Submission #4702: MUGG's GB Master Karateka in 02:39.96

Console Game Boy Emulator VBA-v24m-svn-r391
Game Version JPN Frame Count 9554
ROM Filename Master Karateka (J).gb Frame Rate 59.7275005696058
Branch Rerecord Count 8625
Unknown Authors MUGG
Game Master Karateka
Submitted by MUGG on 5/25/2015 10:13:13 PM

Submission Comments
This is the gameboy port of the game Karateka which was also ported to some other consoles such as Atari 7800, Commodore 64 and NES. The goal is to fight your way into Akuma's fortress to rescue your love interest, Princess Mariko.
This game is notorious for its ridiculuous difficulty. The absence of savegames and checkpoints as well as the opponents being unforgivingly difficult to even land hits on makes this game nearly impossible to beat by most human players. On the highest difficulty setting anyway.


This TAS obsoletes the previous canceled submission by 7.8 seconds. I would have to skim through the posts and my previous submission text again but I remember that people back then were of the opinion the run was unimpressive and uninteresting. Unfortunately, people at TASVideos didn't seem familiar with this game and thus couldn't judge that it was a huge feat to crush one guard after the other and beat the whole game in barely 3 minutes. Well, this time around there is going to be the vault we can put this run into.
  • Used emu: VBA v24m svn391
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Uses hardest difficulty
Optimizing this game required some trial and error to figure out which guards are best to take damage at, what sequence of actions is best or where to use shuriken stars at.


There are items in this game that you can use by pausing and pressing select to select them. While the game is not paused, you can then press select to use an item. At the beginning of each floor, there will be an enemy who will throw a shuriken at you. By using an attack you can catch it and use it later. I use the first shuriken on the last enemy of floor 1, the second shuriken was originally going to be used for a hawk in floor 2 but I figured out using it on one of the enemies in floor 3 is slightly faster. And I use the third shuriken on Akuma (the last guy) to get him to stop blocking my attacks.
There is also a scroll and a health potion at the start of floor 2 and 3 respectively. The scroll allows you to hold down A or B to punch and kick automatically (autofired) and the health potion heals you. Those items are rather useless in TAS.

Defeating enemies

The basic strategy is to run at one enemy and stop before them, and press "Down" to enter fighting stance quickly. Then make sure the enemy runs into your kicks. Sideward attacks deal the more damage than diagonal attacks, probably because you can hold "up" or "down" to block enemy attacks so those attacks are thought to be easier to land, although once you are blocking enemy attacks you are usually too close to land any attack at all. The only way to hit enemies is when they run into your attacks...
Kicks have more range than punches so they are used a lot. Sometimes I use punches or diagonal attacks for style when it's not losing time.
When running at an enemy and you happen to be too close (so you get killed or can't land hits), then you should stop further away from them and run at them again briefly to get closer but not too close. I suggest studying my input, if you want to improve my run or otherwise want to see what I did.
There is the possibility to push enemies away and walk into the loading zone at the end of a floor to skip them. Doing this at the first floor is too slow but it's easily done in floor 2. Floor 3 has doors which can't be skipped if an enemy is sandwiched between you and a door. I have found a way to skip past Akuma (wait in previous room and let him come, then enter his room and you will be behind him), but you cannot open a door when an enemy is active, sadly.
In this version of the game, your girlfriend won't kick you in the nuts if you approach in fighting stance. I believe it also does not happen in NES but it does in Commodore and possibly other versions.

Choosing upgrades

You can upgrade your power (how much damage you inflict on enemies), your life points and your movement/attack speed before each floor. I'm confident I use the best combination between power and speed. Life points are not needed in TAS.


Shoutouts to my random spontaneous interest in re-TASing this game today. It took me only a couple hours.

Tompa: Judging...
Tompa: While being quite repetitive from the first fight to the last, the TAS makes it look easy, which is it far from. That and with the positive feedback brings this run into the Vault. Accepted.
fsvgm777: Processing.

Last Edited by fsvgm777 on 6/5/2015 4:10 PM
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