So you wanna be a boxer? Well now Storm offer you the chance to be a contender. Start at the bottom of the world rankings, take on all corners and take a shot at the championship. The only element of the fighter's story missing is the appearance as the dame in a low-
But that's just the fate of no-hopers. You, my budding hero, have a whole glistening career in front of you. There's no-one going to catch you in an oversize pinafore, false eyelashes and a pair of comedy breasts - you can do aftershave adverts instead.
There are two modes of play; knockout and league. Knockout merely pits you against a random selection of opponents - just keep on pummeling different fighters until sooner or later you get pummeled yourself. There's a certain amount of challenge to be found in seeing how many fights you can go without a loss, but basically this just prepares you for the real championship - the nie-week league.
There are ten fighters of differing shapes and sizes (actually that's a lie - they're all built like tower-
Earn three points for a victory, one point for a draw and leave empty handed if you end up as canvas fodder. The league table is updated each week and your stats are displayed for all to see. As time progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that some of the guys out there are better than others. Some weeks you take on nancies, some weeks you take on wimps - yes, they're all ridiculously easy to beat, but more of that later.
Either way, the bout unfolds the same way each fight. Click your joystick to tell Cecil (well, what do you call your Amiga?) that you've had enough of the statistics sheet thank you very much, and that yes - you're simply itching to get on with it. A whirr-
Graphics are big and the sound effects are particularly gruesome - but that's your lot.
Now the fun starts. There are two methods of fighting, and a survey of various people around the office came to the unanimous conclusion that one of these methods is distinctly more likely to prove successful than the other. But in true fight-
In the red corner, Method One...
"Thank you, and good evening, fight-fans. Straight into the ring we have the 'Diligently learning and implementing all the moves, keeping your guard up when necessary and a lot of fancy footwork' method. With all of the five different punches mastered: the upper cut, the swing punch; low and high long punches and a lean-back jab at his disposal, this boy (who has become as 'Technical Excellence) has got to be the hot favourite.
He can raise his guard or lower it, he can duck and even jump - as well as shuffling backwards and forwards as professionally as I've ever seen it done. He can read his opponent's moves and react to them. When this opponent aims high, his guard can cover it. When his opponent slips up, then Technical Excellence has the weaponry to get in there and really hit him hard. Surely he can't fail."
In the blue corner, Method Two!
"Well, Technical Excellence would seem to have this match sewn up before his opponent's even entered the ring. But here his opponent comes - unconcerned and looking decidedly confident - and what a strange looking chap he is! He's going under the name of the 'Putting your joystick on auto-fire and making a cup of tea or reading a book of something' method. Quite remarkable."
And the winner?
OK, so no prizes for guessing the winner of this bout. Yes, your good old faithful auto-fire button will safely see you through all nine fights to collecting the World Championship crown. Yes, we're serious - but are Storm? How can such a simple game (there are no skill factors, training sessions, management decisions, choices of opponent or player development) afford to be so remarkably easy?
The answer is, it can't. Final Blow is fundamentally flawed from the outset. Any game that can be finished on the first attempt in such a ridiculous fashion (the cup of tea bit wasn't a joke) doesn't deserve to be put within 100 miles of your Amiga. OK, so you could try the "Technical Excellence" approach. But the animation is so haphazard and jerky any attempt to fight a skillful bout inevitably ends in failure, and soon degenerates back to a pummeling-
This also scuppers what could have been the game's one saving grace - the two-player option. With so little skill involved and certain victory just an incy-
Final Blow seems doomed as a project. A while ago it was released for the Sega Mega Drive. It's only claim-to-fame then was as perhaps the worst-timed licensed product ever. The name James 'Buster' Douglas Boxing (presumably a licence signed after he somehow managed to beat Mike Tyson) was a whacking 200lb albatross by the time the game actually reached the shops. The Amiga version repairs none of this damage.
The graphics are big and colourful and the sound effects are particularly gruesome - but that's your lot. Jerky (hence reading your opponent's moves becomes impossible) animation, zero depth and flawed gameplay. It could have been a contender, but is stopped in the first round by a technical knockout. Anyone fancy some aftershave?