Knockout Kings 2000
Publisher & Developer: Electronic Arts Sports
Capabilities: Memory Card & Analog/Vibration Feedback Compatible
Last year, EA Sports released its first venture in the boxing world with Knockout Kings for the Playstation, now its back with a sequel, Knockout Kings 2000. It also came out for N64, the format I favor to review on, but I never played the game on the N64, but my friend has this game, and we played the game a few times for hours on end, so Ill review the Playstation version instead. Now last years version of the game was pretty flawed to my knowledge, so will this sequel improve on last years flaws? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Really nice FMV intro, plus the boxer entrances look really nice for a Playstation game, with the boxer walking down the aisle of a certain arena, like the Caesars Palace for example, doing their little struts and warmup punches. Really nice. The boxers are surprisingly well done for the game, and the models for all of them make them look a lot alike their real life counterparts. You can see the tiniest of details on them from their muscles (or rolls in Butterbeans case), to a black eye, or cut above their eye in the in-between round rest periods. What look really great is when you make a boxer juice(bleed) during the middle of the round, where a splash of blood just pops out of their head.
The ring looks great, with different logos for each boxing arena, but thats the only difference between the arenas, all of the buildings for them look exactly the same, you only get a different outside model for them on the arena select screen, and different in ring logos. A minor setback. To be on the nitpick side, I really wish their was bodyguards, and what not accompanying the boxers to the ring to add to the presentation, also the instant replays after rounds do look kind of weak, they just show one viewpoint of boxing before a blow, or just some plain old brawling, I wish they couldve had a rotating camera (which adds dynamic effects in games like Segas 2K series). But overall, the graphics are well done.
From the second I turned on this game, I hated the sound. You get a rap soundtrack from the rap artist, O, and man is he annoying as ever. Now even though he worked hard into making an original soundtrack for the game, I hate most of his tracks, and it distracts from the boxing experience. Some of the entrance tunes sound alright, like Alis, but Evander Holyfields is just annoying as Hell (I cant get those annoying opening lyrics, put your hands up out of my head). And to make matters even worse, the commentating is really dull in this game. Al Albert and Sean O Grady do the honors of making us mute our tvs. Most of their comments happen a few seconds after the match happens, and they only throw in a few comments on occasion, and dont do consistent accurate commentating. The only plus sides in the audio department is that, the in ring introductions are nice, and Judge Mills Lane sounds great no matter how many times he says, Lets get it on! Oh and I guess the sound effects are ok too with all the punches, ducks, etc. sounding appropriate. But sound is the worst part of this game.
The games controls are a bit confusing at first. You use the X, Circle, Triangle, and Square buttons to throw high and low body/head blows, and the shoulder buttons and a direction simultaneously to duck or block. To do a certain combo of punches, you press 2 buttons in a sequence, which is usually a button followed by a shoulder button. These combos can easily be countered by simply throwing a high punch at the right moment. The worst part of the controls is maneuvering around the ring, I mean half the time Im holding up on the control pad, and my character will move to the right, using the analog pad doesnt even help a bit either, compared to Ready 2 Rumble, the maneuvering is like hell. Each round is 3:00 minutes long and at most 10 rounds by default, but of course, you can customize both of them. If you notice at the top of the screen during game play, theres 2 bars, the thicker, wider, bar is your life meter which slowly wares down as you absorb more punches, the second, thinner, green bar is your power meter, which drains down as you throw more punches, whenever you connect a throw with a nice amount of energy in your power bar, it does more damage then usual. You go through up to ten rounds, and if you get KOd you gotta repeatedly tap the X button to get up, the more times you get KOd the harder and faster you gotta tap the X button to get up. If youre KOd 3 times in a round its considered a Technical KOd you automatically lose. If you guys dont score a KO or TKO win within 10 rounds, the winner is the person with the most points by the end of the game.
The game has a nice selection of boxers in the three separate weight classes (light, middle, and heavyweight), all have ratings in several different categories like Power, Heart, Stamina, etc. The game has many greats like Butterbean, Evander Holyfield, and Oscar De La Hoya, to name a few, heck the game even brings back the legend himself, Muhammad Ali in the game, who has a 100 in all, but one category. You got exhibition mode where you must fight boxers in your weight class to have a fair fight. You can also create your own boxer, and customize him to your liking, and if you want take him through the career mode, where after every fight, you get to go to your own personal gym you selected around the world(each one has different weight equipment) and train, and after training you get to distribute some attribute points on stats like Chin, Speed, and Heart.
You got lots of modes to keep you company here, career mode for the single player experience, and exhibition so you can go at it against your friend. Plus creating your own boxer gives lots of depth to the game as well. The game does make use of the analog rumble feature, and the controller sure does let you know when you get KOd. But you wont wanna play this game for hours on end every day, in this heavy simulation based game, after playing one, 8-10 round game, youll be all tired out and wont even feel like playing for the rest of the day, thats how I felt any ways.
+: Improved Career Mode, Nice Create-a-Boxer, Great Roster of Boxers
-: The soundtrack stinks, weird angle of instant replays, hard to move around the ring
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 7.2
Replay Value: 6.4
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 6
A decent boxing game, really fun to play against your friend, even though it does have a few noticeable flaws, like it being hard to move around the ring, and that really, really, horrible rap soundtrack, the game is a fairly solid boxing game, with Create-a-Boxer, and Career mode giving you a run for your money, but I recommend waiting until next years much polished up version, or getting the simpler, easier to understand, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. But if youre a big fan of real boxing, and simply cant wait until next years game, I guess this is worth the $20.