The Karate Kid (NES)

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The Karate Kid
Karate Kid - NES - USA.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1987
Developer: Atlus
For other games in the series see The Karate Kid.

The Karate Kid is an action-platformer developed by Atlus and published by the infamous LJN. Despite the title, the game is actually based on The Karate Kid Part II, rather than the first film.

The game consists of four linear stages. The player takes the role of Daniel LaRusso. The goal of each stage is to simply make it from point A to point B and defeat the boss at the end of each stage, which is Chozen Toguchi.

The first stage plays a little different than the other three. Daniel is in the karate tournament and must defeat three different opponents a la Karate Champ (NES). In the second stage, Daniel is in Okinawa and must get through several baddies to get to the boss. In the third stage, Daniel must make it through a typhoon which pushes him back, whilst dealing with thugs and foreign objects being hurled at him. In the fourth stage, he must confront even tougher enemies that take more damage and have deadlier weapons.

In all but the first stage, Daniel can collect C (Crane Kick) and D (Drum Punch) icons. He can also access hidden rooms that let him play one of three bonus games; fly catching, ice breaking, and hitting a swinging pendulum. These can earn him extra lives, which are needed as there are no continues.

The game received negative reviews from critics. The controls are stiff and sometimes don't even work, the up button jumps, and the game is very repetitive, as it's just "go forward, kill a couple bad guys" and rinse and repeat. The game gained notoriety when it was reviewed by the Angry Video Game Nerd.


Karate Kid - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Karate Kid - NES - Stage 1.png

The karate tournament.

Karate Kid - NES - Stage 2.png

Daniel-san battling thugs in Okinawa.

Karate Kid - NES - Boss (Stage 3).png

Fighting Chozen in Stage 3.

Karate Kid - NES - Bonus Game 1.png

Trying to catch flies.

Karate Kid - NES - Game Over.png

Game Over.


The Karate Kid is an early title, and as to be expected, has little to offer in the audio department. Despite this, two well-known composers from Atlus worked together to provide the game's soundtrack, Tsukasa Masuko and Hirohiko Takayama. However, it is unknown which song belongs to which composer. Most of the tracks consist of generic rock, but some of them have a nice traditional Japanese feel such as the title and bonus game themes. The boss music may also hold the record as the first NES song to be written in a 5/4 time signature.

While the game was never released in Japan, the soundtrack has some exposure there, mainly because the track Stage 1 was also used in a Japan-only Famicom title, Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken (FC). Takayama also worked on this title.

According to both composers, the music was written in assembly on a computer and then assembled into a sound driver by Masuko.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:47
02 Stage 1 Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:36
03 Stage 2 Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 1:53
04 Stage 3 Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 1:27
05 Stage 4 Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 1:01
06 Boss Battle Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 1:57
07 Bonus Stage Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:40
08 Round Clear Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:03
09 One Up Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:02
10 Life Lost Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:02
11 Game Over Tsukasa Masuko, Hirohiko Takayama 0:04


(Source: Verification from composers; game lacks credits.)

The game does not feature credits, probably due to it being an older release. Both Takayama and Masuko verified that they worked on the game's soundtrack.

As mentioned above, Stage 1 was later used in the title Erika to Satoru no Yume Bouken (FC). While that game also lacked a proper staff roll, it is known for its infamous hidden rant by the game's programmer. During his rant, he mentions Takayama's name.

Game Rip




Ripping NES music is a very arduous process that is beyond the scope of this site.


  USA.svg   USA
Karate Kid - NES - USA.jpg
Title: The Karate Kid
Platform: NES
Released: 1987-11-??
Publisher: LJN