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So what exactly does K-1 involve? The letter ‘K’ is taken from each of the following forms of combat; Kick Boxing, Karate, Kung-Fu and Tae-Kwon Do. K-1 is simply the number one competition for these full-contact sports, which has been held annually since 1993. Letting the game roll into the live demo movie highlights just what a barbaric and vicious event K-1 can be as punches, elbows, spin kicks and the occasional knee to the groin are all within the rules.
Before diving straight into a competition I thought I’d mess around with the Practice and Challenge ‘Create a fighter’ modes. It’s worth taking a few of the 16 real name martial arts experts into the practice ring before customizing your own character because there are three distinct styles to choose from, karate, boxing and kickboxing. Once decided it’s time to name, nationalize, and model your fighter’s appearance (sadly only half a dozen variations or so to choose from).
Now select a gym and a team of experts to help get your designer man into shape. It’s during these training sessions that the game allows you to take on a managerial role choosing up to 20 individual training methods. Be aware that individual parts of the body can be targeted and weakened so try to strengthen the body evenly. I found this Challenge mode to be quite in-depth as your fighter can be rigorously trained, sparred and take part in matches for a full 8 years. At any time he can also be used in other single or two player game modes except the Grand Prix competition.
Controlling the fighters is relatively simple. Two face buttons activate a kicking motion and the other two throw a punch. Combining these actions with the directional pad produce a wide range of combos. The idea is to crush your opponent by using concentrated attacks as each body part has its own stamina. Should a limb become injured then targeting it should cause greater damage and allow time for more combo attacks. K-1 Grand Prix doesn’t quite match up to Knockout Kings 2001 when it comes down to speed. I din’t want the fighters to move around like Tekken characters, but I found these to be a little too sluggish for my liking.
Graphically, this may not the best beat-em-up around, but I’ve seen far worse. K-1 bares remarkable similarities to the Victory Boxing (Challenger) series, featuring fighters with fairly smooth skin texturing, although joints are noticeably visible. Rather than go all out for realism they take on a slight cartoony appearance making the game semi-realistic.
The sound effects are brilliant with the crowd seemingly reacting to the pace and flow of the fight, while every blow is accompanied by a truly bone crunching noise. On the down side the ring announcer sounds as if he is doing the voiceovers for a Masters of the Universe type cartoon.
K-1 is the exciting full martial arts competition from Japan
· Training: Practice mode
· Ring Side: Watch a bout
· K-1 Challenge: Simulate the training of your fighters
· K-1 Kings: Single player exhibition
· K-1 Hercules: Two player exhibition
· K-1 Grand Prix: Knockout tournament
· Injure an opponent and then go for his weak spot
· Create a character
· 12 titles to compete and win
· 16 fighters, each with dozens of exclusive moves and combos
· 1-16 player tournament mode
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'K1 Grand Prix' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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