Karate Kid (NES)

Karate Kid Box Art

The Karate Kid

System: NES

Release Date: November 1987

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: LJN

Genre: Action

You are the Karate Kid! I just watched through the Karate Kid movies a few months ago. They’ve aged well. Karate Kid on the NES? Ehhh… not so much. You control Daniel-san through four stages of gameplay.

Destroying my opponent at the all valley karate tournament.

You start in the All Valley Karate Tournament where you must defeat four opponents. After a few tries of trying to fight somewhat strategically, I realized that walking forward and kicking with the B Button was the path to victory. You start with four crane kicks in your possession. These get used if you press to kick while not pressing the d-pad. There are also drum punches you can earn, which are used by pressing the punch button and not the d-pad.

Losing to the swinging hammer. This is a tough bonus stage.

After you win the tournament, stage two is Okinawa. Daniel must run to the right and punch and kick Chozen’s thugs to progress past them through the level. There are darkened doors along the way, which you can press up to enter to be sent to a bonus stage. There are three stages you may be sent to. The iconic chopsticks fly catch tasks you with catching as many flies as you can in fifteen seconds. The ice block break requires you to press the button at the height of Daniel’s life bar to crush them all. And finally the swinging hammer, where you have to face the hammer and press the A or B Button at the precise time to dodge. The better you do in the bonus stages, the more crane kicks and drum punches you earn.

Defeating Chozen to save the girl.

Stage three is set during the typhoon. You have to beat everyone up and then fight Chozen in order to save the little girl on the alarm bell. This level has wind constantly blowing you backward, which can mess with your already imprecise jumps. You jump by pressing up and crouch by pressing down. The final stage is the Summer Festival and you have to rush to save Kumiko at the end. There are dudes brandishing spears and the thugs on this level take multiple hits to defeat. Chozen has more hit points, but if you have crane kicks and drum punches saved up, he goes down very quickly.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are bright. The sprites aren’t incredibly detailed, but they aren’t bad.

Sound: 1.5

I don’t mind the music and sound effects. They could certainly be worse.

Gameplay: 0.5

The controls are terrible. Having to press up to jump is bad design, especially when you can’t be precise. If you get caught between two enemies, you’re likely going to get ping ponged to death.

Difficulty: 0.5

I got through this in about twenty minutes.

Fun Factor: 1.0

It was fine. Daniel-san is a tough guy and can kick everyone’s butt.

Overall Grade: 1.0

The Karate Kid gets a D. It’s not the worst game I’ve played. Not particularly good, though. Fine for a quick playthrough.

The Karate Kid Video Review on YouTube