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Karate Champ

Arcade Video game published 35 years ago by Data East USA, Inc.

Karate Champ screenshot

Listed and emulated in MAME !
Information for the following ROM(s): kchamp

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Karate Champ © 1984 Data East USA.

Karate Champ is a seminal one-on-one fighting game - the first of its kind - set over the course of a karate tournament. Each match utilises a 'best-of-three' format and the game's control system utilised a dual joystick control system, with simultaneous joystick manipulation required to execute even the simplest of kicks.

Unlike the many similar games that followed, Karate Champ has no health bar; a successfully landed hit briefly pauses the match and earns the player or their opponent either a half or full point (a hit needs to earn between 600 and 1000 points to earn a full hit point).

The first combatant to earn two full points wins the match. Each round is set against a 30-second time limit and if time runs out with the match tied and neither fighter having earned two full points, the fighter with the highest number of points scored wins. If points scored are also even, the last fighter to have landed a hit wins.

After every second victory, the player has a chance to earn bonus points by dodging or striking targets. If the player loses a match, the game ends.

Attacking Moves and scoring (half/full points shown in brackets):
* Lunge Punch (high) (300/600)
* Lunge Punch (low) (200/400)
* Reverse Punch (standing) (200/400)
* Reverse Punch (crouching) (400/800)
* Round Kick (400/800)
* Front Kick (100/200)
* Low Kick (100/200)
* Back Kick (200/400)
* Back Round Kick (500/1000)
* Jumping Side Kick (500/1000)
* Jumping Back Kick (500/1000)
* Foot Sweep (100/200)
* Reverse Foot Sweep (100/200)

Defensive moves. Four defensive blocking moves are available:
* High Block
* Low Block
* Forward Somersault
* Reverse Somersault


Main CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)
Sound Chips : (2x) General Instrument AY8910 (@ 1.5 Mhz), DAC

Players : 2
Control : Double 4-way joysticks


Karate Champ was released in September 1984 in the USA.

This game is known in Japan as "Karate Dou".

This is where an entire genre began; the 1-on-1 fighting game. The list of titles Karate Champ would go on to inspire is near-endless - needless to say, without this game, "Street Fighter", and countless others like it, might never have happened. The only description that can truly do this game justice is seminal.

Alexander Stojanovic holds the official record for this game with 250,600 points on January 7, 2011.

Michael Jackson used to own this game. It was sold at the official Michael Jackson Auction on April 24, 2009.


[US] Nintendo NES (nov.1986) "Karate Champ [Model NES-KC-USA]"
[EU] [AU] Sony PlayStation 4 [PSN] (jul.28, 2015) "Arcade Archives - Karate Champ [Model CUSA-02970]"
[US] Sony PlayStation 4 [PSN] (sept.29, 2015) "Arcade Archives - Karate Champ [Model CUSA-02942]"

[US] Tandy Color Computer (1985) "Karate"
[US] Apple II (1985)
[US] Commodore C64 [EU] (1985)

Others :
[US] Apple iPhone/iPad (may.20, 2010) "Karate Champ [Model 335387077]"
[US] Apple iPhone/iPad (aug.24, 2010) "Karate Champ XL [Model 385462349]"

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