Anyone who reads Touch Arcade regularly knows that I'm a pretty hardcore retro gamer. Not so long ago you could spot me on the street sporting my European carry-all filled with mobile devices such as the GP2X, a hacked PSP, and a DS, all to enable an on-the-go retro gaming fix when I just had to have it. Happily, all that's changed since the App Store arrived. And, yes, there are now games for every sort of gamer out there for the iPhone -- tens of thousands of them -- and that's great news for gamers. But what's so surprising to me is just how many retro conversions and remakes have made their way to the App Store. It really is heaven for die-hard retro nuts like myself.

I'm happy to report that the latest member of the App Store's excellent retro line-up is Data East's classic arcade hit Karate Champ [App Store], which has been ported to the iPhone by Revolutionary Concepts, the studio that brought us the classic Cobra Command. And they've ported it wonderfully.

Karate Champ, which was rated one of the 10 most influential games of all time by IGN, is a 1984 arcade fighter that was one of the very first 2D, side-perspective, face-to-face fighters to hit the arcades. In Karate Champ, the player controlls a karateka with two joysticks, one for movement and one for attacks, that together allowed for a wide variety of attack combination. It is a match for points as well as a race against the clock; if both fighters are still standing when the timer runs down, he with the most points wins. It's simple by today's fighter standards, but is appealingly so to many, myself included.

Revolutionary Concepts' iPhone conversion is done superbly. The dual-stick control mechanism is handled via on-screen joysticks which, while no match for physical controls, work rather well. Enhancing the experience are a number of iPhone-specific option settings, such as display scan-lines, a "super large" character mode, two backdrop cabinet designs, and three difficulty settings. A two-player mode has been included that allows local WiFi or Bluetooth fights between iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users.

As far as I can see, aside from the necessary control alterations for the iPhone's touch screen, Karate Champ for the iPhone is a perfect conversion. If you liked the game as a kid in the arcade, you will definitely find the iPhone title well worth the $1.99 asking price. And if you're a modern fighter fan who cares little for the retro, the simplicity of this formula might just tickle your fancy, despite the jaggies. Our readers are loving it.

App Store Link: Karate Champ, $1.99

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    The controls in this are spot on, and the attention to the detail is great.

    The bull is still scary as hell, too.

  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    The controls in this are spot on, and the attention to the detail is great.

    The bull is still scary as hell, too.

  • Jon

    Great review. I also love the ipod touch for its all the devs who are releasing great ports of old classics and new retro inspired games. I'm really enjoying this game a whole lot.

  • Jon

    Great review. I also love the ipod touch for its all the devs who are releasing great ports of old classics and new retro inspired games. I'm really enjoying this game a whole lot.

  • GR

    Need be a moron to pay U$ 1,99 for this shit.

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      You must be very young.

    • DotComCTO

      Then don't buy it. If you've played the game and have feedback, then feel free to post why you wouldn't purchase it. Otherwise, your opinion is meaningless.

    • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

      Need to be a retard to be YOU.

    • F B

      Or a moron for using a comma for $1.99.

      • GR

        Im brazilian, stupid, we use comma instead dot, you should realize the world is more than america.

        Im not young, I just think that's no work to release this ancient shit to iPhone, so, perhaps, being generous, U$ 0.99 (with dot, better?).

        But U$ 1.99 with lots of cool games to buy... yeah, need to be a moron to pay for it.

        By the way, in few weeks will be for U$ 0.99 or even for free.

    • http://www.revolutionaryconcepts.net Revolutionary Concepts

      Lol. Try 4 months of work. Why not have a go yourself? Im sure we'd all love to see what you come up with :)

  • GR

    Need be a moron to pay U$ 1,99 for this shit.

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      You must be very young.

    • DotComCTO

      Then don't buy it. If you've played the game and have feedback, then feel free to post why you wouldn't purchase it. Otherwise, your opinion is meaningless.

    • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

      Need to be a retard to be YOU.

    • F B

      Or a moron for using a comma for $1.99.

      • GR

        Im brazilian, stupid, we use comma instead dot, you should realize the world is more than america.

        Im not young, I just think that's no work to release this ancient shit to iPhone, so, perhaps, being generous, U$ 0.99 (with dot, better?).

        But U$ 1.99 with lots of cool games to buy... yeah, need to be a moron to pay for it.

        By the way, in few weeks will be for U$ 0.99 or even for free.

    • http://www.revolutionaryconcepts.net Revolutionary Concepts

      Lol. Try 4 months of work. Why not have a go yourself? Im sure we'd all love to see what you come up with :)

  • mike

    Awesome Promo Vid :P

    I just think the game lacks some atmospheric music... i know i know.. 8bit audio is a nightmare...

  • mike

    Awesome Promo Vid :P

    I just think the game lacks some atmospheric music... i know i know.. 8bit audio is a nightmare...

  • Chris

    Hey guys...

    I'm not sure why I've never asked this on a retro game thread before, but...

    Can anyone help me identify a game:

    100% certain:

    arcade game from the 1980s...
    Futuristic
    players had to get oversized keys to open doors

    I think:

    Capcom
    shooting enemies
    jetpacks

    Any ideas?

    Even wil guesses??

    Kickass game, whatever it was...

