Budokan: The Martial Spirit

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Budokan: The Martial Spirit
Budokan martial spirit box art.jpg
Developer(s) Electronic Arts
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Producer(s) Don Traeger
Designer(s) Michael Kosaka
Programmer(s) Ray Tobey
Composer(s) Rob Hubbard
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Amiga, Genesis, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC
Release1989: Amiga, MS-DOS
1991: C64, Genesis, Amstrad, Spectrum
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Budokan: The Martial Spirit is a versus fighting game published by Electronic Arts in 1989 for the Amiga and MS-DOS. The game pits the player against other martial artists in a tournament known as the Budokan at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Ports for the Sega Genesis, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC were released in 1991.



The player begins the game as an apprentice in the Tobiko-Ryu Dojo, and initially practices skills in four dojos, either Shadow Fighting (Jiyu-renshu) or sparring with an instructor (Kumite). The weapons and combat methods available to the player consist of: [1]

  1. Bo: classic Japanese long staff
  2. Karate: Okinawan unarmed combat
  3. Kendo: Japanese fencing utilizing a wooden sword
  4. Nunchaku: swinging weapon with two shafts connected by a chain

Once the player is confident in their skills, they can go to the Free Spar mat to engage a human or computer opponent, or enter the Budokan where the player faces consecutive opponents equipped with various weapons (including, but not limited to, those available to the player). The difficulty gradually increases, with each opponent demonstrating increasing prowess when compared to the previous. Most opponents are male, except for one female armed with a naginata. The gender of a ninjutsu exponent with a masked face is presumably female, as they are named Ayako.

Each match is preceded by a briefing screen which provides the player with several words about the opponent. Based on this information (and past experience playing the game), the player then chooses which weapon to use in the upcoming conflict. Since each weapon can only be used in up to four matches, an overall strategy or plan is necessary in order to successfully defeat all opponents. Losing thrice to the same opponent reverts to the previous opponent. Thus the tournament is forfeited if losing thrice to the first opponent, or running out of weapons.

There are two primary attributes shown on the screen -- stamina and ki, the power of each blow. Active movements like jumping and delivering difficult blows decrease the ki, while blocking attacks increases ki. As a player's stamina decreases, movements slow down, making it more and more difficult to act. When the player's (or his opponent's) stamina is completely exhausted, the match ends.


The 1991 December edition of GamePro cited Budokan as one of the worst games of 1991. The editors criticized the game for its bland gameplay and unrealistic simulation of the bo.[ citation needed ]

The game was reviewed in 1990 in Dragon #161 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars. [2]


In August 2006, GameSpot reported that Electronic Arts would be porting the Genesis version of Budokan to the PlayStation Portable as part of EA Replay . [3]

See also

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  1. http://www.lemonamiga.com/games/docs.php?id=260
  2. Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (September 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (161): 47–53.
  3. Sinclair, Brendan (31 August 2006). "EA confirms retro Replay - GameSpot.com". GameSpot . Retrieved 23 April 2012.