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Contender 2 is the sequel to last years surprise hit boxing game that allows you to train up a fighter and take him from rags-to-riches.
With so many recent titles maxing out the graphics on our 32-bit console I must admit to being slightly disappointed with the visuals in this update. Comparing the slick movement, smooth textures and general handling of the 3D fighting characters in. say. Shao Lin. would be unfair. A better comparison would possibly be against another 'ring' game. But even then, putting it up against Knockout Kings 2000 or Ready 2 Rumble would still prove to be a bit of a non-contest. Don't get me wrong. the graphics aren't poor. just nothing we haven't already seen before.
Similar to the first two games, some of the visual effects are well presented as your chosen boxer grows in stature while his career moves forward. Watch as his body structure increases, his muscles expand, he even seems to grow taller. Should your boxer take a beating then his body gradually becomes battered and bruised. Red burn marks are spotted around his body, cut's and bruises appear on his face, while a couple of black-eyes are usually the only reward for a challenging nights work.
The music is filtered into the background, while the sound effects add to the overall atmosphere. "Ladies and Gentlemen. In the red corner..." screams the announcer as he introduces the fighters. "Round One... Ding, Ding!" The crowd roars on every attack, reaching fever pitch when an opponent is flattened. Every bone-crunching blow is exaggerated to the umpteenth degree with the more powerful special shots cracking like home like the sound of thunder. All through the fight you can hear constant advice from your corner such as "stay center of the ring", "back off!" or "take him out!"
With four gameplay modes (two locked during the early stages), the Main Event is the main highlight of the game. Here you get the opportunity to take a budding youngster and groom him into the Champion of the World. There are nine 'ready made' boxers initially up for grabs with the option to create your own specimen. Height, weight and style vary, while guts, stamina, life, power and speed are all qualities that are gained through experience. You are allowed a certain amount of freedom when choosing your next opponent so try to pick on someone who is on their way down the ladder rather than an upcoming new talent who is out to impress.
Those gamers who want to instantly perform multi-combo attacks and regard 'defense' as a swear word will hate Contender 2. The gameplay suffers from the same old 'problems' as the previous game, where starting out at the bottom of the career ladder and gradually working your way to the top, is a slow and laborious challenge. In the early stages your fighter will regularly get trapped on the ropes, constantly have his punches blocked and usually suffer 'a good old fashioned ass-whipping'. but stick with it as experience gradually improves your boxers overall performance.
· 40 Boxers each with their own personal styles and techniques
· Training conditions and Boxer fitness management
· On-screen ECG heart monitor player warning
· Simulation or Arcade fight style option
· All new Team Elite mode
· Custom Boxer mode to create your own look
· Tournament Mode
· Jabs, hooks, ducks, weaves, parrs, combos
· 15 stadiums and rings
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 2
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: No
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes