Jordan Mechner is on a roll with this likable reboot.
Many years ago, before gaming took off mainstream the way it did, I was easily entertained by any titles we could muster for the Apple IIe during computer club. Among these was a classic Jordan Mechner game called Karateka, featuring a lone warrior infiltrating a martial arts master-filled dojo, beating up enemies (and a bird) before getting to the final boss and saving the girl – unless, of course, you were foolish enough to approach her in a battle stance.
After spending so much time rebooting Prince of Persia, Mechner has teamed up with Liquid Entertainment to bring that 80's classic back to the forefront. This Karateka, however, has a few new tricks up its sleeve. The plot is still the same – a princess has been captured by an evil warlord and his band of thugs – but instead of just one solo warrior serving up justice, you now have three. There's a nimble martial arts master, a somewhat heavy but powerful ally, and a monk with the knowledge of patience and perfect timing.
Each one brings punches and kicks to the action, as you move from area to area, battling foes that stand in your way. As you proceed, you'll be able to stop and literally smell the princess' left-behind roses, gaining some newfound energy as you go along.
The battle system is similar to that of the original game, but rather than watching visual cues to see where the enemy will strike, you listen for audio strums. Hearing one means you have to block once; two block twice; and so on. Sometimes enemies will get tricky with a multi-hit barrage, so you'll need to listen closely. If you counter well enough, you can strike back with multiple hits, sending your enemy careening to the ground. You can also charge up a special technique that gives you the advantage against stronger foes.