by Atari

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Had it have been released according to plans, Black Belt would have preceded Karateka as the first one-on-one martial arts fighting game. The play mechanics are every bit (if not more) as complex as the 8-bit computer classic, although Black Belt is arguably the inferior of the two. The version that we played is also unfinished, so we'll have to reserve judgement.. possibly forever.

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Players get the choice of eight difficulty levels, from first to eight degree black belt mode. The higher the setting, the faster your movement (and your opponents'). Selecting the eight degree difficulty level leads you up against enemies that unleash a flurry of punches and kicks at blinding speed. Unfortunately, the version of Black Belt that we tested lacks collision detection, so determining the true level of challenge of Black Belt will probably never be realized.

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There are a total of eight different rooms in this fighting/adventure contest. More rooms - or perhaps even bonus rooms or levels - might have been planned, but we have no way of knowing since enemies cannot be defeated (due to the lack of collision detection) and your fighter cannot be harmed either. The wide variety of available attack moves are executed by pressing the 5200 controller's numeric keypad. Graphics are sharp and detailed, but the sprites of the combatants are on the small side and your opponents are in one color (black).

All in all, it's not a bad game. But the absence of collision detection nullifies any opinion we have of Black Belt since it really can't be played.

Title Black Belt
Publisher Atari
System Atari 5200 SuperSystem
Reviewer Keita Iida

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