The Karate Kid is a 1987 action game developed by Atlus and published by LJN, released as an adaptation of the first two films of the franchise. The game came out exclusively for the NES, but unfortunately, it isn’t clear if it was a big seller for the platform due to a lack of public sales figures.
The Karate Kid Premise
In The Karate Kid, there are a few different types of levels to add variety to the gameplay. The main type of levels are the side-scrollers, which take up the bulk of the game. In these levels, protagonist Daniel LaRusso must make his way through the levels taken from scenes from the movies, defeating his enemies using karate as they approach them. The combat in these levels is extremely simple, and they can easily be beaten with single-button mashing, which really holds the game back from greatness.
Then, there are the minigames. Each level has minigames that you can enter to give yourself a break from the regular style of gameplay. The first of these is the Swinging Hammer, which is a rhythm game that sees you dodge a hammer swinging on a pendulum for as long as possible. On top of this, there’s the Chopsticks Fly Catch minigame, which forces you to move Daniel from side to side while he catches flies in his chopsticks, resembling the lessons learned in the movies. These minigames are recurring throughout the game, giving you a couple of chances at each.
The Karate Kid Main Characters
As The Karate Kid is a loose adaptation of the first two movies in the series, you’ll meet characters from both in this title. In fact, the game pretty much begins where the first movie ends – during the All Valley Karate Tournament, instantly pitting protagonist Daniel LaRusso against some of his biggest rivals. That said, if you’ve seen the films, you’ll still recognize everyone from this game. Even the important characters who don’t take part in the action directly, such as Mr. Miyagi, Yuna, and Kumiko, are all here.
- Daniel LaRusso: The Karate Kid himself – Daniel LaRusso is the main playable character of the game. Competing in the All Valley Karate Tournament, Daniel must fight his way to the top.
- Chozen Toguchi: Chozen is one of the main antagonists of the game as a rival to Daniel LaRusso. However, he can also be played as during a two-player game.
- Mr. Miyagi: The wise sensei Mr. Miyagi serves the same purpose in the game as he does in the movie: to provide wisdom and advice to Daniel LaRusso as he grows into his role as The Karate Kid.
- Johnny Lawrence: Johnny Lawrence is one of the main bosses in The Karate Kid. Like Daniel, he’s competing in the All Valley Karate Tournament early in the game.
- Kumiko: Kumiko is Daniel LaRusso’s girlfriend.
The Karate Kid Titles in the Series
The Karate Kid is a franchise that comes and goes in terms of popularity. While the original movie is a classic, later releases struggled to recapture the same magic. On top of this, during the peak of the series’ popularity, only a couple of attempts were made to translate The Karate Kid into a video game, during a period where adaptations of movies were often cheap cash-ins. This meant that the potential of the franchise in the video game medium was never fully fulfilled during those early years.
In recent times, the popularity of the Cobra Kai TV series set in The Karate Kid universe has seen a resurgence in games in the series. Now, the technology is there to make a more comprehensive beat-’em-up/fighting title, allowing The Karate Kid series to finally show what it can become, and hopefully, it keeps up the momentum it has built in recent years.
- The Karate Kid Part II: The Computer Game (1986)
- The Karate Kid (1987)
- Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues (2020)
- Cobra Kai: Card Fighter (2021)
- Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising (2022)
The Karate Kid Cheat Codes
In the base game of The Karate Kid, there are no cheat codes available to use. This is a change from many other NES titles of the era, which usually had some form of password players could use to save their progress or make the game easier. While The Karate Kid doesn’t follow the norm in that respect, it does have another type of cheat that you can use.
Instead, you can use Game Genie codes for The Karate Kid. If you own an NES Game Genie cartridge or are playing the game on an NES emulator, you’re able to input Game Genie codes created by the community to change the game in a host of different ways. These cheats are usually far more versatile than most base game cheats you’ll find out there, and for The Karate Kid, they’re the only way to cheat.
Here’s the full list of Game Genie cheats for The Karate Kid:
The Karate Kid Game Genie Cheats
|Cheat Code Effect
|Allows you to start on Stage 2 in a one-player game.
|Allows you to start on Stage 2 in a two-player game.
|Allows you to start on Stage 3 in a one-player game.
|Allows you to start on Stage 3 in a two-player game.
|Allows you to start on Stage 4 in a one-player game.
|Allows you to start on Stage 4 in a two-player game.
|Gives you eight crane kicks in a one-player game.
|Gives you eight crane kicks in a two-player game.
|Gives you almost infinite energy.
|You will never get knocked backward by enemies.
|You will never take any damage from enemies.
|Enemies keep falling from the sky.
|Makes your enemy have no health.
|Allows you to hit your enemy from anywhere, regardless of how close you are to them.
|Gives you infinite “C.”
|Gives you infinite “D.”
|Gives you infinite crane kicks.
|Gives you infinite drum punches on pick-up.
|Gives you infinite health.
|Gives you infinite lives.
|Allows you to jump from mid-air.
|New enemies constantly keep dropping from the sky.
|Removes all enemies from the game. You can enter fights, but enemies won’t spawn.
|Gives you one-hit kills in Stage 1.
|Player One has five crane kicks in “one on one.”
|Allows you to skip the intro screen automatically.
|Allows you to start at the boss fight for each stage.
|Allows you to start with 1 chance.
|Allows you to start with 135 chances.
|Allows you to start with 6 chances.
|Allows you to start with 9 chances.
|Allows you to start with 99 crane kicks.
|Allows you to win every fight automatically.
The Karate Kid Cheat Code FAQ
How Do I Enter Game Genie Codes in The Karate Kid?
Entering Game Genie cheats for The Karate Kid is really easy. For the purposes of this, we’re going to assume you’re using an NES emulator such as Mesen, as acquiring a ROM and emulator is far easier in the modern day than actually picking up an NES Game Genie cartridge.
You can enter these codes by finding the Cheats section of your emulator (for Mesen, this is Tools > Cheats). Depending on the emulator, you may have to specify via a checkbox that you’re using a Game Genie code. Most NES emulators support Game Genie codes natively, so you don’t have to worry about them not working at all.
Does The Karate Kid Have Achievements?
No. The Karate Kid was released back in 1987, and never made enough of an impact to receive a modern rerelease. As a result, achievements were never added to the game.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Screenshot from The Karate Kid.