, especially for the younger ones who will probably scream at this game and walk away, possibly forever, before they give it a chance.

Archer Maclean simply created one of the most important games to ever grace the C64. It's just as fun today, has aged very well, and the fact that it's totally different from modern fighting games means it doesn't really have a lot in the way of rivals other than it's contemporaries in the 80's.

Thanks for the cool review. Hopefully it'll sell like hotcakes (or at least better than copies of the GBA game) when it comes to the US.



Betagam7 said:

Picked this up last night and its as fun as ever, but why did they take out the "Trouser" move. Another screw up by Commodore Gaming or something Nintendo asked for?

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