Zzap1st July 1990
Published in Zzap #63
World Championship Boxing Manager
You don't need bulging biceps to earn a living out of boxing: as a manager you can rake in the cash while others take the punches. With a stable of up to five boxers, you compete against seventeen computer-controller managers.
The main menu comprises a corridor with three doors leading to the physio (for fitness reports), the gymnasium (where fighters can train in five different ways) and your office.
The latter includes a filing cabinet containing your boxers' contracts, records and rankings (area, national and world for both the FWB and WCIB boxing boards). There's also a calendar for advancing the dae, and a filofax with useful information such as fight dates, all 100 boxers' flight records, and detailed ability reports for each of your boxers.
The most important piece of office equipment is the telephone, used to contact other managers to arrange fights. A manager may turn down a fight offer if he thinks it's a mismatch, or if you greedily ask for too high a percentage of the purse. Also contacted by phone are two scouts (Limpy and Wimpy!) who can watch fights on your behalf or even spy on other fighters - however, once found out they may enjoy a long stay in hospital if a fighter is unhappy with his present manager you may be able to poach him.
On fight night (every Saturday) you can watch a blow-by-blow text commentary of any fight. If one of your boxers is involved you get to work in the corner. Between rounds you have thirty seconds to work on your fighter's injuries using such items as the water bottle, sprongs, adrenalin and cold iron. Tactical instructions (ranging from "take it easy" to "fight dirty") can also be given for the next round. Fights may be decided either by knockout, the referee stopping the contest (if a fighter has a bad cut), or on points.
Goliath's Tracksuit Manager was one of the most realistic footy management games made, so I was hoping for a similar treatment of boxing.
Unfortunately, Boxing Manager simply doesn't give you enough to do, and you never seem to have much influence over the success of your fighters.
Also, the fights aren't exactly thrilling: the text commentary gives a good blow-by-blow account, but even a simple graphic display would have helped improve the big fight atmosphere. As it is, I'm afraid Boxing Manager won't make the count.
Being a boxing manager seems like a cushy number to me; after all, it's the poor fighter who has to take the punches. And the boxers aren't the only ones to get beaten up on your behalf - I felt guilty sending out scouts only for them to end up in hospital, time and time again!
Anyway, for a strategy game there isn't that much to do - just picking fights and working in the corner. This is mildly amusing for a while, but with its severe lack of depth the game resembles a budget release. The Amiga version has a few graphical extras such as the curvaceous secretary, but disappointingly no graphical representation of the fight itself.
So overall the C64 version is better value for money, although still far too lightweight for the serious sports strategy fan.
Okay menus, but frequent disk accessing becomes irritating
Some mediocre animated scenes, and no in-fight graphics
Sparse punching effects
Easy to get into but over-simple
Severely lacking game content
Not a big hit
Simple joystick-driven menus are easy to use
Mediocre static pics, no in-fight graphics
Mildly addictive, in a simple way
There simply isn't enough to do to maintain interest
Fairly playable but not a knockout