Ready 2 Rumble:
System: Playstation 2
Publisher & Developer: Midway
Capabilities: Memory Card & Dual Shock Analog Compatible
This is the sequel to last years hit, Ready 2 Rumble, which featured oversized, and over muscled, boxers, with the weirdest gimmicks, going at it. Well, now the crew is back again, with many new boxers also. Last years game first came out for the Dreamcast, on its launch, now this years version if first coming out for Playstation 2, and for its launch also. Will this game be just as better as last years? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Let me tell you something, these visuals are really impressive for a first generation PS2 title. My jaw was dropped so far down, by how real looking, these really fake boxers looked! You can make out all the tiniest of details on the boxers, like ones own pimples all over their body. You can also even see animated eyes, and I mean good animated eyes, nothing like the ones found in Madden for PS2! All the boxers seem to move at a nice, and realistic rate, for example, the huge, fat, boxers would move pretty slow around the ring, while the light weights would run around it in a breeze. There are several camera angles you can choose from, all pretty much give a great view of the action. The boxer introductions, although much shorter than the realistic ones in Knockout Kings 2000, are nicely done, and with Michael Buffer actually doing the introductions, for each and every one of the boxers, makes it even better. There really is nothing to complain about the visuals, heck, I dont even notice any jagged graphics, this is pretty much the only PS2 game I saw without a single flaw in graphics.
Well, you got the same, great, background music from last years which occurs when you are browsing the menus where people keep on saying, Lets get ready to rumble.., to a really nice beat, which you think may get repetitive, but it doesnt because it is pretty faded out, and you barely spend much time tinkering with the menus, because you hop into the games so fast. Each boxer has a set of their own little rants, one which they do before, and if they win, after the match, and plus a couple more you do from doing a pose during the game. Plus with Michael Buffer doing all the introductions, this game will drive you into boxing heaven.
Controls are pretty easy for the game, the main shape buttons on your PS2 controllers operates as your weak and strong jabs and punches, and are always pressure sensitive. Your shoulder buttons act as your dodge/block buttons, and by pressing R1 + R2 simultaneously, you can operate the Rumble feature, which is whenever you deliver an effective blow, you get a letter or two spelling out Rumble on the bottom of the screen when Rumble is activated your boxer can deliver really effective punches for a limited amount of time. Also, one new feature of the game is borrowing a page out of THQs N64 wrestling games, you can also build up the Rumble meter by posing. Another new feature is that you can work spelling Rumble over 3 times, if you activate Rumble on the 2nd and 3rd time, your boxer will be really powerful, but its really hard to get Rumble spelled out the 3rd time, heck, I also had troubles spelling it out the second time too, because by the time you do so, the round is either over (your spellings for Rumble are all deleted at the end of every round), or your opponent is already knocked out from the beating you gave him. Also, by default, the match is over when you knockout your opponent 3 times in total, but you can adjust that in the games options.
For game modes, we got exhibition, which is a basic match against the computer or a human opponent. Then we got Arcade which is a ten fight road to the world title, where you unlock boxers also. Our final mode is championship, which is a much more in depth mode than Arcade, where you train in between matches to build up your stats, and fight many more matches, before claiming the throne of world champion. My only complaint with going against the computer, is that they get too hard mid way through the championship, even on the easiest difficulty setting. One other minor complaint I have is that matches seem to go too fast with default rules, like I found most of my matches lasting only 40 seconds to 2 minutes.
Well, the game is two player, so you can bring over your friend and you can go at it for a few rounds, I usually do this after playing a few extremely long matches of Knockout Kings which is a nice break from those heavy-sim based boxing games. Also the games championship mode is worth checking out, and can benefit a few hours of play from one player. But the Arcade mode only took me about 40 minutes to beat. The game has lots of new boxers, and we got female boxers making a debut in the 2nd Ready 2 Rumble game. The hidden boxers are really funny, and will be worth unlocking, Ill tell you them, because you already see them in the games opening FMV and instruction manual. They are, Bill & Hillary Clinton (making there first appearances since NBA Jam: Tournament Edition in 1995). Also surprisingly popping up in this game is pop star, Michael Jackson, who hasnt been seen in video games after his Genesis, Moonwalker game. Another surprise appearance is by Shaquile O Neal, which makes his first non-basketball video game roll since the crappy game of Shaq Fu in 1994 on the SNES & Genesis. And another weird hidden character is Michael Buffer himself, but in an over muscled form as Rumble Man. There are a few others too which the game doesnt mention so Ill let you find those ones by yourself. So lots of replay value for this game.
+: The best PS2 graphics Ive seen so far, great soundtrack, lots of interesting boxers to unlock
-: Matches seem to go too fast, computer is really hard on the easiest settings
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 8.7
Replay Value: 9.2
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
This is much better than last years game. All the games new features, and jaw dropping visuals, will make you eat this game up fast. Pass up EAs Knockout Kings 2000, because even though this game is technically an Arcade Boxing game, it has a simulation type feel to it, due to the variety of moves you can do in the game. Great launch game, cant wait for Round 3.