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Charles Goodwin
1989
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

43
David McCandless
Chris Bourne

Don't you just love boxing? The crowds, the atmosphere, the smoke, the clash of the bell, the grunts, the sweat, the swift nasal exhalations, the count, the money, the divorce settlement, the suicide attempt, the brain damage. Oh yes, it's a great sport, but does it really work on the computer?

No.

There simply aren't enough moves. In boxing you've got your standard punch, your er, punch, and of course the punch. Not very impressive at all.

So when Superior came to attempt a boxing game they were very cunning about it, deciding to include the foulest, most disgusting, loathful and unlawful of boxing moves: the head butt (ooh), the kick (aah), the knee (no!) and the groin punch (swoon). All these among the customary defensive blocks and normal punches and jabs make sixteen moves on one joystick. The idea is to ascend the world rankings to World Champion by pulping the six increasingly deadly muscular monoliths standing in your way.

You have fifteen rounds in which to pulverise your opponent. Each round lasts 60 seconds. For a KO you have to pummel about twenty-five consecutive punches into Mild Martin's gob. Which isn't easy when he's busy doing the same for you. Alternatively, you can opt to be nefarious and seek an opportune moment to strike with a despicable move - like when the referee falls asleep for instance.

Unfortunately, the graphics are primitive and old fashioned. You and the opponent look like twins with the same pointed angular bodies, toeless shoes and pencil necks - only the shorts differ. The referee is a prat in black who marches back and forth like a bow-legged crab.

Everything moves reasonably smoothly, but effective punches must be delivered from the correct distance more or less - and they miss. This gets annoying when, in the heat of the battle, you attempt to fend off Mild Martin with a cannonball of a punch only to find you're standing a pixel too far back!

The moves are awkward to obtain and often slow to respond. And the restrictions to left/right movement make the characters seem more like shuffling cardboard cut-outs.

The game's tidily presented with a subtle splattering of special effects and humour, but the poor graphics, unwieldy control, and painful speed just prove my point.

Boxing games don't work particularly well on the computer.

A mediocre boxing attempt that just does not survive the count.

5/10
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