Boxing Fever

a game by Digital Fiction

Platform: GBA

Genre: Sports

Overview

Punch, Punch, Jab, Uppercut... He's down for the countdown! It's a rumble in the GBA jungle. Boxing Fever from Majesco enters the ring looking to claim a title. Wearing some crisp graphics and promising combatants, Boxing Fever is punching to be the champ in the heavyweight division. Turns out they are slipping in the lightweight corner with weak controls and combos and ho-hum replayability.

Eight boxers from around the world enter the ring vying for the championship of various boxing classes. Boxers hail from the USA to Africa to Japan. Six men and two women punch, jab and slide their way through the classes of Amateur, Pro Am, Professional, Contender, and World Champion. Locations range from an indoor boxing ring to the tundra to an outside ring on an air field and so on. Always joining you in the ring is the announcer with his ringside calls and KOs (knockouts).

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The game plays from the first-person point of view. Two large boxing gloves hover on each side of the screen. As you move, punch and block, the gloves show your action and position. If you use your face to block a punch too many times, your meter, located in the upper left corner with the face of your boxer, falls in level. When the meter is empty, you are kissing canvas. The scene becomes hazy, the screen blinks slowly and the opponent stands over you, waiting for you to recover. This is a nice little touch, though trying to rapidly press buttons and rock the D-pad vigorously to revive the boxer proved useless.

Now it's payback time! The controls are simple and there are eight areas available to hit your opponent. Using the D-pad controls up or down aims the punch for the head or the abdomen. Left or right shifts your weight for a stronger hit. Buttons A and B are right and left punch respectively. Tap down, hold left, and press 'B? delivers a left uppercut to the jaw. Tap up, hold right and press 'A'? delivers a right hook to the cheek. You learn these moves, timing and combos in the training ring. Simple and straightforward. Now, try and deliver them in the ring. Uppercuts and hooks take an agonizingly long time to warm up and deliver, all the while leaving you open. Your opponent has begun clocking you with a couple punches.

Combos are an exact art and the D-pad is unforgiving when trying to press 'true'? right or true? up. Yet, championships can be won by simple punches to the head and abs with a few bobs and weaves. There's no opening available if you don't throw a right hook! Climbing the various classes to the championship belts seemed to fly even as the opponents moved faster and became slightly more intelligent. Yet, each boxer is basically the same except for speed and maybe punching power. Very little variety as you move from contender to contender. The boxers should have a much more distinct boxing style that reflects their training and home country.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics are very slick and clean. Each boxer has his or her own distinct look that vainly tries to show the home country. Still, the colors are crisp and vibrant. Even the background looks appealing though if you look at it while boxing, the match may be quickly over. The meters at the top left and right, you and your opponent respectively, are clear. There are even tiny pictures of the boxers that change as the match progresses showing the outcome of blocking with your face and not the gloves. This would have been a nice touch to the actual opponent instead of the little picture. Also, making the scene hazy and woozy as your boxer gets pummeled would have given an added challenge to the game. The audio is decent with the punches, announcer and crowd in the background. Headphones will always win over the GBA speaker. Making the sound muffled as your boxer gets pulverized would have also added a nice touch to the game.

Multiplayer & Added Features

Beyond the standard Single Fight, you can battle through a Survival mode as you beat opponent after opponent in one round fisticuffs without a KO. This wore itself thin after a few tries and quickly progressing through to boxer status. There is also the Two-Player option giving you the opportunity to wail on a friend. This was mildly enjoyable, once again lacking much variety.

Bottom Line

The learning curve to this game is very low which lets the player hop in and start punching away. Yet, there is little variety and challenge after winning your first few championships and the replay value of the game begins counting for the KO. Aside from decent graphics and mediocre sounds, Boxing Fever may give your heart a mild thump but quickly find it sitting at ringside. Retirement often comes swiftly to some lightweights of the Boxing genre.

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