Chatan'yara Kuushanku: The Karate Tournament (sometimes known as Chatan Yarakuu Shanku) is a 2D fighting game developed and released by Mitchell for arcades on December 1992.
Unlike other fighting games at the time (after the release of Street Fighter II), The Karate Tournament aimed for a more realistic approach to karate kumite (similar to Data East's 1984 arcade game Karate Champ). The game's name refers to different styles of karate kata, such as Kuushanku.
In The Karate Tournament, players control a generic karate practitioner as they combat an endless series of other generic karate practitioners to raise their rank. The game is known for its large use of animation smear frames for attacks and its use of "neutral" blocking (which does not require either moving the joystick leftward or use of a dedicated "block" button).
It was designed by Kouichi Yotsui, best known then as the creator of the 1989 arcade game Strider.
Unlike most fighting games, vitality meters are replaced by six "point" indicators for each combatant, similar to Karate Champ. However, the indicators are shown in a way that players are depleting their opponent's points.
One point is deducted for each successful strike against the opponent. If both players strike at the same time, no points are deducted. In the event of a knockdown, points are deducted based on the following:
- If both players are knocked down due to both using jumping attacks, no points are deducted.
- If one player is knocked down due to a counter-attack against a jumping attack, one point is deducted.
- If one player is knocked down due to getting hit with both hits of a special attack, three points are deducted (one for the first strike and two for the second).
In the event that one player reaches the edge of the ring, the game alternates between giving them a verbal warning and deducting one point.
When a knockdown or a ring-out occurs, both combatants reset themselves near the center of the ring. If a player is knocked down and have no points remaining, they remain downed.
Players utilize an eight-directional joystick and two buttons (one for Attacking and one for Jumping). During the fight, players perform attacks and abilities based on the joystick direction and buttons pressed:
- If no buttons are pressed, players defend each of their three heights (High, Middle, and Low) based on the direction of their joystick (the upper quadrant for High, the lower quadrant for Low, and the middle quadrant, even if the joystick is neutral, for Middle). Players move their combatants left and right on the playfield by holding the joystick either neutral-left or neutral-right while the opponent is not attacking.
- If only the Attack button is pressed, players perform one of nine attacks based on what direction the joystick is held in. The quadrant of the joystick's direction not only determines the attack's reach (with forward attacks doing longer-ranged strikes at the risk of counter-attack), but also determines how they need to be blocked (as they can only be blocked from the same height). If both Attack and Jump buttons are pressed at the same time, players perform one of nine special attacks that have a chance of performing consecutive strikes (although their slow speed and recovery leaves them open for a counter-attack).
- If only the Jump button is pressed, players perform one of three evasive actions: a short jump (with upper-left and upper-right directions on the joystick also causing a forward or backward momentum), a long backflip (by holding the joystick neutral-backward), or a quick dash (by holding the joystick neutral-forward). While jumping, players ignore enemy Low Attacks (but put themselves at the risk of Middle and High Attacks) and can perform a special Jump Attack (which must be blocked High) by pressing the Attack button.
During single-player, players progress through 6 stages of their current belt color. There are 16 stages in total, with two of these stages being used for multiple belt colors (as the final stage in one color and the starting stage in another).
Each stage has two-to-three opponents, each with their own costume color and belt color.
- Grade 8 (seaside, White 1)
- Grade 7 (lakeside, White 2)
- Grade 6 (cliffside, White 3)
- Grade 5 (moonlight, White 4)
- Grade 4 (desert, White 5)
- Grade 3 (city, White 6, Brown 1)
- Grade 3 (desert, Brown 2)
- Grade 2 (cavern, Brown 3)
- Grade 1 (arctic, Brown 4)
- Shodan Ho (cherry blossom, Brown 5)
- Shodan (waterfall, Brown 6, Black 1)
- Nidan (cherry blossom, Black 2)
- Sandan (aquarium, Black 3)
- Yondan (lakeside, Black 4)
- Rokudan (moonlight, Black 5)
- Hachidan (seaside, Black 6)