    Thanks for any help!!!

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      I don't, myself, remember. The best place to ask such questions is definitely:

      http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/

      Watch how fast this happens...

    • Klaus

      Perhaps you mean: QUARTET? It was possible to play with up to 4 players, there were jetpacks and the endboss had the key to open the door for the next level? Let me know if it was that!

      • Klaus

        Oh, I'm to late, did not read the last post! Sorry

  • Chris

    Hey guys...

    I'm not sure why I've never asked this on a retro game thread before, but...

    Can anyone help me identify a game:

    100% certain:

    arcade game from the 1980s...
    Futuristic
    players had to get oversized keys to open doors

    I think:

    Capcom
    shooting enemies
    jetpacks

    Any ideas?

    Even wil guesses??

    Kickass game, whatever it was...

    Thanks for any help!!!

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      I don't, myself, remember. The best place to ask such questions is definitely:

      http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/

      Watch how fast this happens...

    • Klaus

      Perhaps you mean: QUARTET? It was possible to play with up to 4 players, there were jetpacks and the endboss had the key to open the door for the next level? Let me know if it was that!

      • Klaus

        Oh, I'm to late, did not read the last post! Sorry

  • Chris

    Thanks soooooo much!

    That's it!

    I never woulda figured that out!

    That was amazing to see!

    Wow!

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Note that it took only 7 minutes for the answer to come, in the Retro Gamer forums. It's always like that. I think the last time I posted a "anyone remember this game..." post it took 3 minutes to get the answer.

      Good times.

  • Chris

    Thanks soooooo much!

    That's it!

    I never woulda figured that out!

    That was amazing to see!

    Wow!

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Note that it took only 7 minutes for the answer to come, in the Retro Gamer forums. It's always like that. I think the last time I posted a "anyone remember this game..." post it took 3 minutes to get the answer.

      Good times.

  • DotComCTO

    I was asked to do some play testing on the game just before release (thanks, RC!). I'm old enough to have played this when it first came out while I was in college. I played this extensively - to the point where I could just play on and on because I had worked out a technique that worked almost all the time! In any case, the guys at RC did an amazing job on this. The graphics, sounds and most importantly - the controls - are spot on. I've played it on my iPhone and iPad, and I have to say that playing it on the iPad is simply fantastic!

    The team at RC didn't simply obtain the ROMs from Data East and call it a day. They redeveloped the game from scratch using that data as a starting point. The whole thing was rewritten from the ground up for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Their dedication to the project shows how much they care; clearly this was a labor of love for the team and it shows. If you enjoyed this game in the arcades or love retro-gaming, then you owe it to yourself to get this game. Great job, RC!

  • DotComCTO

    I was asked to do some play testing on the game just before release (thanks, RC!). I'm old enough to have played this when it first came out while I was in college. I played this extensively - to the point where I could just play on and on because I had worked out a technique that worked almost all the time! In any case, the guys at RC did an amazing job on this. The graphics, sounds and most importantly - the controls - are spot on. I've played it on my iPhone and iPad, and I have to say that playing it on the iPad is simply fantastic!

    The team at RC didn't simply obtain the ROMs from Data East and call it a day. They redeveloped the game from scratch using that data as a starting point. The whole thing was rewritten from the ground up for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Their dedication to the project shows how much they care; clearly this was a labor of love for the team and it shows. If you enjoyed this game in the arcades or love retro-gaming, then you owe it to yourself to get this game. Great job, RC!

  • Chris

    So can someone find a way to port Quartet?

    It was literally back to back with Karate Champ in the lobby of my local supermarket.

    I loved it soooo much.

  • Chris

    So can someone find a way to port Quartet?

    It was literally back to back with Karate Champ in the lobby of my local supermarket.

    I loved it soooo much.

  • http://www.generationstarwars.com John Hood

    Chock full of 8-bit win!

  • http://www.generationstarwars.com John Hood

    Chock full of 8-bit win!

  • Klaus

    Those guys should have done Galaga!

    • Ouisch

      Galaga... and Dig Dug... and Frogger... and Q*bert...

      Do I need to go on? =)

      Seriously, I wish other devs would put as much love and care into their retro ports as Rev. Concepts did with Karate Champ.

  • Klaus

    Those guys should have done Galaga!

    • Ouisch

      Galaga... and Dig Dug... and Frogger... and Q*bert...

      Do I need to go on? =)

      Seriously, I wish other devs would put as much love and care into their retro ports as Rev. Concepts did with Karate Champ.

  • mgabrys

    I love how the compressed sound still makes me think he's saying "ass"-"hole" like it did in the arcades.

    But you know what's really puts the nice in nicely? A native iPad game.

    • Revolutionary Concepts

      We agree. Not sayin it's comin but I think I saw a weird spy image on our blog (wink wink).

  • mgabrys

    I love how the compressed sound still makes me think he's saying "ass"-"hole" like it did in the arcades.

    But you know what's really puts the nice in nicely? A native iPad game.

    • Revolutionary Concepts

      We agree. Not sayin it's comin but I think I saw a weird spy image on our blog (wink wink).

  • Marcel

    The joysticks look good... well a bit ... kind of...

  • Marcel

    The joysticks look good... well a bit ... kind of...