International Karate +
|International Karate +|
A screenshot of the Commodore 64 version of International Karate +
|Publisher(s)||System 3 (Europe)
Ignition Entertainment (PS1/GBA)
Virtual Console (C64)
|Genre(s)||Versus fighting game|
|Mode(s)||Singleplayer, Two player|
International Karate +, often abbreviated as IK+, is a karate fighting video game published in 1987 by System 3, originally for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. It has since been ported to a number of other platforms. The Commodore 64 version was released in the U.S. under the title Chop N' Drop.
In the game, three karateka fight against each other on a beach, trying to be the first to score six points. After every two rounds, there is a bonus game which is either deflecting bouncing balls or kicking away bombs. The C64 version of the game only has the ball bouncing bonus game, and not the bomb bonus game. The game can be played by one or two human players, at least one fighter is always controlled by the computer. Unlike its predecessor, International Karate, there is only one backdrop. However, different parts of the backdrop can be recoloured to several different themes by the players using specific keystrokes. The Amiga and Atari versions of the game (and possibly other versions, unconfirmed) had a number of "background antics", a Pac-Man would appear, a spider would descend, and a U-boat's periscope would occasionally be seen in the harbour. In addition, pressing the "T" key would cause the trousers of all three protagonists to fall down, after which they would do a double-take. Additionally, it was possible (on the Amiga version, at least) to type in four-letter curse words; the game would respond first by rebuking the player for their use of such language, and upon the second offence would reset the game.
Archer Maclean did most of the work on developing the game, and the music was written by Rob Hubbard. Music for the Amiga version was arranged by Dave Lowe. The game was voted Best 16-bit Soundtrack of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards. In August 2005, the music from the game was performed at the third Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany.
The game enjoyed a large following in Europe during the late 80's and even into the early 90's. In North America it was nowhere near as popular as in Europe, although it became somewhat of a cult game there as well.
Ports and remakes
16-bit versions of the game were released in 1988 for the Atari ST and Amiga home computers. Except for the music, which was done by Dave Lowe, the Atari ST version was done entirely by Archer MacLean. He used the bitmap editor NeoChrome to draw background graphics and sprites. Coding was done in assembler on a PC-based development system that cross-compiled the 800 KBytes of source code in seven seconds and transferred the program to the RAM of the Atari ST via a parallel cable. Development took six months. The subsequent port to Amiga took just seven days thanks to MacLean avoiding operating system calls as much as possible.
Another International Karate Deluxe game (AKA IK++) was ready but unreleased for the Atari ST and Amiga in 1987/8
A version for Amiga CD32 was released in 1994.
In 2003, following the retro-gaming trend, Maclean's Ignition Entertainment released IK+ for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation in Europe, which remained faithful to the 16-bit iterations. These versions were also released in North America, retitled as International Karate Advanced (GBA) and Chop 'n Drop (PS1).
The C64 version was re-released on the Virtual Console in Europe on July 25, 2008.
- Toni Schwaiger: "Archer MacLean. Von Karate verstehe ich nicht viel." In: ST Magazin, No. 3, 1989. ISSN 0934-3237 (german, online full text via stcarchiv.de, accessed 2010-08-20)
- In the chair with ... Archer Maclean. Retrogamer Magazine, issue 63 (2009).