Black Belt

Black Belt

Black Belt was released in 1986. It’s a side strolling, fighting game. From what I could remember from the premise, Wang and Riki had some beef with each other, so Wang does what any rational person would do; he kidnaps Riki’s girlfriend. It’s up to Riki and his lethal fighting skills to get back the woman he loves.

The game takes place in the modern day. As a kid, I didn’t question anything about the game and looking back, I don’t understand why Riki was wearing his karate outfit. Perhaps he was in the middle of training when he found out his woman was nabbed and he couldn’t waste time putting on jeans and sneakers. After all, it’s best to go right after Wang. Anyway, that’s the answer I have come up with and one I’m sticking too.

The game begins with Riki kicking and punching a horde of angry attackers. While working your way to the right, strange objects fly up high for Riki. Most are energy restoration power-ups, but one does give you invincibility for a short time.

Each chapter has what I call “mini-bosses”. Most of them require a certain technique to defeat them. One may simply have to be punched in the stomach, another may need a jumping kick to the face. However, just punching them over and over usually works too. At the end of each chapter, you have to fight the “boss”. This is when the scenery changes a bit; the characters are now bigger in size, you’re looking at them closely instead of faraway. Each of these “bosses” have a specific weakness or method to defeat them. It’s not until the end of Chapter 6 that take on Wang, the guy who snatched your woman. Along the way you run into guys with whips, flame throwers, ninja stars, wrestlers, a sumo wrestler, and lots more.

The graphics are fantastic for 1986. The sound effects and music are good. There is a bonus chapter if you know the trick, as well as a way to get unlimited lives. Is Black Belt a fun game? You better believe it! Took me 15 years to beat the game. Not sure if that’s a compliment to the design the game or a commentary of my gaming skills though.

I give this game 4 backfists to the head, out of 5.

Gameplay Video

Justin M. Salvato

Seeker of 1980s nostalgia, rummager of vintage computers and player of retro video games. When not writing posts of The Retroist, I'm converting Retroist audio podcasts to Retroist video podcasts. My own videos can be found at

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