Back in the '80s, martial arts were extremely popular. Many of these films were starred by great actors of the genre, such as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, or Jackie Chan, but, curiously enough, one of the best Hollywood movies of the decade featured a young and quite unknown actor.
Of course, we're talking about The Karate Kid (1982), starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. At that time, we were all rooting for the underdog Miyagi-Do Karate dojo; in 2018, however, a web series changed our minds, and now we all love Cobra Kai's bad guys. And there's a video game based on it!
A Cobra Kai Game? It Took Them So Long!
In Cobra Kai, we follow the story of Miguel Diaz and Johnny Lawrence, a shy Hispanic boy that becomes the first and most outstanding recruit of the Cobra Kai dojo and the dojo sensei itself. It's an intricate story about overcoming your fears becoming your best self, with some badass fighting scenes here and there. The video game, available on all main platforms, is an old school beat 'em up with some RPG components like a skill tree. Both share a lot of pop culture references and comedic elements, but is that enough to make a game that does the series justice?
If You Want To Strike Hard, You've Got to Look Better Than That
Unfortunately, no. Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues is an okay game from a gameplay perspective, but that's all. It looks rough around the edges, and the animations are so clunky and unreliable that most of the time, you end up missing all your hits and ruining your combos. To be honest with you, we rarely care that much about the visuals, but when it comes to licensed games, you need to make a great first impression not to be taken as yet another half-assed cash-grab attempt.
If only it looked better and was more in line with other modern games of the genre, no doubt more people would be talking about Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues.
Bad Guys Are Always A Lot Cooler
Although Miguel and Johnny are the main characters in the series, there are 8 playable characters in the game, and it won't take you long to be able to use them. If you choose to represent Cobra Kai, you can control Johnny, Miguel, Tory, and Hawk; if you go the Miyagi-Do way, there's Daniel, Sam, Demetri, and Johnny's son Robby. And they are voiced by the same actors!
If you give it a chance, this game will grow on you after a few sessions, just like Johnny's methods grew on Miguel, Hawk, Aisha, and the rest of the kids. Reviving fallen allies is a great incentive to improve your combos, and with almost 30 stages, that's more than enough to keep you entertained for a while, especially since you can do separate playthroughs and represent both Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do. For a side-scrolling brawler, there are plenty of skills to learn and hidden items to find, so that's another reason to replay every stage, defeat hundreds of thugs and collect as many coins as you can.
Being a licensed title is this game's curse; many people will expect more from a game based on one of the most popular series currently on air (season 4 is on the way), and some others will simply miss Cobra Kai's magic just because they have not seen the show.
If you're cool with games that put gameplay over graphics and you come with low expectations, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues might not disappoint you. If you're a Cobra Kai fan, you either love all its references or straight up dismiss it for its disappointing performance...