The first two Karate Kid movies were an integral part of my film entertainment when I was a kid, as they were for millions of other people during the 80s. They are considered cinematic classics to this day and are part of my own personal golden age of cinema. So, you can imagine how excited I was to find out that there was a videogame based one of my favorite movie franchises. I used to love this game when I was a kid. Back then, all I needed was four levels that vaguely resembled the movie to make me happy. I wasn't that discerning back then. I'd like to think that I have better taste now.
The game very loosely follows the plot of the first two movies. And by very loosely I mean that if you didn't watch the movies, you have no idea why the little fella with the white pants is punching and kicking anything on the screen. In fact, the game barely follows the first film. The first stage is actually the end of the first movie. Daniel Larusso (or Daniel-San as Mr. Miyagi calls him) is facing off against four opponents on his way to winning the All-Valley Karate Tournament. The last opponent he faces should, in theory, represent Johnny from the Cobra Kai Dojo. But, the opponent doesn't wear the same colors nor is he blonde. Once you defeat him, you're done with the first movie. The rest of the game represents The Karate Kid Part II and takes place in Okinawa, a Japanese Island.
You kick and punch your way through the island for some reason that is never explained. If you've seen the movie, you know that the goons that Daniel-San is fighting are actually Chozen's cronnies. Chozen is the main villain of this game, a Japanese Karate Expert and nephew to Mr. Miyagi's childhood nemesis, Sato. The second and third stages seem repetitive because they take place in an Okinawan village. Once, during the calm and then during a typhoon. You'll fight Chozen's entourage, birds, sticks, and even the weather. The fourth and last stage takes place during the festival after the typhoon. You once again fight Chozen's buddies to reach the festival, then you have to defeat Chozen to beat the game. This stage is very difficult. The enemies are relentless, especially the guys with the pointy spears. And the last battle against Chozen is a huge pain. He's not hard but you lose if Kumiko (your love interest) throws herself of the stage. I found a way to avoid this though. All you have to do is take the fight to the other end of the stage and kick away.
Daniel-San has 4 types of attacks: a punch, a kick, a drum punch, and a crane kick. The drum punch and crane kick are basically stronger punches and kicks. They are based on the special ending moves from the first and second movie. You can also enter houses for bonus games. The better you do in the bonus games, the more special moves you are awarded. The bonuses games are all inspired by scenes from the second movie: swinging hammer, chopstick fly catch, and the ice break. The swinging hammer is the most difficult of all. You can also pick up floating villagers to increase your health and pick up special moves icons (crane kick and drum punch) to increase your health.
The graphics in this game are good enough. Everything looks like what it's supposed to look. Daniel San looks like a...umm...Karate Kid. He even has his signature bandana. The village looks like a village. Birds look like birds. You get the idea. The graphics are clean and everything is discernible. There's really nothing to complain about. There's nothing special about the graphics, though. Except for the fly catch game. Daniel-San looks good here.
The music is basically the same as the graphics. Perfectly functional, but forgettable at the same time. The music is not going to get in the way of your enjoyment of the game at all. But, you will not find yourself remembering it years later, unless you grew up with it.
The game is perfectly serviceable but there's not much to it. The graphics and music are perfectly fine but forgettable. The gameplay is responsive but nothing groundbreaking. This game is as average as they come. There is one good thing about this game, though. The game was made before the Karate Kid Parts III and IV, so there's no chance of dancing kata moves or Miyagi walking in on your shirtless Hilary Swank sprite.