Oh dear, I'm such a crap boxer. Y'see, I've never had to learn how to fight because I've always had my brother to protect me. He once tried to teach me how to throw a punch but gave up after a while (he was laughing too much). But not being able to land a left-hook in real life makes no difference to a computer, for all the Speccy knows I could be Barry McGuigan. In fact, after having played The Champ, I think I might be.
The Champ is a simple, straightforward (boring) boxing game. There's no management bits, no starting at the bottom and fighting your way to the top, no nasty bruises, no saliva-drenched mouthguards, nothing. All The Champ has to offer is a quick left-right and some nice graphics. With a few (major) changes, it might have been quite a nice little player. But as it stands, it's a bit average (and that's being kind).
REAL MEN DON'T SKIP!
Okay, let's start at the beginning (you know it makes sense!). There's some pretty pictures accompanied by a fanfare and then the options. There are quite a lot of these but they're all pretty boring. The only exciting bit is choosing who to be. I was a bit fed up with being Linda so I opted for Toni Biggs, a name which has just the right hint of criminality and a continental flavour too. Once you've sussed out who you are you can roll over to the gym. The gym's a bit of alright actually. You can skip (practice your rope skills, I mean - real men don't skip) and have a go on the punchbag and speedball.
The graphics are one of the (few) good things about The Champ. They're mono but very cartoony and you can actually tell the difference between yourself and your opponent. In the gym, all the accessories are nicely delineated and everything moves quite smoothly too.
After a bit of a work-out you'll be just about ready for a bit of a spar. This involves you and, erm, someone else having a bit of a go at one another in the gym. This is a good time to test your moves and work out your left-hook from your right. Look out for the punch-in-the-stomach move, it's the best one (even if it does look a bit like hitting below the belt!).
I was hoping that the action would hot up once I got into the ring. But alas, 'twas not to be. I (or rather, Toni) climbed through the ropes and (apart from the sea of faces) everything was pretty much business as usual. That's to say, I knocked the other fella out within 4 rounds. Peasy or what? And there I was, looking for a right old barney!
So basically, The Champ is a bit of a no-no. (Although the 2-player option might be a tad more interesting than the bash-the-computer mode.) The game's major weakness is the fact that it's so preposterously easy. Without any instructions, I loaded it up, found my way around the option screens (the difficult bit) and proceeded to win a match. Twice. Which only goes to show that, without a shadow of a doubt, I am Barry McGuigan.
Weak boxing sim completely lacking in the excitement dept.
He won't be getting up! Those people look a bit shocked. Maybe I hit him below the belt (or something).
Time for a quick workout before the match. I'll just pretend this ball's some guy's head.
Oh dear, I didn't mean to hit him that hard. I don't know my own strength!