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

34
Phil King, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

IF YOU CAN'T BOX CLEVER, FIGHT DIRTY!

He was fighting dirty, know what I mean 'Any? Well even professional boxers have been known to resort to the odd low punch and in this game the carefully-timed foul is just as important as a good right hook.

In two-player mode two 'friends' can fight each other, while the one-player game involves taking on progressively tougher opponents in a bid for the World Championship. Some of them, with names like Dirty Larry and Fast Freddy, aren't bad at fighting dirty either.

Bouts can last for a maximum 15 rounds, but more often than not one of the fighters fails to go the distance, losing all his five lives first. Lives are lost for losing a round and being spotted committing a foul move. The referee moves around the ring at random, watching out for fouls, but sometimes he nods off! Icons at the top of the screen turn red or green, according to which, if any, boxer he's keeping an eye on.

Selecting a dirty move is, like fair moves, by the usual combination of joystick directions and fire. Showing the impact of these moves are two energy bars and whichever fighter has most energy left at the end of the round wins it. If a boxer's energy is reduced to zero, he falls over and is counted out. Unlike real boxing, however, he still gets up to fight the next round if he's any lives left!

Although By Fair Means Or Foul appeals to my devious nature, technically it's mediocre with wobbly sprites and basic sound. The action ultimately gets repetitive, as success can be achieved by the repeated use of one or two moves. Still, it's good, if hardly clean fun for a few bouts.

PHIL ... 45%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: sloppy boxer sprites 'skate ' around the ring
Sound: simple punching noises and crunchy applause at the end of each round
Options: one or two players. Restart game against more difficult opponent

CRITICISM

'Foul! How can you call this a fair match when I can't even tell which is my boxer? In any case, the pair of 'em look doped, moving around the ring like they're ice-skating. As for the ref, how much was he paid? - he never notices the other guy's fouls while mine are spotted every time! What a con!' MARK ... 23%

General Rating: A great idea which has been let down by poor programming - it won't knock you out!

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34%