WHILE the game loaded I read through the manual, which has an introduction so pseudo-
It explains the story and rules of boxing - the game is endorsed by the WBA, incidentally - going into detail to such an extent that it reminds you that referees must keep their fingernails cut short for safety. It also explains the nine fouls, although none of them can be reproduced within the game.
Once loaded you are presented with a menu from which you can select one or two players, Taining, Highscore Table, Show Wolrd (sic) Ranking, Create a data disc, Reset the World Ranking (spelled correctly this time), Sparring and Start Game.
You enter into a bout of sparring to practice the moves. The joystick is used in a similar way to other combat games. The boxer can move left or right, defend his head, stomach and chest, plus he can dance. This involves jumping up and down on the spot, rather than doing the Paso Doble.
With Fire depressed you can produce hooks, straight punches, stomach punches and the ominous-
Best of all is the clinch, which results in both boxers grabbing each other in a passionate embrace which almost certainly falls on the wrong side of Clause 28.
You score for each successful punch, although you're never really sure what your score is because the score baord is so difficult to read.
Each player has a morale and condition factor which decrease as each successful punch rings home. IF they reach zero the boxer falls to the ground and is out for the count.
Although I managed to knock my opponent down 17 times in the first round - why didn't the ref stop the fight? - I lost because the opponent wore me down with a succession of puny little punchettes.
Following a knockout you are treated to a nicely executed TV-style action replay, complete with "motion blur" effect as the boxer crashes to the canvas.
The action replay isn't the only good thing in The Champ. The referee darts about authentically getting in the way - unfortunately you can't punch him - and when a boxer is pushed up against the ropes, the ropes wobble nicely.
The sound effects are quite good. The referee says lots of referee-type things like "One, Two, Three, Four..." and as punches connect they sound just as artificial as they do in the movies.
Obvious effects like the end-of-
As well as the boxing matches themselves, you can take a trip down to the gym for some training. This involves skipping and having a go at the punch bag.
All in all, what could have been a perfectly good boxing simulation has turned out as something positively mediocre.
The moves all work in the way described in the manual, but boxing is a sport of lightning fast reactions, putting together a series of orchestrated punches - Bill Conti said that, not I - and the game's response time to my energetic joystick wiggles was frankly not fast enough to give an real impression of a boxing match.
You feel the game is waiting to catch up with you all the time.