December 2, 2002
Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
21/6/2002CodemastersAtomic Planet1-2M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Fighters look somewhat average.
Well, well. Where do you start on a title like this? I guess it's some indication that the game has been sitting on my shelves for almost 4 months before writing this review. Yes I'm slack at times. But I have a good reason for not reviewing this title. It's crap. Put simply this is one of the worst boxing games I've ever seen and with Rage's upcoming Rocky and EA's Knockout Kings 2002 and even Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 already on the shelves there is no reason to look at this title. Well if your a mad boxing fan you may want to read on.

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Fighters taking a bruising.
One of the reasons for the short review of this title is that there is little to say - positively at least. The game contains 20 international arenas including Carnival City, Caesars Palace & Wembley Arena, although you'll have a hard time telling them apart. There are however a couple of positive aspects to this title. The create-a-fighter area is possibly the most detailed and best yet seen in a video game. If you can think it you can probably do it. Strangely although there are almost a dozen options for things such as nose, eyebrows, chin line etc there is a very limited range of skin and hair colours to choose from.

The number of game modes also impresses. These include an Exhibition Mode where you can select two boxers to go at it in the ring, Speed Boxing which sees how quickly you can with the fights with bonuses for winning in quick time, a Belt Mode which sees you competing to improve rankings within the world. Of course the 2-player mode should provide the most fun, and probably does if you can tolerate the game. The Tyson Challenge sees you fight the man himself to see if you can KO 15 opponents in 1 round each. Undisputed Champ is a survival mode with your custom boxer while Sparring puts you through your paces in the gym.

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The boxer selection screen is nice.
The main problem with this game is that it just doesn't seem fluid and easy to control. The game doesn't have the immediate pick up and play feel with the boxers moving sluggishly around the ring and the range of punches seemingly limited. In fact, the game includes a wide variety of punches, but uses a rather strange controller setup making controlling the fighters awkward in a tough fight. In reality most figs are best resolved with continual hook and uppercut punches. There is little incentive to throw a couple of jabs to get the opponent off guard, because it doesn't work.

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Battling in the ring.
The graphics really are a mixed bag in this title. While the player models aren't overly detailed they do look pretty good although the animation is a little stiff and seems to miss the mark when it comes to the frames. The crowds in the arenas themselves are also interesting. Close to the ring the spectators are all modelled in 3D with average detail. About 3 rows back however the crowds are all a single flat bitmap, and it looks horrible.

Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing supposedly includes commentary from Ian Darke and Bobby Czyz. Usually the commentary in a boxing game is lively, if not funny - this game is neither. In fact the commentary is almost non-existent in the fights, and hardly worth mentioning. The music isn't much better and is a distraction more then anything.

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Tua cops one from Tyson.
Graphics are probably this games strongest point. The fighters, while not the best seen, are passable but it's the damage to their faces that stands out. This is due to the "Polymorphic & Interpolative Node-mapping" system that the developers have been touting as the ultimate system. As is usual in boxing games today their faces become bloodied and bruised the longer the fight continues - then again it has all been seen before in other boxing games. Sadly, the animation has some massive problems, in particular with frames being skipped during the matches. The backgrounds are also desperately lacking with the crowds lacking detail and excitement.

I guess you should have a good impression of what I think about this game - its crap - and I have no hesitation in saying that. It's not that it looks overly bad, or that the sound is dire, but rather that the game isn't as much about strategy as it is just mashing the buttons and hoping for the best. This game required a lot more work prior to release - something which it didn't get.

GRAPHICSIt looks ok in these pictures with nice models, but when it's moving...
SOUNDThis could be one of the games strengths, if it wasn't such crap.
GAMEPLAYMash the buttons and hope for the best, there is little strategy.
VALUEWell I really struggled to enjoy the game at all, no replay value.
OVERALLWhy? Why would they bother? Why would you bother? Stick with EA's Knockout Kings 2002 for realistic fighting, or for more arcade styled action Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 or Rage's Rocky. Steer clear of this one.