Copyright/Publisher: System 3, Designed & Written By: Archer Maclean, Music By:
Rob Hubbard, Genre: Figthing Sports, Release Year: 1987, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

A test for the best, with an arsenal of new moves in System 3's spectacular beat 'em up.

After nearly a year and a half since the release of the original, a sequel to the highly acclaimed International Karate has arrived. The imaginatively named International Karate + again features a one or two player option, but this time there are a trio of new moves, a remixed Rob Hubbard soundtrack and a approach to the gameplay.

Press fire and the action begins, with the appearance of three players - one controlled by the player and the other two computer controlled. A free-for-all ensues, with each combatant attempting to knock down either opponent. The player has 14 different moves accesible via the joystick in conjunction with fire, including a double kick, head butt, back flip, front punch and high kick.

Points are awarded to a fighter who knocks down an opponent with a successful kick or punch - one point for a reasonable knockout and two for a particularly good job. The objective is to try and score five points before the others, or to score the highest within the 30 second time limit. If a fighter scores five points, the time remaining is turned into bonus points.

The second highest scorer goes through to the next round, and the lowest is out - game over in the case of low-scoring player. In the event of no players scoring five, the two highest scoreres progress.

The action starts on white belt level, progresses through yellow, to green, purple and finally black. Each level is progressively more difficult, with black level requiring fast reflexes to survive.

When every third level is completed there's a chance to increase score via a bonus screen. The fighter appears in the centre of the screen and is armed with a defensive shield. Balls bounce onto the screen from either side and are deflected to increase the score. One hundred points are given for each ball deflected, with their speed increasing in velocity until one knocks over the combatant, whereupon the next level is tackled.

During a fight, aspects of the gameplay can be changed. Pressing the numeric keys one to five speeds up or slows down the actiom, and the backdrop can also be changed. Pressing RUN/STOP puts the game into pause mode, and the karate world's equivalent of Five Star treat you to a little synchronised dance. There is also a way to make the combatant's trousers fall down - but we're not going to tell you how to do it!

International Karate + is bound to be a hit! Well lots of hits actually, with plenty of jumps and kicks to boot. Three men inflicting GBH on one another is somehow more fufilling than watching a mere pair - and the chance of being trashed into the ground is greatly increased, which is just great for those into violence.

The movement of the thrashing threesome is fast and beautifully animated, with chopstick crunching sound effects. All this, orientally coupled with picturesque backdrops and tough opponents, makes for a superb follow up to International Karate.

Without any hype, advertising or pre-release notice whatsoever, International Karate + suddenly bursts onto the scene - quite unusual for a System 3 product! What a pleasant suprise!! IK + plays much better than its predecessor, and seems even smoother.

Although it only has the single backdrop, this doesn't detract from the game, since it's absolutely brilliant. The effect of sunlight on the rippling water is superb - a static picture cannot do it justice at all. The inclusion of different moves helps to make the game more appealing, and the bonus section is tremendous fun. It's no longer International, but who cares?

Julian Rignall
Yeah! Take the best bits of International Karate, add an extra opponent, a couple of new moves, new music and tweak the playability and you've got the incredible International Karate +! The feel is superb, and the three player free-for-all is incredibly frenetic, providing more violent fun than anything else I've played.

The presentation is also excellent, with wonderful little touches on the picture, like the spiders and leaping fish, and great speed variation and pause mode during the game. A tenner is a high price to pay for a fighting game, but they don't come any better than this classic in the making.


Beautifully designed and executed.
Lovely, smooth and convincing animation across an equally good backdrop.
Crunching sound effects and great Hubbard remix.
Straightforward and instantly rewarding violence.
The excitement may wane slightly after a while, but the two player option is always enjoyable.
An outstanding beat 'em up which shouldn't be missed.