In Your Face KNOCKOUTS
Fight As or Against Great Champions
Slugfest MOde: Toe-to-Toe Boxing
Career Mode: Fight Through the Ranks
Create Custome Boxers
Play-by-Play Announcers
Legendary Refree Mills Lane
Hard-hitting One or Two-Player Action
$39.99 New Order Online 1-800-942-0426


"I felt like I was in the Ring"  Amy Maxey
Realistic Polygon Models
Huge Knockouts
Real Motion Captured Moves
38 Authentic Boxers
Game Features
Dream Matchups


REVIEW

                              Electronic Arts licensed a whopping 38 pro
                              boxers for Knockout Kings, but the company
                              obviously didn't leave much of a budget for
                              the game's development.

                              The problems begin with the boxers
                              themselves; all of them are very wooden and
                              lack real expression. This may be traced back
                              to developer Press Start, who's previous
                              works were NASCAR and Andretti for the
                              Saturn. Worse than the boxers are the
                              hideous round card girls, who border on
                              mutant. These freaks of polygonal nature
                              should have been cut from the game.

                              While the motion capture animation makes for
                              some great knockdowns, the standard
                              punching moves and general controls have
                              been poorly integrated. Both lack grace, snap,
                              and fluidity, and even general movement in the ring is awkward and
                              unresponsive. But these are just symptoms of the game's deepest sickness:
                              you never really feel empowered as a boxer because the collision animations
                              are so ineffective, and hitting an opponent just isn't rewarding. Knockout
                              Kings sorely misses the excitement of the sport, and in turn, fails to make it
                              fun.

                              Of the three modes of play, the arcade-style "Slugfest Mode" and full length
                              "Exhibition Mode" differ little. The third mode, a lackluster Career Mode, lets
                              you create a boxer, and bring him up through the ranks. Our middleweight
                              climbed all twenty seats to take the championship before losing in his second
                              defense against Hagler (read: easy). His career featured no knockouts, and he
                              was only knocked down twice (read: uneventful).

                              Fortunately, the input from top talent such as pro referee Mills Lane,
                              commentators Al Albert and Sean O'Grady, and ring announcer Jimmy
                              Lennon Jr, keep the game afloat. Famous ring backgrounds such as Madison
                              Square Garden and the Great Western Forum also lend to the authenticity.

                              Ultimately, the game tries very hard to capture the feel of the sport, and it is
                              noteworthy that it is the first to present multiple weight-classes. It's fitting
                              that the only boxer other than Tyson that EA didn't license for Knockout
                              Kings was Marlon Brando's character from the film On The Waterfront. Like
                              Brando's character, this game "could've been a contender." Instead, this
                              rushed, sloppy excuse for a franchise launch not only leaves us with a game
                              grasping to be mediocre, but also leaves us with no alternatives. Due to EA's
                              monopoly on fighters, other publishers have backed away from boxing
                              projects.

                              EA is planning to bring development internally next year, and hopefully the
                              N64 version underway at Black Ops will redeem this poor outing.