Ever since I knocked the living daylights out of Glass Joe in the original Super Punch-Out, I’ve been itching for another opportunity to throw a right hook on some unsuspecting contender. Well, I didn’t have to wait that long as Boxing Champs is here and ready to show us what its made of! Does it succeed in taking home the title? Read on and find out!
The first thing you’ll notice about Boxing Champs is that it is played from a top-down perspective reminiscent of the old SNES and Genesis days. The game boasts the standard features you’d expect in most games, including:
– Create a Boxer: With over 70 different hairstyles, hair color, body color, body type to choose from, you can create an endless amount of boxers that are specific to you. There’s also a large array of preset boxers already made if you just want to get in the ring and start swinging.
– Career Mode: Create your fighter, and with your trainer, move up the world rankings, There are 4 different champions, Clean the mess up and win all 4 belts to unify the titles.
– Full Punch Control: Use the twin sticks to move and punch with these intuitive controls for a boxing game, feel every punch as you move the stick in the direction you want to punch, with vibration giving that extra feel when you land. For those who prefer buttons, you can also use the buttons to punch.
So you want to be a fighter, eh?
Once you’ve created your fighter it’s time to get in the ring! You can play in a quick match or test your skills in career mode which pits you against all the fighters in succession. After each successful fight, you can add points to your skill set of attributes to enhance your power, speed, stamina, toughness, and footwork.
And you’re going to need all the help you can get because as you move up the ranks, you’ll face the reigning champs in each division who’ll want nothing more than to separate your head from your shoulders. If you’re lucky (or skilled) enough to beat them, you can unify the titles and call yourself the undisputed champion of the world!
The graphics, while very basic, are all drawn in an original old-school nostalgic design. The boxers may look cartoonish and cute, but don’t let that fool you, because each one packs a flurry of punches that will put you on the canvas if you’re not careful. Thankfully the controls are spot on and very responsive.
Peekaboo, Peekaboo……Jab! Jab!
Punching techniques abound in this title – you control jabs, hooks, and uppercuts with the Right stick and movement with the Left. A knockout punch can be delivered in various ways, including a lightning-quick uppercut, several quick jabs to the head, or a devasting punch delivered by a crazy hook. While the controls sound cumbersome at first, it becomes more intuitive once you get a few matches under your belt.
While Boxing Champs is a solid contender, there are a few cuts and bruises in the gameplay that prevent it from taking home the belt. For one, the health status bar seems to be inconsistent. For example, when I knock down my opponent and he gets up, his health is fully restored. When I hit the canvas and get up, my bar doesn’t seem to regenerate. I’m not sure if this is a bug or a way to leverage the AI to provide more of a challenge.
Down but not out!
The other nitpick I have is the lack of variety of knockouts. Although there are a variety of ways to put your opponents down, there’s only one animation for it. It would have been nice to see your opponent stagger backward before falling down or doing a 360 before hitting the canvas face first.
Despite these issues, I enjoyed Boxing Champs. It’s fun, challenging, and well worth the $10 admission price. If the developers can polish up a few of the gameplay quirks, then they will have a solid foundation to build a franchise on. The game isn’t for everyone, but for those looking for a fun boxing game on the PC, then this is your ticket.