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First impressions aren\'t too hot. After stuttering through the intro you are forced to crawl through a series of loading screens before eventually reaching ringside. From the corner of the stadium your chosen fighter begins his short walk to the ring seemingly surrounded by shuffling rectangular blocks. At first I though the great God of Ra was descending to pour scorn over my involvement in this barbaric \'sport\', but I soon realized that these were supposed to represent strobe lighting effects. Non-too convincing. All around the slightly swaying crowd roars on in anticipation and after a brief Ladies and gentlemen… from the announcer it\'s more loading times before finally reaching rumble time.
The boxers have been extremely well rendered with highly detailed body textures offering our first impression of realism, especially the game\'s title character, Prince Naseem. Even the semi-naked ring girls have been meticulously sculptured to appear lifelike. If the fighters do become cut and bruised during a bout I can\'t say that I noticed, although a shower of blood droplets is the subtle reward for each connecting punch.
Now for the multi-million dollar question… why do game developers always programmed boxers to move around the ring as if they had lead in their shoes? Surely boxers must be the most agile and nimble of all athletes? At least those with a head still on their shoulders! Thankfully Codemasters have addressed this criminal act and left us only with a misdemeanour. Yeah, contestants move much swifter than past boxing games, but they still don\'t exactly float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. And because it is too much of a chore to pull your boxer back from an oncoming barrage each bout usually leads to both fighters going around and \'round in circles, thrashing wild punches in hope. To encourage defensive play a power meter is gradually filled by successfully dodging punches. Once filled the glove begins flashing and you have 10 seconds to chase down an opponent and activate the special punch.
As a multi-player game I found the Vs and Showcase modes not much fun to play. It seemed that unless there was a knockdown almost every round was drawn. The single player World mode was much preferred as it lets you guide a new pro through his entire career. There are many sub-goals to achieve on the rocky road up such as youngest champ, oldest champ, most wins, highest earnings etc. but the ultimate aim is to become World Champion. Choose from 8 boxers and decide if you want to control the fighter or simply manage his rise to stardom. You must set the detailed training regime covering everything from food intake to rest periods and then decide on your next opponent. Once a fight begins you are on your own. A win will see you rise up the ranking and increase the size of the purse, while a loss has the reverse effect. If this all becomes a little too complicated then Naz can be asked (politely) to set up your training schedule and the computer can decide on the outcome of each fight.
· Up to 8 players for multi-player competitions.
· 2 player instant action or 3-8 players in Party Mode with a \'winner stays on\' scoreboard.
· Practice, Showcase, World and Vs game modes.
· World mode allows you to choose between fighter or manager.
· Special Punches: each boxer has two special punches
· Automatic blocking allowing a quick and skillfull players to beat the block
· Stun your opponent by hitting the \'sweetspot\'
· Fight as the undisputed WBO Featherweight Champion of the World, Prince Naseem Hamed
3 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 8 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 'Prince Naseem Boxing' 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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