K-1 The Arena Fighters

a game by THQ
Platforms: Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 4.3/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 5.0/10 - 2 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Fighting Games

Fight fans, get ready for a pugilistic party! K-1: The Arena Fighters is an authentic kickboxing game that requires you to use more than your fists to win.

K-1 showcases eight real-life kickboxers from around the world in One Player, Versus, Tournament, and Team Battle modes.

As in real kickboxing, your fighter tosses fists and feet, enabling you to string together wicked combos. This game is pure kickboxing, so don't look for fancy fireballs or projectiles. You must analyze your opponent's style, and then fight accordingly.

Each fighter exhibits lifelike movement via a well-defined, polygonal look, slick sounds, and excellent controls. A rotating camera brings the action right to you by displaying an awesome ringside panoramic view. The realistic punching and kicking audio effects are enhanced by the crowd chants and a flawless announcer. The ease of the controls enables you to orchestrate your fighter's every move with explosive precision.

Even though it's not a traditional boxing or martial arts sim, K-1 is the most realistic fighting game to date. Because of its limited array of fighters, though, you might want to rent it first to see if it deserves a permanent spot in your arena.

ProTips:

  • Wear down your opponent by using constant jabs.
  • When an opponent ducks, grab him by the head and give him a knee to the chops.
  • For the best success, use a fighter like K. Changpuek that's well balanced in both strength and speed.
  • Make your opponent swing and miss, then connect with a right cross.

Download K-1 The Arena Fighters

Playstation Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

This is a novel idea. Try to picture this, if you can. A fighting game that has no 50 hit combos. A fighting game that does not allow the characters to shoot fire balls out the ends of their hands. A fighting game that does not allow the characters to warp from one edge of the screen to the other. A fighting game that does not end by reaching into the deepest orifices of the opponent and ripping forth some sort of vital organ. That is right, a fighting game that focuses on fighting. Real fighting, not some cartoony, unrealistic fights. Hand to hand, fist to fist, feet to feet fights that end with the last man standing.

Am I the only person who is glad to see this title? Tell you what, this game received extra points just because it is an original concept on the Playstation, and that is always worth a few extra points in my book. Anyway, THQ has taken kick boxing, Karate, Kempo and Kung Fu and spun them together and created K-1 The Arena Fighters. The game boasts eight actual fighters, each with their own specialties, beautiful 3D and 2D arenas and a license from K-1, the official international tournament fighting organization. What this all amounts to is a realistic fighting title that is long overdue.

Gameplay

K-1 follows the traditional mold of fighters by allowing the player to select one of eight fighters to play in one of four different game modes. The idea is quite simple -- knock your opponent out by either punching, kicking, kneeing or any other form of contact deemed legal. Each player has a life gauge and a stamina gauge. The life gauge shows the fighter's strength level. The gauge is capable of slowly recharging during the match if you avoid contact, but should it reach 0, you will end up flat on your back with the loss. The stamina gauge displays the fighter's stamina which is directly related to the power of the fighter's blows. The higher the stamina, the more powerful the shots.

After playing a few games, one thing becomes very apparent. Strategy plays a big part in the success of your fighter. I tried the all-out flurry of blows to try and knock the opponent out as quickly as possible. That lasted for about 30 seconds until my stamina was reduced to zero and my opponent proceeded to kick the crap out of me. Next, I tried the fleeing strategy. Run and hide with a few punches or kicks mixed in. This was a bit more effective but was really not very fun. Finally, I figured out that it is not how much you attack, but the key is when you attack. Waiting for your moment is the best way to win fights. Let the other fighter attack and come back with a strong counter attack.

K-1 offers 8 fighters to choose from. Each of the fighters varies in physical size and strength. The smallest fighter weighs in at 5 feet 7 inches and 165 pounds. The biggest fighter tops the scales at 253 pounds and stands 6 feet 5 inches tall. Why am I bringing this up? Because I want you to see the diversity in the available fighters. Anyway, each fighter has a list of favorite moves available that are unique to that fighter. Mastering these moves could mean the difference between success and defeat.

