Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing
The Playstation 2 already has it's fair share of boxing games. Knockout Kings and Victorious Boxers are both decent games and worth a place in any gamers collection. However when you hear that Codemasters, usually known for their excellent titles, and Mike Tyson have collaborated on a boxing title you do tend to have a lot of optimism for the game. Unfortunately though the harsh reality soon hits you after spending a little time with the title that it just isn't going to live up to expectations.
Featuring sixteen Pro Heavyweight boxers including Tyson, Harrison, Rahman, Williams and Holmes the game certainly look promising. The single player side of the game is comprised of an Exhibition Mode, Speed Boxing and Belt Mode. Exhibition is a one off fight. Speed Boxing is where you can upgrade your custom boxer. You pick an opponent and fight them in a single round. At the beginning of the round there are a certain amount of boxer upgrades, that will improve your custom boxer, as the fight progresses the upgrades will disappear. The idea is to dispatch your opponent as quickly as possible so that your custom boxer can earn as many upgrades as possible. The more opponents you face the more upgrades you have a chance of earning. Belt Mode is the main focus of the single player game. Beginning with the Bronze Belt and progressing onto the Silver and Gold Belts before taking on the Pros on the path to becoming World Champion. Multiplayer mode consists of a straight VS affair where you set the parameters.
One of the games highlights is the versatility with which you can create your own custom boxer. You can alter anything from the length of the boxer's arms to the width of his neck, all of which has an impact on how the boxer performs. As your boxer wins fights he will win purse money and with this you'll be able to improve his skills. As we mentioned earlier competing in the Speed Boxing mode will enable him to pick up further upgrades. As you defeat other boxers you will learn their signature moves and also pick up useful combos that will serve you well in later fights.
So far the game sounds great but despite the game's depth it all goes horribly wrong once you step into the ring. The fights seems to zip along at three times the natural pace and the control system requires at least three hands to be effective. In a nutshell what should have been a classic fighting experience collapses into a 100 mph button mashathon. Forget strategy because it just goes out of the window in your frantic attempts to stay on your feet and should you fail to stay on your feet you will find another ugly gameplay element. The developers obviously like their button mashing as when you are knocked over, assuming you have any power left, (if you are knocked over and have no power left it's game over) you get to take part in the Get-up Game as it is known. You have a meter and you have to fill it, before the end of the count, in order to get up. The meter is filled by feverishly mashing the appropriate button. Surely this could have been handled much better.
Graphically the game looks good and the crowd graphics are quite detailed. The way the boxers are animated though gives the impression that the developers clearly wanted the game to have an arcade look to it rather than a simulation look. Unfortunately with all the button mashing and thumb pains that you are going to experience, you'll have little time to appreciate the look of the game.
There is no fight commentary in the true sense but what isn't subtitled is the announcer and analysis comments. This isn't really a problem though. You'll thumbs will be aching far too much to notice.
Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing is probably the first Codemasters title that I have seen that simply isn't worth it. For a publisher that has constantly amazed and excited gamers since their £1.99 games on the ancient Sinclair Spectrum 48k this game will be looked upon as the anomaly in their fantastic catalogue of games.
Overall Game Rating: 4.5/10 Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing is a missed opportunity. The constant, thumb destroying, arthritis inducing button mashing and frantic speed of the fights ruins the depth and options that have been included in the game.
Deaf Gamers comment: Missing announcer and analysis comments are a shame.