NES AtoZ 87: Kaiketsu Yancha Maru II & III, Karate Champ, Karate Kid, Karnov

Kaiketsu Yanchamaru II – 1/1


Happy to discover this is a sequel to Kid Niki Radical Ninja which I actually owned as a kid. The giveaway was how the protagonist spins his sword to attack.

In this game you control Kid Niki or Yanchamaru and you run from left to right attacking everything in your path with your spinning blades and collecting powerups. You get to choose which stage to go to which I always like because you are allowed to see lot’s of the game up front without having to get frustrated about the difficulty of a single level.

This game as great colorful graphics and tight controls. Also my inability to read Japanese didn’t hinder my fun at all. Great game!

Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 3 – 1/1


In this iteration of Yanchamaru you play as a completely different character… Or at least a total reimagining of the hero. This time instead of a spinning sword he has a staff which can be used as a weapon and also as a platforming tool.

This game came out in 1993 which is incredibly late in the Famicom life cycle. Generally games that came out this late are of a very high quality and Yanchamaru 3 does not disappoint!

This platformer has much more verticality than the previous iterations, which is a refreshing change. The character also has a variety of moves including shooting a projectile and using his staff as a … pole vault to get on high platforms. You also hit switches to change the level elements. Plenty to love in this game!

Karate Champ – 0/1

Data EastFighting1986

More like Karate Chump!

Sad to see that the arcade game featured in my favorite movie of all time, Bloodsport, received such a piss-poor-port for the NES. I mean what can I say, the game is literally impossible to control. It seems like there are 3 seconds of lag after every button press.

Oh and when you finally do get the buttons to work… The hit detection seems to not even exist. Unplayable.

Karate Kid – 1/1


This isn’t even a bad game! Sometimes I think AVGN leans a little too hard into LJN games. I mean sure they have some bad games but they could have certainly done worse!

This game features at least 3 different modes of play: the side-scrolling platforming, the tournament combat, and a training mini game. Sure I had some trouble figuring things out but in my five minutes of playing I had a great time!

The levels are certainly a bit on the long side, and enemies do a ton of damage when they hit you… But with a some of practice I think I could get pretty good at this game.

Karnov – 1/1

Data EastPlatformer1988

After the travesty that was Karate Champ, I am happy that Data East was able to redeem itself with the very playable Karnov. Just look at this box art! You got this Russian circus performer shooting fireballs at dinosaurs! Every Russian kid’s dream.

Karnov might seem like a typical platformer, but it actually has some adventure elements. You can find persistent and consumable powerups throughout the game and use them to gain access to other sections of levels. For example the ladder can be used to reach high places. Bombs can be used to damage enemies.

Other than that, you breath fire to kill enemies. Karnov takes two hits to kill, the first hit turning him into a blue ghost version of himself. The second hit killing him. But powerups can restore some hits.

This game also has a pretty slick soviet-themed soundtrack.

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