Karate Champ ("Karate Dou" in Japan) is one of the earliest examples of the one-on-one fighting game, published by Data East Corporation in 1984 and originally developed by a company full of former Data East employees known as Technos Japan. The game featured a voice chip for both the sensei to make calls, and for the fighters to Kiai.
Gameplay consists of two fighters (one in a white gi and another in a red gi) using karate moves to score successful hits against each other. There is no Life Meter; a player can only win a round by scoring two "points" against his opponent, with the referee judging whether or not a hit is worth a half-point or a full point.note The winning player gets to participate in a minigame, and then face off against progressively harder opponents.
A sequel called "Karate Champ: Player vs. Player" ("Taisen Karate Dou") was later released. While the single player-only first game took place largely in a karate dojo, the second game had a variety different locations, and allowed two players to play against each other.
Tropes used in Karate Champ:
- Brutish Bulls: And one that comes in and rushes towards your character in a mini-game!
- Boring, but Practical: Using basic front-kick and leg-sweep motions as your primary attacks got you a long way in the game.
- Brick Break: The other mini-game in the game itself.
- Cock Fight: In the sequel, the two opponents are presented as rivals for a girl's affections. The one who wins gets a Smooch of Victory from the impressed lady.
- Kiai: In both games, these are done with digitized voices.
- Mini-Game: There is one where you break random objects heading for you.
- Moveset Clone: Both opponents have the same attacks, same body, and the same clothing, not accounting the color.
- Scoring Points: There are two kinds: one which determines the outcome of the match, and another traditional point-scoring system for the leaderboards, which doesn't have a direct effect on gameplay.
- SNK Boss: The computer opponent, once a player reaches 8th Degree Belt level.
- Ur-Example: One of the earliest one-on-one fighting game, predating the original Street Fighter by three years.