Amstrad Action1st February 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #5
Barry McGuigan's World Championship Boxing
Hot on the heels of his World Championship triumphs last year, Barry McGuigan has made his computer debut in just the same dynamic and powerful style that typifies his boxing. Despite being the fourth boxing game on the market in recent months it more than matches the others and will provide long hours of fisticuff entertainment.
The contest can take the form of two-player battles or of one player battling against the nineteen computer opponents as he tries to beat Barry for his world title. The first action of the prospective world champion is to create his own boxer from various characteristics in true Frankenstein style. He can be black or white and have various shades of hair colour and shorts - judge for yourself whether they make any difference to your performance. Most important is the boxing style you choose and your personality which can be one of several types from a nice guy slugger to a loudmouth dancer.
The style of boxing will determine the best punches and tactics for use in a fight while the personality will affect the attitude of the boxer. This is all revealed in the boxer's profile which gives information on his strength, stamina, endurance, agility, best punch, recovery, fight record and winnings. Having examined this, you can now head your man towards his first fight.
The boxer can begin as a new pro or a contender, which will determine whether he starts at 20th or 10th in the world rankings. He can decide to take on one of the two boxers ahead of him in the rankings or the one behind him. Each fight will have details of the purse, a number of weeks to train for it and the number of rounds. Having selected the opponent his profile can be examined - it gives the same information as yours and hopefully reveals his weaknesses.
The strategy element continues with the weeks in training camp where five different training routines - heavy bag, light bag, sparring, roadwork and weights can be allocated to build up areas of your fighting ability. The strategy side to the game is quite absorbing and vital as well because one wrong decision may leave you with little chance in the fight.
The fights take place over ten or twelve rounds of three minutes (slightly faster than real time) each. The ring is shown in 2D with the boxers moving left and right but despite this there are several dimensions to the fighting. The first is that the boxers move automatically depending on their boxing style, leaving you to concentrate on the punching. There are eight different moves that work at two distances.
When the boxers are close together, the inside punches, such as uppercut and hook need to be used. Further apart, outside moves are needed like the jab. Crosses and bodyshots can be used at both distances. Each punch requires different amounts of energy and has different effects on your opponent.
Each fight requires a long term plan to either KO your opponent with some big punching, wear him down and then stop him with a series of knockdowns or try to outpoint him. The last of these is extremely difficult and will require a lot of skill. When a flurry of punches occurs, the crowd's excitement will increase while a knockdown will provoke wild cheering and flashing of camera bulbs.
At the end of each round, a break is taken to show the points situation and stamina strength and endurance ratings. If you win a fight, you move up in the rankings and the boxer's skills may increase along with his earnings.
There's an excellent blend of strategy, tactics and arcade action to provide a great boxing simulation that probably gets as close to the real thing as possible. The long term challenge of moving up the rankings is a tough one that keeps you at it and with so much variety possible you shouldn't tire easily. I hate to say it but - a real knockout!
We always knew Barry M could box a bit, but his programming skills come as a revelation - this is the best punch-'em-up yet on the Amstrad, a really exciting blend of fistic fury and calm strategy. The thrill of winning my first fight against Cannonball Corby roused the whole office from their cider-induced torpor. I was chaired round the streets of Somerton, the brass band played etc, etc.
What makes the game is the fact that, from the very beginning, you know that skill rather than luck is the determining factor. If you train properly, go to bed early, live a clean life and throw the right punches, you'll do well.
P. Nineteen different, but tough, fighters to battle.
P. Great variety in boxers you can create.
P. Good strategy element in the plan of action.
P. Ring action demands plenty of skill.
P. Excellent graphical and sound touches like Knock Outs and crowd roar.
P. True two-player action.
N. Not for pacifists.