Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #2072: Bisqwit's NES Karateka in 08:42.87

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Karateka
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Karateka (J).nes
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 08:42.87
FrameCount: 31372
Re-record count: 2835
Author's real name: Joel Yliluoma
Author's nickname: Bisqwit
Submitter: Bisqwit
Submitted at: 2008-08-23 19:30:58
Text last edited at: 2012-07-29 08:21:54
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (2342 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
For some submissions, the goal is not so much to provide great entertainment, as it is to say "this has been done" so nobody else needs to waste their time. Karateka falls to that category.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: FCEU 0.98.15 or compatible
  • Completes the game as fast as possible
  • Abuses programming errors (negative hitpoints in the final battle)


Karateka is a martial arts game that used to be distributed on many pirate multigame carts in the hot era of NES. The plot, I guess, goes like this: The princess has been captured by evil ninjas baddies who practice Karate. Save the princess from the baddies!
As an additional twist, if you approach the princess in a battle stance, she will kick you in the nuts and kill you. (At least so has the rumor; it seems like that feature is missing in this NES version.)

There are five kinds of actors in this movie:

  • The Karateka (white clothes and red skin)
  • The L1 guard (white clothes and blue hood)
  • The L2 guards (white clothes and a helmet)
  • The L3 guards (pink clothes and a helmet)
  • The crows
  • The evil gate
  • The L4 guards (beige clothes and various different blue helmets)
  • The doors
  • The final boss, Akima
  • The doors are your tactical friends. When you can corner an enemy between yourself and the door, the enemy can be brought down quickly with a continuous stream of punches. I used this a number of times near the end of the movie.
  • The crows are annoying. You must predict the height at which they fly, so as to kill them.
  • The gate is extremely annoying. If you approach it even slightly in the wrong angle, it will impale you -- even during the battle. Your only option is to cheat it into impaling just air, and then wait until it rises. To do that, you must approach it by running from exactly the right distance, and stop right in front of it.

The humanoid actors have two possible stances:

  • Walking (battle stance)
  • Running/standing
If you approach an enemy in the running/standing stance, they will OHKO you. So you must approach them in the battle stance. While in running/standing stance, you have a total of three moves:
  • Run forward (running backwards is not possible)
  • Bow to your enemy
  • Assume battle stance
While in battle stance, you have a total of eleven moves:
  • Punch high
  • Punch middle
  • Punch low
  • Kick high
  • Kick middle
  • Kick low
  • Walk half-step forward
  • Walk full step forward
  • Walk half-step backward
  • Walk full step backward
  • Assume standing stance (only if not in battle)
Each punch/kick can only connect at the right distance (if you kick too close to the enemy, you'll miss). Assuming the right distance, the hit chart of different actions is:
Enemy action↓ Your action→ p↗ p→ p↘ k↗ k→ k↘ default
p↗ both unknown unknown you you you enemy
p→ unknown both unknown you you you enemy
p↘ unknown unknown both you you you enemy
k↗ enemy enemy enemy nobody you nobody enemy
k→ enemy enemy enemy enemy nobody nobody enemy
k↘ enemy enemy enemy nobody nobody nobody enemy
default you you you you you you nobody
It is a bit more complex than Urban Champion.

Each hit is worth one hitpoint. Your hitpoints reset to the opposite of the enemy's hitpoints at the beginning of each battle.

The difference between the different type of guards is in their AI. Some of them simply run forward, the stronger ones are more careful and do longer sequences of attacks.

NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. Here goes! Feel free to clean up the list.

Bisqwit: Rejected, it fails to beat http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=GAaOcT3da5A by some 1.5 minutes, and is not particularly entertaining to watch.
I don't really know how Hisatoki made it that much faster, but then again, I didn't really optimize this movie that well either. My goal was only to make a mark in the submission queue indicating that this game has been TASed at least once, for future reference.

Bisqwit: Apparently I accidentally ran the emulator in PAL mode. Explains why it desynced for most of the people. This also means that the length was wrong: The length actually was 7:15. Still slower than Hisatoki's movie, though.

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