Review by hambone2379
"Finally, a boxing game that actually feels like REAL boxing!"
Every time a new boxing game is released, my hopes soar, thinking that finally someone has created a true to life, realistic, and most importantly fun boxing game. Up until now my hopes were always crushed as I purchased yet another poor boxing simulator, most often from the Knockout Kings series. Victorious Boxers is the polar opposite of Knockout Kings, and that is a very good thing. KK 2001 does have some good things going for it, namely a big roster of past and present boxing superstars, a create-a-boxer mode, and running commentary during the fights. Victorious Boxers has none of these features, yet still manages to K.O. Knockout Kings in every respect, and every other boxing game for that matter.
The first thing most people will notice about VB is the painfully out of date graphics that accompany the story mode. They are SNES quality at best, with hokey text dialogue and repetitive scenes you see every fight. There is no create-a-boxer feature, and no real boxers either, instead using characters from a popular Japanese manga. You're probably thinking that with all these drawbacks, Victorious Boxers is not worth your hard earned cash. I'm afraid a lot of people will think the same. They will miss out on the most realistic boxing game ever created.
Victorious Boxers is so true to life, it is incredible. Every facet of the boxing arsenal is at your disposal. Side-to-side movement is tremendously important, just like in real boxing. Work a man to the body for 4 straight rounds and he'll crumple like a paper bag. Play the role of the counter-puncher, jabbing to put your man off balance and then popping him on the way back up. Create your own combos, but if they don't work in real boxing, they probably don't work here. Mix your punches up, to the body and head, and you'll make out fine, but be one-dimensional and just work the body OR the head and you'll get countered out of your boots. Work your jab, keep your man on the ropes, and crush him in the corner--that works too. Quite simply, it is the knowledgeable boxing fans dream game.
The graphics take a huge step up once you're in the ring, and the animations are truly beautiful, from a blistering left hook to the shaky knees of the guy on the other end of it. In fact, once you're in the ring, you forget all about the hokey dialogue, poor between fight graphics and basically everything else, including paying your bills and brushing your teeth. You just want to fight, fight, fight.
The controls are very complex, as it is like learning how to play videogames all over again. The default controls have your directional inputs remaining the same no matter which way your character is facing. This is easily changed however, as the controls are fully customizable. No matter what set-up you use, it will probably take some real time and practice before you are any good. In fact, when you start out, you will most likely STINK. Hopefully this will not turn-people off as it makes it that much more satisfying when you start dancing like Ali and knocking guys out like Felix Trinidad. By pushing the analog stick all the way, you move your man around the ring, but if you just move it slightly your man bends at the waist, bobbing and weaving like a real boxer. It's VERY sensitive, but it's so simple, and so perfect once you get used to it, you'll wonder why no one thought of this control scheme before.
As you beat the characters through story mode, they become available, bringing your total to 43 characters, each with totally different characteristics and styles, and I mean that, they are all different. You can choose the number of rounds and knockdowns per fight. The grudge matches are incredible, as your skill, not your characters attributes, determines most who will win.
If you are a boxing fan, I am not encouraging you, I am telling you to go get this game. Take some time, learn it, enjoy it. There may never be a boxing game this good again.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/12/01, Updated 11/12/01
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