Fight Night

Published in Zzap #8

Fight Night

You may or may not remember a small news item that appeared in issue 6 of Zzap! about a new boxing game from US Gold/Sydney called Fight Night. Well, after much delay it's finally arrived... sort of. You see, at the time of writing, the program isn't really complete.

In fact there is a succinct little message on the front of the documentation that sums up the situation quite nicely...

So, we're sticking to our guns and giving a "preview of the game to whet your appetite as opposed to a full "review" of an unfinished product to mislead you. More next month, but for now...

Fight Night is the fourth boxing game/simulation to be released on the C64 and has been around a year in the making. It boasts many features and an exciting combination of cartoon quality graphics and equally amusing gameplay. There are four main options present on the cassette version and five on the disk.

Main Event. Essentially a straightforward boxing 'simulation' that lets you box against five of the world's meanest fighters, each with their own distinctive style (usually dirty), strengths, weaknesses and Super Blow. The latter is a very powerful punch that knocks you for six if it lands successfully. It also deforms your boxer rather amusingly in the process!

As a challenger you must first battle your way past four increasingly ferocious contenders before meeting the Champ - the Bronx Bomber. There are eight different manoeuvres at your disposal and all are accessable via a single joystick. Jabs and body blows can both be thrown or faked and your guard can be raised or dropped. One can also move left and right across the ring to avoid punches.

The boxers start in their respective corners and on the sound of the bell it's time to come out fighting. The bout is held over three rounds with the simple object of knocking out your opponent before he floors you. Points are awarded for landing a successful punch and in the event of a bout going the distance, a win is awarded on score.

Boxing Construction. One of the most amusing and original aspects of Fight Night is the Boxer Construction option. In this mode it is possible to build and customize personal boxers to either use as opponents or fight with.

When you use the construction mode you are given five different choices of four different parts of the body - arms, legs, head and torso. Putting them together is done using the joystick and is very simple. Once the boxer has been built you can select the colour of his skin, gloves and shorts and whether he's player or computer controlled.

When that has been done, you are asked to allocate points (out of twenty) to the boxer's left and right punch strength and resilience to attack. Using this you can give the boxer a tremendously powerful left jab, although his right would be weak. The same goes for resilience - the boxer could be practically immune to body punches, but then a blow to the head would really shake him.

If the boxer is computer-controlled then you are also asked to define his offensive/defensive and whether he uses brains or brawn in similar fashion.

In order to become a competent boxer one must practise punching, ducking and most importantly timing. This is done through Training Mode. It also gives you the opportunity to test out the punching power of a constructed boxer. After selecting the boxer you wish to train with and the speed at which to train, you must decide whether to lead or follow. The former is used to practise sense of timing and simply lets you perform a movement at will. The latter however, is a similar method of practice to that of the arcade game Karate Champ. Two representations of your joystick are shown at the top of the screen - one for movement with the button depressed the other without. Various positions and combinations of the joystick 'light up' and the equivalent manoeuvre must be executed as quickly as possible. Making a correct move causes the computer to give the next one, but a wrong move gets the sequence repeated. The combinations of moves given should be noted as they are beneficial to competent play.

Sparring. Allows you to set up a bout between two previously constructed boxers of your choice, be they computer or human controlled. This effectively means that you can create your own demo mode.

Tournament. Unfortunately this option is only present on the disk version of Fight Night. It lets two players compete against each other with a variety of boxers in a round robin tournament, giving the game a managerial flavour.

More next month, including critical appraisal and ratings when we're told the game is completed and tested.