January 13, 2001
The original Ready 2 Rumble Boxing was a launch title on the Dreamcast, and there is little doubt that it was one of the better titles on day one. A little over a year later Midway have completed the sequel for the Dreamcast, as well as the Playstation 2. Have the developers decided to quickly cash in on the original or have they added new features to warrant a new purchase?
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 is, unsurprisingly, a boxing game. However, instead of trying to create a realistic representation of the sport the developers have opted for a more comical approach to boxing. With fighters such as "Afro Thunder", "Big 'Willie' Johnson", and even "Michael Jackson" in the ring this was always going to be a lot of fun. Controlling the fighters is very intuitive and the "R-U-M-B-L-E" system from the first game has been upgraded and now includes three different power levels. The "R-U-M-B-L-E" system works by allowing you to earn letters to spell the word RUMBLE by either taunting your opponent, or landing a clean blow on them. After spelling the word one time you can get a massive speed boost, powering up to the second level allows a greater speed and power boost while on the highest level you can now knock your opponent clean out of the ring for a knockout.
So what's been changed from the original version? Well Midway have now included plenty more boxers to use among returning originals such as "Afro Thunder", "Big Willie Johnson", and "Butcher Brown". Some surprises await with singer Michael Jackson and NBA star Shaq O'Neal both lining up to get in the ring with you. Just wait till you see the taunts from Michael Jackson, you'll be rolling on the floor laughing. Midway have also added in a couple more game modes. The career mode has been overhauled and is much better for it with training occurring between prize and ranking fights. An impressive Team Battle mode has also been added which is becoming more and more common in fighting games these days. The other major change is a boost in the difficulty, which was way too easy in the original title and has certainly been toughened up in the sequel.
R2RR2 is very impressive both graphically and sonically. The game hasn't advanced much since the Dreamcast version released in late 1999, but that title was so good that there wasn't a need to overhaul the in-game graphics. The animation on the boxers is superb, and their attire can only be described as exquisite. Each boxer has his/her own phrases that they shout out during the taunts and are quite amusing. The corner men have also returned and bark out instructions to their fighters while in the ring. The crowds, as expected, respond according to the action on screen.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 is definitely a lot of fun. The fast paced action, quality of the fighters and humour make this a great game if you have friends over. If you already own the original title on Dreamcast you may be left wanting more however if you've never experienced the delights of Midway's boxing title then you are in for many hours of excitement. Both the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 versions are equally impressive and as a result the scores apply to both games.