Commodore User

McGuigan Vs. Bruno: The Big Fight
By Elite
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #25

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing

The McGuigan game takes itself a bit more seriously than the Bruno one, but that doesn't automatically mean it's a better game.

Its scope is certainly larger. You get more than twice as many opponents and the option to create your own boxer. Thus, at the beginning, if you choose to build a new contender you change his colour (skin and kit) and his type. You can choose from slugger, nice guy, bulldog and boxer, among others. Let's face it, nice guys don't win so you may as well go for boxer, it looks like a sensible option. In fact, though I can see that once you're fighting it makes an enormous difference.

Don't expect to be squaring up to Barry straight away either. There's a lot of word to be done before you get the big fight. Even before you meet your first opponent you need to note your strengths and weaknesses on the profile screen. If you're low on endurance and strength by the time you get to your training screen you'd better do some road running and weights. The training screen doesn't really have you doing much but allocating weeks to certain areas before the fight. Your normally get 8-12 to prepare.

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing

Endurance is the key. This is your energy level, and when it gets low because you've taken too many punches you run the risk of getting knocked down. Two indicators at the top of the screen indicate the levels. I have a whinge here. Everything you do saps you, taking punches and throwing them, so by the time you've gone a couple of rounds your level is so low that you punch yourself out until he lands one on you! This seems unfair because your opponent always goes down slowly.

The graphics are excellent. The boxers are big and possess features, they move fluidly and punch realistically. Joystick control is a little more sophisticated as well. You have two modes: inside and outside. The former operates with the Fire button depressed and you use this at close quarters with your opponent.

So it's been a close fight that's gone the full distance. What's the decision?

Frank Bruno's Boxing

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing

Here it is, fight fans, the bill of the decade. The Seventies had Frazier and Ali slugging it out in the 'Thriller in Manilla' and now Commodore User has brought two of Britain's greatest boxers together to battle it out for a massive purse. Frank Warren ain't got nothing on us!

Elite's offering is a faithful reproduction of the arcade favourite Super Puncher. The only difference is that the C64 version features three more boxers than the original.

As Frank Bruno you must fight eight opponents to reach the top. The emphasis is very much on keeping the flavour of the arcade version's humorous approach intact. So your man in the opposite corner retains the kind of characteristics he possessed in Super Puncher. You begin against the Canadian Crusher an enormous brute of a bloke built like a lavatory wall. He's stronger than a gorilla and marginally less intelligent. You shouldn't have too much of a problem knocking him down (unless you're more stupid than he is).

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing

After decking the Canadian Crusher you've got to work your way through the other seven pugilists, beginning with the crafty Oriental Fling Long Chop and ploughing on through the cool Russian Andrapuncheredov, the mean Tribal Ttrouble, Frenchie France the smooth Frenchman, Ravioli Mafiosi the pasta-gutbusting Italian, Antipodean Andy the uncouth Aussie and finally Peter Perfect the faultless American bore.

You don't just need to improve your style and reactions on the way to the top. You have to learn some hard lessons as well. Each one of your opponents has a speciality that is likely to have you flat on your back. For example, old Fling Long Chop bounces off the ropes and kicks you in the teeth! When Tribal Trouble's eyes start to narrow and he gets an evil glint in his eye you'd better duck because he's going to nut you.

The controls are effective. You're best off controlling Frank with joystick stuck to the table and using keys 1 and 2 to punch. The character moves well, rolling and shifting left to right like a good 'un. You knock someone down by getting the energy level down. You need three knock downs inside three minutes for a result. You must adopt different styles for each boxer. I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say switching between body and head blows is enough to despatch the Canadian Crusher.

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing

The graphics deserve a special mention for their clarity and sharpness - almost as good as the arcade version. Neil Bate deserves praise for the quality of his work. I particularly like the way the sweat flies off when they take it in the head.

The Result

It was of course a split decision but, after consultation, the judges have decided. And sensationally the referee's holding up Bruno's hand. McGuigan doesn't look too pleased about it, but the judges felt that Elite's version was a touch more playable than Activision's.

Seriously though, both games are of high quality and you must make up your mind whether you want the arcade action of Frank Bruno or the niceties of McGuigan.