The Karate Kid was a 1987 game produced by LJN for the NES. Like many LJN games, it was based on popular culture, in this case the hit 1984 movie The Karate Kid. LJN held the rights to the game, but subcontracted development to Atlus Software. Although the game was titled Karate Kid, it had more in common with Karate Kid Part II, which was released one year before the NES game. Only one stage was based on the first movie.
In this stage, aptly titled "The Karate Tournament", Daniel is at the All-Valley Tournament and must advance two rounds by defeating two kareteka before advancing to the quarterfinals, then the semifinals. If Daniel loses a round, he also loses one life. In the finals, Daniel must defeat Johnny Lawrence, the antagonist from the first film.
In this stage, titled "Daniel-San in Okinawa", Daniel is in Japan and must defend himself from bullies while avoiding obstacles. After defeating three or four enemies, which require one hit to defeat, a C or D will appear. Daniel has a limited number of drum punches or crane kicks, and a D or C respectively replenishes those. At random points, such as jumping at certain points, Mr. Miyagi, a lion, or Daniel's girlfriend Kumiko may appear to revitalize health. Jumping at other points, such as doorways, could send Daniel to a bonus stage. At the end of the stage, Chozen, the antagonist from the second film, must be defeated.
The third stage, titled "The Typhoon Strikes", is similar to the second, only with a rain and lightning backdrop. The stage has increased difficulty due to wind pushing the player back, as well as floating debris. At the end of the stage, Chozen reappears. However, the stage is not completed until Daniel climbs a bell tower to save a little girl who is trapped atop there.
The fourth and final stage, titled "The Last Battle Against Chozen", shows Daniel wearing a red tunic and fighting enemies in a similar manner as the second and third stages, set against the backdrop of Sato's castle. However, there are now boulders that must be avoided and enemies that carry spears, which require two well-placed hits to defeat. Landing one hit disarms the enemy of the spear, changing him to a conventional strong-arm enemy. The end of the stage, which shows lanterns and the Obon festival, is where Daniel must rescue Kumiko from Chozen on a flotilla. In addition to fighting Chozen for the third and final time, Daniel must also be careful Kumiko does not fall off the flotillla, or else the player will lose one life. Touching Kumiko helps to get her back to safety, but the process will reset again if the fight is not resolved in due time. Defeating Chozen wins the game.
When the player wins, he is treated to a brief ending where a winking Mr. Miyagi congratulates the player for successfully guiding Daniel-San through all four levels, and the player is called a karate master.
If two players is selected, it is a fighting mode akin to the first stage of one-player mode. The players fight each other until one's health is exhausted. If the second player is the victor, the game ends with a message "Chozen Wins!". If the first player is the victor, the game ends with a message "Daniel-San Wins!"