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Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing
PS2 Staff Review by Michael Brady

Remember that great boxing game that was out for the Super Nintendo game console, Mike Tyson's Punch Out? Remember how fun it was to play as that young boxer (Lil Mac) who was on his way to fighting Mike Tyson. Well the bad guy of boxing is back with a new title for the next generation systems. The game is Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing and it will have Tyson fans excited to see just what is in store for the new game. With the popularity of boxing games increasing, it is interesting to see what innovations the developers at Codemasters have come up with. So, get ready for heavyweight action at its finest, with all the glitz and glamour that we have come to see from expensive pay per views.

With the expectation of better graphics for the next generation consoles, Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing does deliver the goods. The character models are proportioned to their real life counter parts in size, but some of the physiques of the other boxers have been graciously amped up. For example, Francis Botha looks a lot better in this game than in real life. I guess he may have paid some money into the development of this title because he has been immortalized in a good way, or maybe the guys at Codemasters just plain felt sorry for him. However, the characters in this game look great. You can see the muscles on the characters flex and their skin gloss with sweat as the match progresses. One item that stands above all the other boxing games that have happened is the polymorphic and interpolative node mapping. This increases the visuals where facial damage is concerned. As the fight goes into later rounds, you begin to see the amount of damage that you or your opponent has sustained. As you are cut in the ring, it is important to monitor the damage that has been sustained, because the ref may stop the fight and not allow you to continue. There are four levels of cuts, face bruised, face cut and face critical (you do not want to see that...eewwuuu). As you sustain this type of damage, your cut man will fix you up in-between rounds. This is what boxing games need, even the simulation boxing titles in the past have not been able to bring this level of realism to the genre. The crowd character animations look great, the people in the crowd move with excitement. The boxers' intros into the ring look awesome, the way they walk to the ring is intriguing to see. They all come into the ring with their own attitude, style and presence. Even when an opponent comes into the ring, the boxer who entered first calmly warms up and gets ready for the bout. The moves are preformed with a lot of flare, there are streaks and swooshes to show incredible combos and power shots. The game graphically does not slow down and moves very smoothly. The lighting effects in the ring are great as well, the lights overhead shine down on the boxers and I must say it looks real. The overall visual presentation of this game is great and the developers at Codemasters must give themselves a pat on the back for work in this department.

The graphics in this title mean nothing if there is not smooth innovative gameplay. Well gold stars for Codemasters, as they have been able to implement a new approach to the way in which boxing games are played. Now the game controls are pretty straight forward, x, square, triangle, and circle will have your boxer perform different types of punches such as jabs, uppercuts and right or left crosses for example (you may also hold down the button for a harder punch). Then when you implement the use of the R1 and the L1 buttons (holding them down), your boxer will then perform body shots and hooks. Where the real level of innovation comes in is the use of the R3 analog stick. This is used to block punches where as the left analog stick is used to move around the ring. This I found this amazing, it is about time this was thought of. It gives the gamer the freedom to block on coming shots with a lot more ease. Gone are the days of having to press a button to block, there is far better control with the use of the R3 button. Great job in the innovation department guys! The combos in this game look great and each boxer is equipped with four different types. As you land, power shots, dodge and deflect incoming hits, or taunt your opponent you acquire combo stars that fill up. Once they are filled you are able to perform your boxer's special combos. There are also many different modes to play such as belt modes, speed boxing or exhibition modes. You are also able to create your own boxer and have him compete against the heavyweights of today, wow. The gameplay in this title is great, boxing fans should not expect this game to play as a boxing sim though, and it is very arcade like in terms of style and presentation. So, if realism is your thirst then go else where, but fans of titles like Ready to Rumble will enjoy this game for sure.

The sound in this game is fantastic; it was awesome to hear the corner men shouting out instructions to the boxers. The comments from the corners were very entertaining and were accurate to the action that was in the ring. The commentating in this game is great to. As the match ends and the replay is being shown press style the commentators (Ian Drake and Bobby Czyz) describe the knockout action to a tee. The crowd reactions to the boxers is on point as well, they really acknowledge big hits and combos. This is probably the best sounding boxing game on the market.

The game does have great value. There is a strong Tyson following still in the boxing world and video game fans will be happy to see Iron Mike return to the next generation gaming systems. This boxing game will have arcade lovers content with the style of the game play. Those who are boxing simulation fans may not like to see the over the top combos because this game does not bring any level of realism at least to the moves list. The main ingredient this title has is the great fun that all will have playing it, it ensures for hours of pleasure and good old bust em up competition.

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