Mike Tyson Boxing
With EA having glommed up just about every damn boxer for its Knockout Kings game, and Ready 2 Rumble offering all the fun KK doesn't, what's a developer to do when creating a boxing game? Why, snap up the most controversial ear-bitin'est boxer of his time! Mike Tyson Boxing offers both arcade-styled gameplay and simulation aspects, but ends up a disgruntled mishmash. The strategic elements in the game (i.e., more power is delivered to punches if you charge them up first) penalize gamers who try to button-mash their way through the game. Dodging is also encouraged, but in actual practice, the game ends up looking a bit silly. Instead of bobbing and weaving intuitively, you spend much of the match hanging to the right or the left, and getting socked by a flurry of jabs (that you never seem to be able to land yourself) while you walk around charging up your punches. You can't lock up your opponent either, which may keep the tempo of the match going, but isn't exactly realistic. Plus playing with the fictitious fighters (except Mike) is kind of like a soccer game without the FIFA license. Not exactly Codemasters' fault, but a bummer nevertheless. The character models look pretty tight for a PS game, but the game just feels like it's missing that certain something to take it over the top. If you like boxing, than certainly check it out, but Mike Tyson Boxing fails to land the knockout punch.
Like it or not, Mike Tyson still draws, and this latest boxing game from Codemasters shamelessly plugs the former heavyweight champ. While the game is OK, it never really got me excited in either the one- or two-player mode. The graphics are vintage late '90s fare, but it was hard to distinguish much difference between the strengths and weaknesses of each fighter. Probably the best thing about the game (other than Slick Daddy) was knocking out the other boxer: the head snaps, the knees buckle, and he crumples to the floor. The replays provide some cool camera angles too, but other than that the game is a mixed bag--much like Tyson's career.
Even though the last boxing title I played with any passion was Super Punch Out, I still know enough to tell Mike Tyson Boxing isn't a horrible game, it's just not a very good one. For one, it puts way too much emphasis on its sim features rather than on arcade-style gameplay, which kind of hurts its fun factor. Yes, it's cool that you can train a boxer to such an extent you control how much he eats, but when it comes down to the actual fighting, the coolness kind of stops. It's almost like the game punishes you for trying to have fun. Sure, strategy has its place in boxing games, but I hate getting knocked out every time I just want to jab like nuts.