Amstrad Action

International Karate+

Author: GBH
Publisher: The Hit Squad
Machine: Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Action #30

According to the adverts for this game, I'm going to end up flat on my back. The reason is simple: I'm going to call it a sequel to International Karate. IK was reviewed back in issue 13 when everyone was beginning to get a little tired with combat games. If anything, combat games are getting more and more boring, but companies keep on churning them out.

The scenario is non-existent, all you need to know is which way to move the joystick in order to deliver the appropriate blow to your opponent. The differences between this and IK are three fighters on the screen at a time, some new moves and much improved graphics. It is in fact a completely new game by different programmers.

There are two stages to the game: combat rounds and ball dodging rounds. During the combat round there are three fighters on the screen rather than two. The extra opponent makes the game more difficult because you have to watch two fighters at a time. The fighter that finishes the 30 second combat rounds in third place is out of the game. Computer opponents always stay in the game, but they are encouraged to improve by the judge when he appears. In the two player game though, the two humans could gang up on the computer opponent so that they stay in the game longer.


As with nearly all combat games, you select the move that you want to do by a combination of the fire button and eight joystick directions. The more common moves are accessed without the fire button being pressed and some of the more elaborate moves with it pressed. A backflip has been added and this is a nice, smooth manoeuvre that takes you away from the action.

The ball dodging part of the game is a bonus stage that appears after every two combat rounds. In this, you stand in the centre of the screen with a small shield in your hand. Balls bounce on the screen at different heights and you must deflect them with the shield. The speed of the balls increases with each one that you deflect, until you are hit by a ball. You can have a continuous tune playing, just sound effects, both, or neither. Since the tune is not exactly the best piece of music that's ever been programmed, you'll probably play the game with just sound effects. The spot effects don't vary much, but since you're only beating your opponent to death with fists and feet, there are few effects that can be used. The backdrops are nice and oriental in design with good use of colour. The animation in this is probably the best for any combat game yet - nice flowing moves from one position to another. The backflip in particular looks good.

If you want another combat game then this is the best. The graphics look good and the wide variety of moves make the game challenging. Unfortunately, the ball dodging stage isn't very exciting and after a few goes you'll be spending most of the time on this stage rather than the more interesting combat stage. You could just exit this stage by not deflecting the ball, but a lot of points can be scored and points are needed to progress through the dans.

First Day Target Score


20,000 points.

Second Opinion

This is, without doubt, the best martial arts game around - and I'm bored with it. Two years ago it would have been state-of-the-art, but today it's just run-of-the-mill. Three fighters at once and slick animation give it a boost but it still won't hold you for long.

Green Screen View

The red and blue fighters do look similar, but you can still tell them apart.

The Verdict


Graphics 84% P. Smooth movement between positions. N. Colourful backdrops add to the game's look.

Sonics 58% P. Spot effects are good. N. Not the best I've heard.

Grab Factor 71% P. Three fighters at a time make it fun at first. N. Action offers little new to games that have gone before.

Staying Power 59% P. The computer opponents get tougher as you get further. N. Ball dodging gets tedious after a while.

Overall 68% P. One of the best combat games. N. Clapped out game concept.


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