Karate Master 2
knock down blow
July 18th 2021
It is a dramatic/realistic karate game that I almost do not recommend these days. I love it versus I do not fully support it.
This is not an indie fighting game. In fact it is a game made by the Italian studio Crian Soft but embraced by the great Italian 90's publisher Milestone S.r.l (ex Leader Group/ nowadays part of the German-Austrian Koch Media).
I have followed KARATE MASTER Knock Down Blow since its first version released at itch.io in 2013~2014.
Upon the release of KARATE MASTER 2 Knock Down Blow for Steam, I soon rushed to buy it believing in a more complete game with an adventure - a karate experience beyond the fighting game itself. However the almost RPG experience in II was not so well explored, it was very focused on the grinding. A few things in the first one ( itch.io ) worked even better, including the plot and the dark atmosphere of a martial arts underworld, as well as the previous possibility of multiplayer.
References/Legacy - from the legacy of digital games from the 80s and 90s - the game mixes game design concepts and aesthetics from Art of Fighting (we have camera zoom and huge pixel art!) by SNK; from Street Fighter (I and II) by Capcom (we can also include as a reference the anime of Street Fighter II); and for some mechanics like the positioning Gedan/Chuudan/Joudan: The Karate Tournament チャタンヤラクーシャンク by Mitchell Corporation, a crazy solid Japanese-central (non-Okinawan) proto-olympic karate game mixed with Kabuki (?).
Karate - About the Karate in KARATE MASTER 2 Knock Down Blow is worth mentioning that it is a modern sports karate derived from an even more sporty and mixed modality of Kyoukushin. Ethical issues and links to Okinawan culture are almost nil.
As I am a karateka linked to Okinawan Karate (Uechi Ryu), I have many criticisms on the plot and the application of this martial art such as the question of challenges to other martial arts but I understand that the type of Daido Juku Kuudou (or close and derivative styles) is very far from any Okinawan ryuu present in Okinawa and even Karate strands in Central Japan. For karate lovers, it can be a bit disappointing if taken too seriously - it is more interesting to see it as a fictional part of pop culture (Karate Kid/Cobra Kai for example).
In the Steam version I was able to unlock all achievements, except 2, which involved defeating Oboro and a bear. As incredible as it may seem unlocking the money achievement was a lot of fun, making money and maneuvering forklifts was very exciting for me (I felt like a stevedore!) even though it was very repetitive. I also enjoyed unlocking some badges with the cards - I became 1st Kyu Level 5, 500 XP.
Accessibility - The game has multiple sound feedbacks, which greatly helps a visually impaired person to play and lots of visual feedback with clear and very large symbols that would help a hearing impaired person to play. It has a manual with a lot of text that can also help.
Optimization - It really runs satisfactorily on computers with 1GB of RAM, although the first game on itch.io runs even better. Optimization is very good indeed even with such big sprites.
As this type of game is extremely difficult for the programmers and the game designers, I continue to recommend it, even after Crian Soft abandoned the game some time ago in favour of other projects. On the other hand KARATE MASTER 2 Knock Down Blow is in fact very weak in RPG, in plot and has no multiplayer and the last update was in June 2016.
An old video recorded by me focused in KARATE MASTER 2 Knock Down Blow fights.