K-1 has four different modes of gameplay available. The first mode is just a 1 player battle through the field of other fighters. If you defeat the other 7 fighters, you will face your master. Defeat your master and you win. The second mode of gameplay available is the Vs mode. This is a one on one battle against your buddy. Pretty standard stuff. Next is the Team Battle mode. This lets you pick 3 fighters to go against three opponents. The first team to win two matches is the winner. Finally, you can play in the tournament. The tournament allows up to 8 players to compete for the title. This is also where I have a complaint with the game. If you select tournament mode, you are forced to watch all of the computer fought matches between your own match. This is lame. I don't play games to watch the computer play. I play them to play myself. Anyway, I could not figure out a way to simulate the computer matches so I found myself not patient enough to watch the other fights. A note though, the manual made no mention of simulating the matches and I tried everything I could think of to no avail. This does not mean that there is no way to do it but I sure could not find it.

The game has a unique feature that is pretty neat. You can customize and train fighters. What this means is that each player has eight different categories. These categories include learning level, counter punch, guard, first strike, dodge, stamina, damage, swing and combination. You can set your learning level to each of these categories to light, medium or heavy. To keep things fair, if you give every category a heavy learning ability, it actual hurts your fighter so he won't learn anything. The idea is to only go heavy on the areas you find important, medium of the less important and light on the not important. This lets you build your fighter into everything you want.

My only other complaint about the game, and it is a moderately sized one, is the slow reaction times to the button pushes. At times, it feels like the game is moving in slow motion. You push the punch button and wait. In a sport like this, speed is an important aspect and the lag time really affects the feeling of the fighter's speed. It is difficult to impossible to get off a good flurry of attacks because of the delayed response. I think this really hurt the overall fun of the game although, after a while, I did adjust to it. The thing is, I shouldn't have to adjust to the game, the game should adjust to me. This is a big reason for the lower score. One more little pestering problem. When you are getting beat on by the opponent and try to back up, if your character is at the edge of the screen, the game won't let you move back. This only happens for a few seconds but that is too long.

Graphics

Let me just say that the roving camera work in this game is awesome. I have not seen cameras that accurately follow fighters and keep the game player in the best viewpoint in a long time. The arenas are also really cool and the crowd is not mere blurry color splotches but look like actual people. The fighting arena is lined with photographers and gives an incredible feeling of realism. The fighters are all big polygons that are pretty decent. My only complain is when kicking, the legs look too stiff and lifeless. Other than that, the graphics are pretty darn good.

Bottom Line

K-1 is a welcome sight to the Playstation. I really like the realistic appeal to it. It is nice to fight straight up without magic powers or secret moves. I think that fans of boxing waiting for a boxing game to come out should be held over for a while with K-1. I wish that the action was a bit faster and the reactions to the button pushes was a lot faster but, on the whole, this is a decent tile. THQ deserves a pat on the back for being the first to bring a realistic fighting game to market. I am looking forward to seeing all of the other companies scramble to get something out to rival K-1. Until that happens, your options are pretty much K-1 or nothing at all.

Overview

This is a novel idea. Try to picture this, if you can. A fighting game that has no 50 hit combos. A fighting game that does not allow the characters to shoot fire balls out the ends of their hands. A fighting game that does not allow the characters to warp from one edge of the screen to the other. A fighting game that does not end by reaching into the deepest orifices of the opponent and ripping forth some sort of vital organ. That is right, a fighting game that focuses on fighting. Real fighting, not some cartoony, unrealistic fights. Hand to hand, fist to fist, feet to feet fights that end with the last man standing.

Am I the only person who is glad to see this title? Tell you what, this game received extra points just because it is an original concept on the Playstation, and that is always worth a few extra points in my book. Anyway, THQ has taken kick boxing, Karate, Kempo and Kung Fu and spun them together and created K-1 The Arena Fighters. The game boasts eight actual fighters, each with their own specialties, beautiful 3D and 2D arenas and a license from K-1, the official international tournament fighting organization. What this all amounts to is a realistic fighting title that is long overdue.

Gameplay

K-1 follows the traditional mold of fighters by allowing the player to select one of eight fighters to play in one of four different game modes. The idea is quite simple -- knock your opponent out by either punching, kicking, kneeing or any other form of contact deemed legal. Each player has a life gauge and a stamina gauge. The life gauge shows the fighter's strength level. The gauge is capable of slowly recharging during the match if you avoid contact, but should it reach 0, you will end up flat on your back with the loss. The stamina gauge displays the fighter's stamina which is directly related to the power of the fighter's blows. The higher the stamina, the more powerful the shots.

