The Mr. Joy Show – Karate Master 2 Knock Down Blow Review

Greetings. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Today,
I played a game called Karate Master 2 Knock Down Blow. Also known as Karate Master 2 Knock
Down Blow with a Japanese accent. Where’s the Dragon Ball Xenoverse review, you ask?
Uhh, well, you see… The first thing I noticed about Karate Master 2 was it being locked
to 50 frames per second. Not really a huge problem, but a bizarre choice, to say the
least. I assume this game was made with PAL’s 50hz displays in mind or.. something. The
options menu has the full screen and windowed modes inverted for some reason. No resolution
options and, ugh.. it’s pretty bare-bones. The game’s aesthetic and real-time body damage
seems to be a bit of a play on SNK’s Art of Fighting series. They even have the bonus
training stages. Karate Master 2 has no high jumping, ki blasting kinda stuff seen in most
other fighters, and it’s strictly focused on hand-to-hand combat instead. You build
your stats by participating in tournaments and training, and you’ll need to earn money,
Shenmue style, with a soul-crushing, forklift operator day job! Actually.. that looks pretty
relaxing. That pay isn’t bad either.. $24 for a minute of work? You have the best job
in the world, why are you even doing karate, you ingrateful fu- The game is clearly made
with a lot of passion for karate, with the game’s introduction screen dedicating the
title to all practitioners and teachers around the world. Aww, that’s kinda nice. It actually
warms my heart~ That said, passion does not equate to polish. There’s numerous spelling
and grammatical errors which I really wish weren’t present. A typo here and there is
acceptable, sure, but spelling “strength” like THIS is not! The controls can be a little
difficult to get the hang of and the game will assume you’re playing with a controller,
which I.. definitely recommend, by the way. Many of the commands require pressing 2 buttons
and a direction at the same time, which can be a little awkward, to say the least. Most
of the time I ended up just mashing quick punches and kicking the opponent’s head from
a distance. ..Seemed to work fine. One thing that I really do like about this game, though,
is how you and your opponent can sustain internal damage, such as liver shock or broken bones.
I was sent to the hospital after a VERY unlucky hit managed to shatter my rib cage. I was
out in just a couple days, but still, it’s a nice touch that a lot of fighting games
don’t take into account. It really does make me appreciate my physically non-demanding
lifestyle… The game can be frustrating in how little it explains itself, such as with
your day job in the forklift. Also, I’m somewhat of an anime nerd, weeb, Dreamcast owner, whatever
you call those kind of people… but, what’s “Tai Kitae”? What’s “Kihon”? What’s “Kumite” and “Waza”? What’s “strategies”? Most people aren’t going to know what any of that is. Some of it can be explained by moving the mouse over them, but a glossary, an introduction that
explains what all of these things are, or maybe just an option to translate these to
their English equivalents would’ve been appreciated. I’m all for learning new things, but simply
throwing unfamiliar terms at someone without context is just gonna confuse them. The game
has quite a grind to it, and you’ll probably get a little tired of having to do the challenge-free
dock job for more tournament money, which only serves to extend the game time. Nothing
more. The concept of a karate life-sim is really cool to me, especially with the risks
of horrific injuries that come with any martial art, but this game is very rough around the
edges. Most notably, the game is just.. unstable. Crashes are very frequent and it’s been a
real nightmare trying to make this video. AVGN Adventures, much as I disliked it personally,
at least worked. I never had that game crash a single time and things always functioned
as intended. Karate Master 2, on the other hand, is a gamble as to whether the program
is going to stay running or not. I’ve gotten another glitch where the tournament results
screen will simply freeze over top of the fight itself. The fight will go on as usual,
but you can’t see what you’re doing. When this happens, I’ve found that spamming the
X button for repeated light punches allows me to win 9 times out of 10 though. So, it’s
an inconvenience you CAN work around, but you have to ask yourself.. Why? Why would
you want to do that? In what world is this acceptable? You eventually fight more than
just other karate-users though, branching off to fight a boxer, a wrestler, and even
a Muay Thai champion. I’m probably pronouncing that wrong. The game is light, both in tone
and story, up until the Budokan where more cutscenes start to take place. Having to defeat
Matsu’s best student, Jirou, at the Budokan, with not one curse word seen the entire game,
we’re treated to THIS… If that wasn’t enough, with Matsu
already looking suspiciously like a Grappler Baki character, we see Not-Yujiro show up.
Almost immediately after defeating Matsu, you return to your gym to find your girlfriend
has been kidnapped. With the next scene, with the dialogue as it always has been, it seems
like we’re back to nonsensical, light-hearted stuff until… …Oh nonononono… Y’know,
some people gave Freedom Planet flak for having an inconsistent tone. But in that game, the
dark side of the story had been established already, right in the opening cutscene, and
the bright, happy nature of that world helped to contrast things. It was pretty well-balanced,
to be honest. Here, after a happy-go-lucky, relatively consequence-free romp of karate
adventures, hours in and seemingly near the end, a character we just met two scenes ago
is now threatening to rape our girlfriend. Gee, that’s..f.. that’s just wonderful, A++..
fuck. Fuck everything, just, f– Weird, uncomfortable tone-shifts aside, the idea behind Karate
Master 2 is really neat and the sprites on the characters themselves are pretty good.
Seeing your character get more roughed up the more you’re hit, risking injury, and targeting
specific body parts to make your opponent fall faster is a cool premise. ..In theory.
What it really boils down to, though, is being able to tap that quick jab repeatedly and
win in under 10 hits after you’re sufficiently leveled up. Even the fight against Oboro,
the one with that.. uncomfortable little bit of dialogue and implications, ended very quickly.
What.. exactly would have happened if I lost that fight? *Sigh* I.. I don’t really wanna
find out, I’m gonna be honest, I really.. I really don’t- The injury system, while an
interesting idea, becomes a liability. It seems completely random and sometimes it can
just happen the first time your opponent hits you. The novelty wears off quick and you’re
just praying to the RNG gods and the Stability gods that the game doesn’t either send you
to the hospital or crash outright. There seems to be a bunch of people out there who aren’t
having the crashes or screen-freezing bugs that I’ve been seeing. It may just be my particular
setup for all I know. But you know what? That’s not my problem. I’ve never played another
game, in recent memory, indie or not, that’s actually been this broken. So I have little
reason to point the blame to anyone but the devs themselves. I wanted to like this game,
and with the crashes solved, I probably would find it to be a fun, if flawed, piece of indie
intrigue. That still doesn’t really make it a good game though. Karate Master 2 may not
have necessarily lived up to the potential it had, but here’s hoping that it’ll give
Crian Soft, or someone else, a framework for a future karate life-sim of my dreams. Wait a second.. That dev name is really familiar. I could swear I’ve seen it somewhere before..
Wait a sec, didn’t they also make…? …Yeah, that suddenly makes a lot more sense!

2 thoughts on “The Mr. Joy Show – Karate Master 2 Knock Down Blow Review

  1. I don't know what you're on about, I think the video looks just fine.
    Anywho, can't say I've ever heard of this game before. There's some potential here but, like you said, it needs polish.

    And yeah, the sudden tone shift is very jarring. I haven't felt this conflicted since Brave Fencer Musashi.

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