©1993 Takahashi Kōji
©1994 Culture Brain
Release: 1994-08-26 (¥10800)
Osu!! Karatebu is a one-on-one fighting game by Culture Brain
based on a popular Japanese manga series by Kōji Takahashi
(it is apparently the first and only video game released for the franchise).
The game stars the boisterous Takagi Yoshiyuki, the central character
of the series and a skilled karate fighter who sits at the head of the youth
gangs in Osaka. However, this enviable position of leadership comes
with a lot of hate, and Takagi is frequently challenged by others
would-be claimants for his title. Osu!! Karatebu consists of four
play-modes - namely Story, Arcade, Versus and
Team Battle. In story mode, the player takes control of
Takagi and the narrative is told through elaborate anime-style
cutscenes. The goal there is to fight against a variety of opponents in
one-on-one battles, and for Takagi to ultimately train with the
old and reputable Kō Ryūun in an attempt to reach his full potential
and become the Super Takagi! Unlike other typical fighting games,
Osu!! Karatebu matches last for only one round - but there is an
interesting twist to this formula. Each fighter comes with Konjō
energy (spirit or Chi energy, symbolized by a blue bar located right below the health bar),
and this feature is a core mechanic and essential to succeed in the game.
This power can be used to survive a knock-out by hammering the action
buttons (up to a certain limit), or to release powerful super attacks.
These attacks come in two flavors - short range attacks can be charged
up by holding any attack button, and highly powerful ones can be unleashed
by pressing button combinations. However, this Konjō energy isn't
easy to come by - the player starts with no energy at all (this can be
changed in the option menu though), and the meter can be slowly charged
up by holding any shoulder button while blocking, or by receiving a
direct hit. Although Osu!! Karatebu only stars
Takagi Yoshiyuki in story mode, the game nevertheless features
twelve selectable fighters (as well as two hidden optional characters!).
Osu!! Karatebu is based on a popular Japanese manage series by
Takahashi Kōji and originally published in 1985. The series takes
place in Osaka in a school famous for its delinquents. The original
manga stars two Japanese students, Matsushita Tadashi and
Saitō Takaki, who are both continually victimized by bullies.
But one day, they finally decide that enough is enough, and they both
join the Karate Club, a place known for the serious business of
training the toughest teenage thugs (and gang members as they soon find
out). However, the macho Takagi Yoshiyuki (Matsushita's mentor)
quickly became the central protagonist of the series - his growing popularity
may have been due to his rowdy Osakan attitude, his sense of humor and his
irreverence (people from Osaka are regarded as more independent and pragmatic
than other Japanese). The manga was immensely popular in Japan and was
published in forty three volumes. It was later adapted in a four episode
OVA (1990 to 1992) and even in a live action movie!
Although Culture Brain most likely received their inspiration
from Street Fighter II, the small Japanese video game developer
definitively wasn't a new comer to the fighting and beat'm up genres.
Their most popular series is certainly Hiryū no Ken which started
life in 1985 in the arcades and was later released for several home systems
such as the Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy,
Playstation and Nintendo 64. Another series is
Super Chinese (fairly popular in Japan), which started as
an arcade game called Chinese Hero (1984) and span over several
video game systems, such as the Famicom, Super Famicom
and Gameboy. Although Culture Brain has a few hits in
the United States, most of their games are Japan only...
Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :
©1993 Takahashi Kouji
©1994 Culture Brain
Click on picture to enlarge|
Unlock Honda Momochiyo and Super Takagi:
On the title screen, press Left Shouder, Left, Down,
B, A and Right Shouder. A sound (a scream) should
confirm that the characters have been unlocked.
Honda Momochiyo and Super Takagi should
now be available to play in all the versus modes.
Add your Pov here !
The first time I played Osu!! Karatebu, I wasn't expecting much more
than a Street Fighter II clone with a popular franchise stuck onto it.
But Culture Brain's fighter turned out to be much more than a mere
copycat of Capcom's masterpiece. At first glance, the game looks pretty
solid and I personally really dig the aesthetic (and it has a decent roster of
fighters). The graphics are detailed and polished (the cutscenes are especially
well rendered) and the sound and speech effects are quite good. But
Osu!! Karatebu truly shines in the gameplay department - the controls
are generally responsive (although a bit clunky in places), and the
Konjō system adds a tremendous amount of strategy and risk-taking to
the game (you can use it to unleash powerful attacks, or save it to survive
the next knock-out). That being said, the first couple of times I played
Osu!! Karatebu, I didn't actually know how to use the Konjō
energy - and yet I managed to complete the game without it. But if you want
to experience the game at its full potential, then mastering the Konjō
energy is a must (and the special attacks are great eye candies!). All
in all, Osu!! Karatebu is a really fun and underrated fighter. However,
I feel that it is not for everyone - the game requires some strategy in how you
work through the Konjō energy element, which feels more suited to