Knockout Kings 2001
Review of Knockout Kings 2001
Even though Knockout Kings 2001 is a brand spanking new arrival to the PS2 scene, this is EAs 3rd gen boxing game. Expecting nothing more than a PSOne port of KOK2001 from the PSOne with enhanced graphics I wasnt expecting too much from this game to be honest.
Starting up the game, I was pleased with the menu structure that Black Ops developed. Everything is pretty much straightforward, with gamers able to jump into any of the fight modes or configuration options with ease. KOK 2001 offers up a Slugfest mode, Career mode and a Fantasy Fights mode. You can also get a nice little bio of all the boxers available in the game. I just wish EA would learn to get rid of their god-awful load times in between screens.
Naturally, the Career mode is where the meat of this title is centered around. It is here that gamers will be able to create a boxer and begin the long hard road to the championship belt. There are a lot of configuration options that can be accessed here from designing the boxers look to tweaking a good number of attributes in which you allocate a set number of points until you run out. Additional points can be obtained from training sessions and occasionally from winning bouts. You also select the gym you want to train in and the trainer. Depending on which style is selected, players can focus in on the mode of training provided at each gym. Personally I decided to go with a slugger and placed most of my points into power, speed and heart.
The newly created boxer begins his long journey at the bottom of the barrel, fighting in a little arena in Texas. As the game progresses your opponents obviously get tougher, and armchair boxers will begin to fight in bigger venues and attract a larger audience.
The sheer number of moves at ones disposal is almost intimidating at first. There is a plethora of offensive moves, both legal and illegal, clutching and pushing moves and defensive, blocking tactics that can all be employed. Combos can be stringed together to devastating effect if you are quick enough to pull them off. Thankfully the response from button press to onscreen execution is almost instantaneous and much better implemented when compared to the PSOne version. My favorite combo was a kidney punch, following by a low blow and then topped with a head butt. If done quickly enough, I often got away with just a warning…which was well worth it because my opponent was only second away from going down like a sack of potatoes at that point (Hehehe). Yeah, I know its dirty fighting but at least I wasnt biting off anyones ear or anything.
Speaking of ear biting, Iron Mike is noticeably absent from the forty available fighters in the game. Also missing was Foreman, Norton and Hitman Hearns. New to the game though are four of the toughest female boxers you are likely to come across. This was a nice addition but unfortunately their access was extremely limited to the Slugfest mode. In this mode it is pretty much a free for all with no rules to bog you down. It actually reminded me a little of the Ultimate Fighting Championship game. Just get in there and pound your opponent mercilessly…my little combos worked wonders here!
The Fantasy Fight mode pits legendary (and current) boxers in matches that have been speculated over at one time or another. The famous what if Ali vs. Marciano match-up for instance. All of the fantasy match-ups in this mode are pre-determined so if there isnt one that you want, youll have to go over to the Slugfest mode and make up one with the available fighters.
Of course everyone expected KOK2001 to LOOK better on the PS2 and gamers wont be disappointed here. The character models for each boxer are extremely well done with facial textures (although the mouths do not move) and bodies matching their real life counterparts to a T…right down to the chest hairs (if you like that sort of thing) and tattoos. The skin texturing is also well done, exceeding to some extent the models in Ready 2 Rumble 2. The overall animations are really nice as well with lots of little extras thrown in like in between round views of the boxers and their ring assistants, the ring girl and the announcer and ref. Everything flows really well until you get to the transitional animations like a knockout for instance. Here things got a little choppy and unrealistic looking with the fighters pausing for a brief moment and then collapsing in a somewhat unrealistic manner. I also noticed a bit of clipping here and there during clinches. Nothing here to get overly concerned with though…in the big picture view the game looks truly marvelous. Heck, you can even see the sweat getting knocked off a boxers face when he is clocked…blood flows in nice generous portions, and the fighters get visible bruises, cuts, etc.
Sound wise, the game scores highs marks with tremendous announcer coverage of the fight, a nice list of tunes that you can select and play, and fantastically atmospheric crowd noises that really pull you into each match.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Knockout Kings 2001' 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.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
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