‘Karateka’ to be remade for consoles

Martial arts game bows later this year for Xbox, Playstation

The reboot trend is starting to take on the videogames biz, with “Prince of Persia”-creator Jordan Mechner set to remake “Karateka.”

Mechner created the original martial-arts fighting game, which broke out as a hit in 1984 on the Apple II computer and quickly became one of the industry’s first blockbusters that crossed over to the Atari, Commodore 64 and other systems.

The new version of “Karateka” will bow as a downloadable game later this year on Microsoft’s Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s PlayStation Network.

Mechner, who developed the original “Karateka” in his dorm room while at Yale University, will serve as creative director of the game.

He chose to release the updated game as a download because “today’s downloadable game space is a perfect match for the combination of simple fun gameplay with a strong, human story that gamers embraced in the original ‘Karateka,'” Mechner told Variety. “In remaking Karateka, I want to honor the original game with a compact, pick-up-and-play game that is fluid, atmospheric and beautiful. It’s a reinvention that brings the original story to life with all the incredible graphics and sound capability of today’s consoles.”

First version stood out for its cinematic storytelling and animation, with the side-scrolling martial arts actioner set inside the Japanese fortress of the evil Akuma, with the player battling guards and eagles to rescue Princess Mariko.

“I wanted to keep that simplicity,” said Mechner, comparing the game to a “silent movie,” adding, “Making the original ‘Karateka’ was a labor of love. To have so many people embrace it and share their stories of playing it has been really rewarding. I am always surprised to hear how much impact that game had.”

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