14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic use of a film license (for once),
This review is from: Rocky (Xbox) (Video Game)Boxing games have a more than checkered past on games machines. Even the ones reviewers have tried to convince you are brilliant in the past have generally, at best, been poor relations of flashier pyrotechnic beat-em-ups like Soul Calibur. Rocky finally exposes why - other boxing games have attempted to mimic the beat-em-up genre when what they should have been doing is trying to mimic the sport.
When you first start playing, the lack of moves and dramatic combos leaves the early (easy) fights feeling alarmingly empty - but by the time you've fought your way through to the first championship fight with Apollo Creed, you'll have picked up the excellent control system and you'll have realised that the game is as much about movement and defence as it is about hitting your opponent. The ingenious stamina and punch strength meters add a tactical element to the fight, and also make it possible to pull off phenomenal movie style fight backs even when you appear down and out. Couple that with decent graphics - including excellent deforming boxer's faces and the best crowds ever seen in a sports game - and decent sounds that make it feel like your punches are really connecting, and the game would be more than good enough to make it on it's own merits.
Add in, then, the movie license - including animated copies of movie scenes, samples of boxer's voices, characters from the films, the Rocky theme, different Rockys for each of the films as playable characters - and a training mode with (albeit simple and at times frustrating) mini-games and this is definitely a) the best boxing game I've played and b) the best game released on the X-Box since MotoGP. It's also the best use of a movie license since Goldeneye - just like that game, the license adds to the quality of the package rather than just being an excuse for it.
You'll find yourself punching the air with delight when one of your killer punches floors an opponent, and singing the Rocky theme at your mates when you've left them on the canvas, and what more could you want than that? Excellent stuff.