Chuck Norris Superkicks Atari 2600
“You are ‘Chuck Norris’ trying to reach an ancient monastery to rescue a famous leader that is being held, hostage. BEWARE! Dangerous warriors lie in waiting to spoil your efforts to reach your goal. You begin your journey as a White Belt, the first belt in the sport of Karate. By defeating the attackers, scoring points, and learning new martial skills, you will earn each of the colored belts associated with the “Tang Soo Do” style of karate. You must achieve the highest rank of all, the Black Belt, in order to reach and enter the monastery which is guarded by the fearsome NINJA assassins”.
Today, I’d like to take a look at a very early martial arts video game released by Xonox in 1983 – Chuck Norris Superkicks. That’s right, in this game you get to play as the legend, himself… or at least a rudimentary Atari 2600 version of the legend, himself, which is still pretty cool. The Atari 2600 was the first console I ever played but I didn’t have this game back then, I was more into Frogger and Bezerk. This game I picked up much later on when I started to collect for the Atari 2600. The copy I have is on a “double-ender” cartridge, paired with the game “Artillery Duel”. A “double-ender” was Xonox’s way to describe their double ended cartridges that contained two games and which could be inserted into the console on either end, depending on which game you wanted to play. “Double-ender” always just sort of sounded like a vaguely sexual term to me, though. ‘
When you first start the game, you’re a lowly white belt. By advancing in the game, you gain different belts until you become a black belt and learn the mighty, “superkick”. This game poses a lot of questions to me like, why did someone drop off a white belt in the jungle expecting them to advance their knowledge of karate “on the fly”, gain new belts, AND simultaneously rescue the kidnapped president? It makes no sense. This is a game about Chuck Norris, though, so possibly this game is autobiographical and this is the insane (yet attainable, considering the man involved) way that Chuck Norris became a master karateka – some government agency scooped him up out of the dojo on his first day of training and dropped him off deep in the jungle of some non-descript Asain country, forcing him to rescue the president or die trying. Yeah, seems plausible.
Anyway, you start the game off by walking down a seemingly deserted path, deep in the jungle, working your way towards the ancient monastery where the president is being held captive. You have a timer that slowly drains that acts as your “health meter”. When the time is up, you lose. If you stray off the path, your time gets eaten up at an extreme rate. I don’t know if this is because when you stray off the path, you get lost in the jungle or if it just means that Chuck fell into a ditch and can’t get up. Either way, it eats up your time.
There are forks in the path at different points and you have to make the right choice of which way to go or your progress gets blocked by a dreaded… log. Why can’t Chuck Norris climb over the single log or even just roundhouse kick it into a million toothpicks? Remember folks, he’s a white belt at this point. They don’t teach you “log climbing” until at least the yellow belt level. Also, while you’re making your way down the path, ninjas will occasionally ambush you. This is where the second major “mode” of the game comes in, the fighting mode.
The fighting mode of the game features Mr. Norris punching and kicking the living shit out of some wannabe assassins underneath beautiful (by Atari 2600 standards) skylines and backgrounds. The game developers really put their all into making the game look as nice as possible during the fighting stages. After you defeat some ninjas, figure out how to walk down a path correctly, and gain a few belt levels, you finally learn the secret art of the “superkick”. No, I’m not talking about the HBK kind. Chuck Norris’ version of the superkick is a front somersault flip into a front kick to the face! You gotta admit, that’s a pretty epic move.
Once you make your way to the ancient monastery (as opposed to a modern, recently built monastery, I suppose?) and go inside, you have to put your skills to test against ninjas who have mastered the art of invisibility! I’m guessing after this, considering the time constraints that the game puts on itself, once you defeat the invisible ninjas, you’d rescue the president and the game would be over. I wouldn’t know for sure, though. I’ve never been able to get past those invisible bastards. You’ll have to complete the game and find out for yourself. I’d highly recommend it. It takes a minute to get the feel of when you first play it and I’d recommend taking a look at the manual as well for an explanation on how to defeat the enemies but it’s a really fun game that never gets old. Always fun to kill a couple of minutes with. Truly, one of the centerpieces to any Atari 2600 collection.
*Adam Zimmerman (a/k/a The Grappling Gamer) is also a staff writer and contributor to Canadian Bulldog’s World (www.canadianbulldogsworld.com)