Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Karate Champ (US, VS version set 1)

Karate Champ (c) 09/1984 Data East.

A seminal one-on-one fighting game set over the course of a karate tournament, Karate Champ was the first game of its type and would influence every game of the fighting genre that followed. Karate Champ's control system utilised a somewhat awkward dual joystick control system, with simulataneous joystick manipulation required to execute even the simplest of kicks.


Main CPU : Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)

Sound CPU : Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)

Sound Chips : (2x) AY8910 (@ 1.5 Mhz), DAC (@ 1.5 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Vertical

Video resolution : 224 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette colors : 256

Players : 2

Control : Double 4-way joysticks


This is where an entire genre began; the one-on-one fighting game. The list of titles Karate Champ would go on to inspire is near-endless - needless to say, without this game, "Street Fighter", and countless others like it, might never have happened. The only description that can truly do this game justice is seminal.

George Weller holds the official record for this game with 239,900 points on March 2, 2002.

A Karate Champ machine was shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.

The versus version (See 'Update' section for more info) of the game can be seen in the film "Bloodsport" (1988).

This game is known in Japan as "Karate Dou", the Vs version is known in Japan as "Taisen Karate Dou - Seishun Bishoujo Hen".


The US 'Versus' (2-player) version shipped one month later in October 1984. The Versus version, however, differs slightly from its single-player sibling. There is a greater variation in backgrounds, for example, with a variety of outdoor locations as opposed to the standard Martial Art dojos of the earlier version. The sound effects also seem to be a little 'sharper', with the speech, in particular, much improved.


* Consoles :

Nintendo Famicom (1986)

Nintendo Famicom Disk (1986)

* Computers :

Tandy Color Computer (1985, "Karate")

Commodore C64 (1985)

Commodore Amiga (1987)