After playing a few games, one thing becomes very apparent. Strategy plays a big part in the success of your fighter. I tried the all-out flurry of blows to try and knock the opponent out as quickly as possible. That lasted for about 30 seconds until my stamina was reduced to zero and my opponent proceeded to kick the crap out of me. Next, I tried the fleeing strategy. Run and hide with a few punches or kicks mixed in. This was a bit more effective but was really not very fun. Finally, I figured out that it is not how much you attack, but the key is when you attack. Waiting for your moment is the best way to win fights. Let the other fighter attack and come back with a strong counter attack.

K-1 offers 8 fighters to choose from. Each of the fighters varies in physical size and strength. The smallest fighter weighs in at 5 feet 7 inches and 165 pounds. The biggest fighter tops the scales at 253 pounds and stands 6 feet 5 inches tall. Why am I bringing this up? Because I want you to see the diversity in the available fighters. Anyway, each fighter has a list of favorite moves available that are unique to that fighter. Mastering these moves could mean the difference between success and defeat.

K-1 has four different modes of gameplay available. The first mode is just a 1 player battle through the field of other fighters. If you defeat the other 7 fighters, you will face your master. Defeat your master and you win. The second mode of gameplay available is the Vs mode. This is a one on one battle against your buddy. Pretty standard stuff. Next is the Team Battle mode. This lets you pick 3 fighters to go against three opponents. The first team to win two matches is the winner. Finally, you can play in the tournament. The tournament allows up to 8 players to compete for the title. This is also where I have a complaint with the game. If you select tournament mode, you are forced to watch all of the computer fought matches between your own match. This is lame. I don't play games to watch the computer play. I play them to play myself. Anyway, I could not figure out a way to simulate the computer matches so I found myself not patient enough to watch the other fights. A note though, the manual made no mention of simulating the matches and I tried everything I could think of to no avail. This does not mean that there is no way to do it but I sure could not find it.

The game has a unique feature that is pretty neat. You can customize and train fighters. What this means is that each player has eight different categories. These categories include learning level, counter punch, guard, first strike, dodge, stamina, damage, swing and combination. You can set your learning level to each of these categories to light, medium or heavy. To keep things fair, if you give every category a heavy learning ability, it actual hurts your fighter so he won't learn anything. The idea is to only go heavy on the areas you find important, medium of the less important and light on the not important. This lets you build your fighter into everything you want.

My only other complaint about the game, and it is a moderately sized one, is the slow reaction times to the button pushes. At times, it feels like the game is moving in slow motion. You push the punch button and wait. In a sport like this, speed is an important aspect and the lag time really affects the feeling of the fighter's speed. It is difficult to impossible to get off a good flurry of attacks because of the delayed response. I think this really hurt the overall fun of the game although, after a while, I did adjust to it. The thing is, I shouldn't have to adjust to the game, the game should adjust to me. This is a big reason for the lower score. One more little pestering problem. When you are getting beat on by the opponent and try to back up, if your character is at the edge of the screen, the game won't let you move back. This only happens for a few seconds but that is too long.

Graphics

Let me just say that the roving camera work in this game is awesome. I have not seen cameras that accurately follow fighters and keep the game player in the best viewpoint in a long time. The arenas are also really cool and the crowd is not mere blurry color splotches but look like actual people. The fighting arena is lined with photographers and gives an incredible feeling of realism. The fighters are all big polygons that are pretty decent. My only complain is when kicking, the legs look too stiff and lifeless. Other than that, the graphics are pretty darn good.

Bottom Line

K-1 is a welcome sight to the Playstation. I really like the realistic appeal to it. It is nice to fight straight up without magic powers or secret moves. I think that fans of boxing waiting for a boxing game to come out should be held over for a while with K-1. I wish that the action was a bit faster and the reactions to the button pushes was a lot faster but, on the whole, this is a decent tile. THQ deserves a pat on the back for being the first to bring a realistic fighting game to market. I am looking forward to seeing all of the other companies scramble to get something out to rival K-1. Until that happens, your options are pretty much K-1 or nothing at all.

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