Rocky is one of the most loved movie franchises of all time. It along with Rambo made Sly Stallone, the star he is today. The movies followed the fortunes of a young street fighter, scouted by a boxing coach to become the world champion. The stories followed through the different fights and with five movies made there was a lot of fighting done. Rocky Legends is not the first attempt to try and replicate the franchise into a game and the first one was not bad at all so they sequel has quite a bit to live up to.
In Rocky Legends you have the choice of a few game modes; career, exhibition, survival (locked initially), training and extras. Exhibition allows you to pit two of the games boxers against each other in a one off bout. To use characters further into the game, they must be unlocked in the store via the cash you win in the career mode which pretty much forces you into the career mode from the outset.
The career mode gives the option of playing through four different storylines, Rocky and Apollo Creed's, Ivan and Clubber. In the career mode you're task is to become World Champion but to prolong this out for a lengthier game experience, the developers have included a world rankings table. You begin at twentieth in the world and have to slowly fight your way to the top. You can challenge boxers up to three spots above you, but this can be a recipe for disaster, especially near the top as they are much stronger. The advantage you gain from going one by one, is more training and therefore a more developed character once you do reach the upper echelons of the table.
As you've probably guessed by now Rocky Legends is a boxing game and with that comes a number of stereotypes. Yes the game is a button masher but strategy must be used if you are to be successful. The buttons on the controller are defined to different styles of punches. Short jabs or long uppercuts, a whole multitude of variety is on offer. The shoulder buttons are used for special punches and blocking and dodging enemy attacks. It is possible to button mash but the game rewards those who learn the relevant punches by giving combo bonuses and in turn special moves which can take down an opponent in an instant.
The game plays fairly well and you don't ever feel like the controller is fighting with you. Enemy AI is not over powering but is they are not a walk over either, especially if you're risking a fight with a character three ranks above you. Once you knock them down however they come out punching and can catch you really off guard. One disappoint with how the game plays out is the story sequences, there is none other then when the characters are first discovered. Considering this is a game based on a movie and not just a boxing game, that will disappoint some of the movie fans.
Between fights you will have the option to either train or auto-train. Auto-train builds your character up in a balanced fashion but you also don't get the advantage of more points if you do well. Training manually contains a risk however because if you don't perform well, you won't get any points to spend on your character. The training consists of a number of mini games such as punching a boxing bag via button mashing two face buttons. Again this seems to have been included to some what extend the life of the game and give it more depth, which it does but considering there is not many advantages to manually training, it almost defeats the purpose.
One area which is quite impressive is the statistics that the game gives you after each fight. You will be told how many times you landed each style of punch in comparison to the opposing fighter and based on this be rewarded a cash prize. This money can be used in the extras section to unlock trailers from the five movies, as well as new characters to use in the exhibition mode such as Apollo Creed, one of the franchises most famous characters along with Rocky.
Rocky Legends is a decent game that perhaps relies on the license it is built on a bit to much. When you take that away you have quite an average boxing game and really only boxing fans or those who love the Rocky series of movies are likely to enjoy this title.