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, Sega Genesis, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Budokan: The Martial Spirit is a computer and video game released by Electronic Arts in 1989 for various platforms. The title is a versus fighting game, pitting the player against other martial artists in a great tournament known as the Budokan at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

Electronic Arts American interactive entertainment company

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is an American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. It is the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe by revenue and market capitalization after Activision Blizzard and ahead of Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft as of March 2018.

Nippon Budokan building

Nippon Budokan, often shortened to simply Budokan, is an indoor arena located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. Budokan was originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, hence its name, which translates in English as Martial Arts Hall. Its primary purpose is to host martial arts contests and for a time was a popular venue for Japanese professional wrestling. It has hosted numerous other sporting events such as the 1967 Women's Volleyball World Championship and other events such as musical concerts.

Tokyo Metropolis in Kantō

Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2014, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was formerly named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603. It became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.



The player begins the game as an apprentice, and initially practices skills in four dojos, either Shadow Fighting or sparring with an instructor. The weapons and combat methods available to the player consist of the following four:

<i>Dojo</i> Japanese term for formal training hall of any martial arts

A dōjō (道場) is a hall or space for immersive learning or meditation. This is traditionally in the field of martial arts, but has been seen increasingly in other fields, such as meditation and software development. The term literally means "place of the Way" in Japanese.

Karate martial art

Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts under the influence of Chinese Kung Fu, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints and vital-point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).

Kendo modern Japanese martial art

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art, which descended from swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armour (bōgu). Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and many other nations across the world.


The nunchaku is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or a metal chain. The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate, and is used as a training weapon, since it allows the development of quicker hand movements and improves posture. Modern-day nunchaku can be made from metal, wood, plastic or fiberglass. Toy and replica versions made of polystyrene foam or plastic are also available. Possession of this weapon is illegal in some countries, except for use in professional martial art schools.

Once the player is confident in their skills, they can 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.

The naginata is one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (nihonto) in the form of a pole weapon. Naginata were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru and sōhei. The naginata is the iconic weapon of the onna-bugeisha-archetype, a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility.

<i>Ninjutsu</i> the martial arts discipline and tactics of the ninja

Ninjutsu (忍術), sometimes used interchangeably with the modern term ninpō (忍法), is the strategy and tactics of unconventional warfare, guerrilla warfare and espionage purportedly practiced by the ninja. Ninjutsu was a separate discipline in some traditional Japanese schools, which integrated study of more conventional martial arts (taijutsu) along with shurikenjutsu, kenjutsu, sōjutsu, bōjutsu and others.

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 a limited number of matches, an overall strategy or plan is necessary in order to successfully defeat all opponents.

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.

Graphics and sound

The game features graphics and animations which are relatively advanced for the time period, attempting to provide a semi-realistic depiction of martial arts combat. The MS-DOS version of the game included 256-color graphics, and supported the AdLib Music Synthesizer Card as well as the Roland MT-32 MIDI synthesizer module for stereo music.

MS-DOS discontinued operating system for x86

MS-DOS is an operating system for x86-based personal computers mostly developed by Microsoft. Collectively, MS-DOS, its rebranding as IBM PC DOS, and some operating systems attempting to be compatible with MS-DOS, are sometimes referred to as "DOS". MS-DOS was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s and the early 1990s, when it was gradually superseded by operating systems offering a graphical user interface (GUI), in various generations of the graphical Microsoft Windows operating system.

Roland MT-32

The Roland MT-32 Multi-Timbre Sound Module is a MIDI synthesizer module first released in 1987 by Roland Corporation. It was originally marketed to amateur musicians as a budget external synthesizer with an original list price of $695. However, it became more famous along with its compatible modules as an early de facto standard in computer music. Since it was made prior to the release of the General MIDI standard, it uses its own proprietary format for MIDI file playback.


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 ]

<i>GamePro</i> US video game magazine

GamePro was an American multiplatform video game magazine media company that published online and print content covering the video game industry, video game hardware and video game software. The magazine featured content on various video game consoles, PC computers and mobile devices. Gamepro Media properties included GamePro magazine and their website. The company was also a part subsidiary of the privately held International Data Group (IDG), a media, events and research technology group.

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. [1]


Budokan will not work on a Genesis model that has TMSS - TradeMark Security System, which means it will only work on early Model 1 consoles.


In August 2006, GameSpot reported that Electronic Arts would be porting the Sega Genesis version of Budokan to the PlayStation Portable as part of EA Replay . [2]

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  1. Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (September 1990). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (161): 47–53.
  2. Sinclair, Brendan (31 August 2006). "EA confirms retro Replay - GameSpot.com". GameSpot . Retrieved 23 April 2012.