“A great budget title for the PS2 console”
Budget titles are nothing new for the PS2. Along with the platinum range, numerous titles have been released at a lower then normal price point. Recently Midas Interactive along with THQ have released a bunch of budget titles for the PS2. One such title is Boxing Champions and despite the fact its budget priced, it offers a fairly solid title which can match it with some of the other more well known boxing titles on the market.
The first impression you get when playing Boxing Champions is that it is meant to feel like an arcade game, and that’s exactly what it does. There are four primary game modes, which should keep most gamers interested in this title for at least a little while. The great thing about Boxing Champions is you don’t have to enjoy the sport of boxing to appreciate the game and enjoy playing it. The main game mode is the tournament mode which works like the single player tournaments you would expect to see in games such as Dead or Alive 3. You choose your persona from a variety of characters and then progress through opponents which gradually become more difficult as time wears on. Another game mode is survival where you are pitted against and endless amount of boxers until your character is defeated.
The matches consist of twelve rounds with three minutes allocated to each round. There are two meters which players must keep an eye on. They dictate the overall energy of the fighter as well as their ability to keep on their feet. There are three ways to win each bout; a technical knockout; count out or on points. If a fighter is felled to the mat more then three times in one round the match is declared, if a fighter is floored and can’t get back on his feet within ten seconds then match is declared but if the match goes the entire twelve rounds then points based on punches determine the winner. Between rounds button mashing in a faster manner will build these meters up again, and this also applies when your boxer is struggling on the deck.
Whilst Boxing Champions comes across as an arcade title, there are some simulation aspects to the game. For instance you won’t be able to just sit there button mashing the controller to win, you will have to use strategy. The AI overall is quite impressive but are susceptible at times to falling to the same strategy over and over again. Blocking and catching them on the counter attack is the most effective way to beat most opponents but they can also catch you unawares with a strong punch to your characters face.
The characters featured in Boxing Champions are all fictitious and have a variety of attributes. They differ quite significantly in looks and like in a typical arcade fighting game have special unique moves to use against opponents. There are nine characters unlocked to use at first, with a further two more hidden. There are three categories for fighters to be placed in; flyweight, welterweight and heavyweight. The boxers animate quite well, especially when big hits are landed. When a major hit is landed, three different angles are shown and sweat flies off the opponents face. If they are still left standing after a major hit the boxers will slowly move around trying to regain their composure.
The controls are excellent and easy to use. The face buttons are used to determine what type of punch to use and where to hit on the opponents body. A quick jab to the stomach and a huge hit to the face is made easy with the superb controls. The left analogue stick dictates where the boxer holds his defensive hands. Push up and they will cover his face, push down and they will cover his stomach. You can also dodge opponents punches with the circle button.
The ring you fight in doesn’t change but is highly detailed and the game does feature 3D crowds which is a great aesthetic addition. Overall the visuals are quite impressive for a budget title with the boxers displaying the aforementioned excellent animations as well as being highly detailed with individual looks, clothing and some even feature tattoos. Boxers also show small amounts of damage after a while.
On the sound side of things the sound effects are quite good with the punches sounding vicious at times, especially the ones that knock the opponent over whilst the crowd cheers. The soundtrack is a catchy up beat tune which you would expect to find in an arcade oriented game. Multiplayer is offered on the same console only and is your basic choose a character each and then fight it out.
Overall Boxing Champions is a decent budget game. The fact you don’t have to know much about the sport of boxing to enjoy the game is a bonus, but some boxing aficionados may not like the game due to its arcade roots. If you’re looking for a game to give a quick bash with mates once in a while or some quick boxing fun every so often then Boxing Champions at its budget price is definitely worth a look.
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