Commodore User1st January 1990
Published in Commodore User #77
World Championship Boxing Manager
For what is only Goliath's second product, World Championship Boxing Manager sets a standard of excellent that a lot of other companies would like to be seen to have.
The reason Goliath's games stand out head and shoulders above the rest is simply the amount of care and attention that goes into them. Take World Championship Boxing Manager for a start. Doug Mathews, the man at the top of Goliath Towers, got himself a satellite dish and recorded every single boxing match on the relevant satellite sports channels, and then studied them carefully to try and understand how a boing match works, right down to how many punches on average will land punches on average will land and how many will be dodged or blocked.
You take on the role of boxing promoter/manager, in charge of anything up to five boxers at any one time and by making all the relevant decisions you have to try and pick these boxers up from out of the gutter and take them to the lofty heights of a world championship in either the FWB league (Federation of World Boxing) or the WCIB (World Council of International Boxing).
But it doesn't end there. In fact, the game doesn't end at all. There is no set pattern to follow, other than to move up ranks by beating opponents placed higher than you. The more impressive you fight, the faster you move. For example, if a 100 ranked player takes on a 97 ranked fighter and only wins on points at the end of the ten rounds, they might move up two places. However, shoud this player knock out the opponent in the 2nd round, that's worth a certified leap of at least ten places.
The game works along the lines of Tracksuit Manager, in that all decisions are made through highlighting options on menus. The main difference is that now you are no longer faced with a screen of boxed off text.
Every screen has some bits animated, such as Goliath, the company cat, who makes a point of getting into as many screens as possible.
You check the weekly rankings to see who's above you. Then you have to look in your filofax to find out how good a fighter this person is and who their manager is. When you're found a boxer you want one of your boxers to challenge, you then go to your phone and call up the required manager. Set a date and a purse percentage. If they agree, you then have to get the fight approved by one of the boxing boards, and you're away.
The fight itself is possibly the best thing about the game. You have a running commentary during the fight, and the power punches rain down thick and fast while all your boxer can do is flail his arms hopelessly. It made me wince just to watch it.
You do have a little bit of say in the run of the game at the end of each round, when you have thirty seconds to try and patch your boxer up by applying a cold iron to the bruising or an adrenalin pad to the cuts, allocating different amounts to each. Then you can instruct the boxer on which style of boxing you think would be best for this particular round, whether that be taking it easy, jabbing to the head or moving out to going for the K.O. and fighting dirty. It's all here and it all works surprisingly well. The A.I. routines used are some of the best I've ever seen, especially when it comes to generating the 'proper' reactions to different incidents.
There is a lot more I could go into. I could explain all the subtleties of the game. Discovering all the little complexities is just part of the fun, and trying to master the fame is the rest. But don't worry, you never will. An incredible product, and a great start to the New Year.