December 6, 1999

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
30/11/1999MidwayIn-House2M 15+$94.95
Online Mode Difficulty Save Size Rumble 60Hz PAL Border
NoneAverage8 BlocksYesYesSmall

Midway's track record in recent years has been average to say the least. So it was a pleasant surprise then to see many people call Ready 2 Rumble Boxing one of the most impressive games at the E3 show in America last May. The hype that surrounds this game is built, not on misguided company promises, but first hand impressions of the game. Fortunately, these impressions seem to be right. This is a brilliant game.

From the moment you pop in the GD-ROM you realise that Midway have created something special. The intro sequence is exciting and sets the tone of the game perfectly. TV commentator Michael Buffer makes an appearance with his famous "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" line which is also used prior to every fight. R2R (in shortened form) is not a serious boxing simulation, instead Midway have opted for and arcade style game with over the top action. This is evident as soon as you see some of the fighters' names. These include such gems as "Afro Thunder", "Big Willie Johnson", and "Butcher Brown".

There hasn't been a good boxing game on any console or PC for years now. Perhaps Nintendo's Punch Out is the last great boxing game. Most recent games haven't had anything outstanding to shout about which is a shame because boxing games can be fun. Fortunately, Midway have created a technically great game which is a lot of fun to play. From the moment you pick up a controller the game is instantly accessible. That's not to say you can finish it easily, it's quite a hard game, but Midway have created a game that will suite all ages and gameplay experience.

There are 2 game modes in R2R. The first mode is arcade where you just pick a boxer and fight to the end. The other mode, and the one where you will spend most of the time, is the Championship mode. Here, you select a new boxer and train them to become the best fighter in the world. The first thing you'll have to do is train your fighter done by purchasing time in the gym with money earned in prize fights. It is also possible to place an additional wager on yourself to increase your earnings. To improve your world rankings you have to enter title fights.

It must be said that the single player games in R2R are excellent. The computer AI is very good and if you didn't know any better you would think another person was controlling your opponent. But as with other fighting games the most fun is in the 2 player mode. Slogging it out with your best friend sitting beside you is so much fun, especially when you use the taunts when your opponent is almost finished off. The wide variety of fighters on offer allows for some interesting match-ups.

The graphics in R2R are very good. Although not as detailed as Soul Calibur, they can't fail to impress. This fighters bodies look solid and their skin twists and stretched at the fighters move around the ring. Even the ropes around the ring bounce up and down when a fighter hits the canvas. As the fights progress and your fighter takes more hits to the face bruises start appearing. The only minor problem with the graphics is the polygon clipping in parts and the crowds which can look like cardboard cutouts at times.

The animation of the fighters in R2R is also very impressive. Don't expect a fighter to just fall over if he gets knocked out. Sometimes they will spin around in a daze a few times before collapsing, other times they will stutter around the ring first and other times they may simply fall flat on their face.

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing is a brilliant game which has brought Midway closer to the top of the development world. Anyone who remotely likes fighting games should find Midway's boxing title a great game, especially if you have 2 controllers. Why not ask Santa to put it under the tree for you this Christmas.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall