KARATE games predate the Amiga by several years. Since then many attempts have been made to spruce them up - scrolling backdrops, swords and a variety of opponents - but the key thing has always been how good the fighting feels.
The main gimmick in IK+ (International Karate plus) is the number of opponents. While Barbarian has a variety of guys trying to thwack your head off, IK+ has only two men coming at you. But they do so together.
Two against one may not be fair but it is much more fun. And in a two player game you and a friend can beat the pixels out of the computer's man.
There are several other gimmicks - cute ones. The single backdrop has a number of animations. The tree sheds leaves which pile up and get eaten by a worm. A spider drops on a thread and a pac-man wanders about.
The sun's ripples reflect in the sea as it laps the shore - you can alter the colours in the water. Fish jump out of the sea with a neat splash and a periscope pops up to view the fight.
The slick presentation is carried on to the title pages. A logo dripping blood had to be changed after some complaints. Instructions are shown with 66 sprites performing moves around the border and the high score table starts with some hints. But you are too busy ducking exploding fists and flying feet.
In a three way fight the winner is decided on combat points. If you attack from the front you score two combat points for each successful move. The first of the three players to score six combat points is the winner, and is awarded extra points for every second left. If the fight lasts 30 seconds the winner is the player with most combat points.
If you have the lowest score at the end of a round the game ends. If one human player loses in a two player game the remaining person has to take on two computer players.
Fighting gets tougher as the game progresses, with the computer adopting different tactics. Sometimes both of the computer's players will gang up on you, sometimes they will fight among themselves and sometimes they will both run away and block so that you cant score any points.
Whatever the tactics, every couple of bouts is punctuated by a bonus level. This either takes the form of bouncing balls, which must be deflected with a shield, or a screen littered with bombs. You must kick the bombs off the screen before they explode.
More bombs appear, faster and faster. Clear the sheet and you awarded 5,000 points. The bomb level is a good way to learn how far your low kick stretches.
Movements can be combined, so you don't have to return to the vulnerable standing position in the middle of seeing off an opponent. This makes the fighting the slickest yet on the Amiga and bouts flow fast and furious.
I kept playing despite a hand which ached from gripping the joystick too hard and too long.