International Karate was released in 1986 by System 3 Software.
It was written by Archer MacLean and was one of the first beat ’em ups – ever – to actually feel like a decent game to play and not a ridiculous slug-fest.
The controls are simple: eight directions and fire, but what you can do with them is pretty astounding. With guile (and good timing), you can sneak in and fire off a punch, and back off if it misses. Sometimes fights descend into panic as the fighters stand on top of each other (out of range of most blows). Often fights are over quickly. One thing is for sure, though: the fights are always different.
Nice background graphics; great sprites and terrific animation; a high score table; even a decent tune by Rob Hubbard. One or two player. International Karate is a timeless classic and still very much enjoyable today.