17 April 2015


Publisher/Developer:  Sega
Format: Cartridge
Game Size: 256K
Rarity:  3 (UK), 8 (US as Buster Douglas), 4 (Brazil as George Foreman)
Game Type: Athletic License/Side view Boxing game.
Region: USA
Other Ways to Play:  None known.
Power Base Convertor Playable?: Yes, 6 button controller compatible.

Price I Paid: 15 Dollars from the UK.
Price I Would Pay: 5 Dollars
Condition: Game, Case, Manual
Game Rating: OK
My History:  Bought for the collection.

  In the early 90s, the nearly unstoppable Mike Tyson was brought down.  First by Buster Douglas and then by Don King who basically both formed and destroyed a legend, effectively aiding and abetting behaviors that would turn the man into a convicted criminal.

  But Tyson had an amazing videogame on the NES, a sequel/remake to the arcade Punch Out titles.  Sega was HUNGRY.  They saw a man beat Tyson, and then quickly signed him up for a couple video games for his five minutes of fame.  There was a Genesis title, and one for the Master System, a machine that was basically a non entity in the US/Canada by this time, but was big in Europe and Brazil, regions Nintendo basically cared little for in their usual arrogant ways.  (They barely cared about North America.  And much like Games Workshop they continue to think they basically own the industry they (re)created and that their word is law, consumer or merchant demands be damned.  Except unlike GW, Nintendo at least releases good products from time to time as opposed to ever increasing prices and ever decreasing quality.  Though both still trade on nostalgia to basically keep themselves going.)

  So the US got a tiny release of Heavyweight Champ with Buster Douglas' likeness in it, and Brazil got a version with George Foreman. (No grill included.)  Yet in Europe the game was quite common and had no name boxer behind it.  Which is why my version cost 15 shipped and complete while loose US Buster Douglas cartridges have been laughably listed for over 175 dollars or more.

  Anyone paying three digits for any videogame no matter how good or rare is in fact a moron and I hate you for making it worse for all of us.  Please seek therapy and bring any Gamergaters you can find with you.  Get a check up from the neck up as it were....

  Ahem.  The game yes.  Guess what?  Its a LOT like Rocky.  But guess what?  It doesn't suck!  Its kind of the same game without the cruddy mini games, a bit lower quality graphics, but a lot more playability and FIVE WHOLE OPPONENTS this time.  And instead of mostly punching them out, you actually play a man of African descent!  It might be the first time your only playable main character isn't a white or Japanese dude in a console game.  (Computer not so much as Aztec Challenge had you playing as a South/Central American native IIRC.  But who pays attention to computer games right?  Roo on Videogame Years called the floppy disk drive for the Famicom the GAMING INNOVATION and thus disk drives simply didn't matter until then right?  Computers are for NERDS MAN.)

 As usual, first set of shots are from Kega Fusion emulator.

 Getting some pep talk and advice in between rounds.

 Its nice to see each fighter being visually distinct.

 The end opponent in a boxing game being a white dude?  This isn't the 1950s!  Also note I have used all my advancement points for Power, Recovery, and then just a tad for Footwork.  All you need to do is HIT DUDES HARDER IN THEIR FACES.

 I got a special punch off!  

 Should we somehow make it to 12 rounds my score isn't looking quite as good.

 Much like a good boxing movie both sides are beating the snot out of each other and going down but getting up again!

 And the champ is DOWN FOR THE COUNT!  Final second before the bell and he is done for!


Eh.  I will take it.

  Anyhow you have two types of main punches with some directional pressing making them slightly go for different directions and can also use the D Pad to sort of control your movement around the ring or to block which is mostly useless.  Holding both buttons down and waiting for the charge meter to go up makes your gloves flash and you have a chance to use a SPECIAL PUNCH which does a ton of damage and knocks the opponent back a hell of a distance.  Though if you miss you lose that punch so it is a risk.

  The game allows for a slower or faster moving game but I found little difference other than that in fast mode it was a bit more fun and peppy.  

  Interestingly, your life bars regenerate in between rounds and when either player is knocked down as they both get some life bar back depending on their stats.  However note that when you get knocked down you lose some extra life for that happening.  This can make the game swing in one way or the other if you get a come back going instead of a death spiral so to speak.  Figuring out what causes a boxer to fall down is still a mystery though.  Sometime after half your life bar is gone I suppose.
  Two shots of the game on a Genesis with Power Base through a composite monitor.

  You see after you win one of the first four of five matches you gain some points you can spend on your boxer.  Power, Recovery, Footwork, and Special Punch.  In my playthrough I went Power first, then Recovery, then finally a mere point in Footwork.  You get two or three points per match but I cannot figure out the rhyme or reason as to what earned me two instead of three.  I completed the game within the first 50 minutes or so of turning it on, so it didn't matter much and Power and Recovery are the most important ones.  Its a short game but thankfully a bit less short than Rocky was.  You can continue on a match you lost out on which is nice as well.

  It still has the usual boxing game issues where you really can't tell if it is time to dodge or block or to go for upper or lower punches.  You have a punch with reach and a crappier one with a lot less reach.  It ends up being button mashing because of the limited animation.

  It isn't bad but it isn't a LOT of game.  Compared to Rocky it is amazing but Rocky is one of the worst console games I have ever had the misfortune to play.  It is yet another SMS game that needed either more cartridge space, or more playtesting.  It feels unfinished.  It needs more opponents.  More rings.  A bit more depth in the boxer advancement.  Some more animation and strategy so it doesn't feel like I am mostly button mashing and holding the right or left direction down.

Master System Play:  Outside of the usual Master System Bleed it is fine on it.  Play on the Genesis with Power Base Converter whenever possible if you aren't emulating it.  The Power Stick isn't good for this game at all, and the 6 button Genesis pad is as always the ideal choice.  The Epyx and SMS Pad are perfectly fine if you don't have one.

Next three shots are from a Master System through a composite monitor.

Rating:  Its nothing special but not terrible either.  A bit too short but nothing outstandingly good or bad.  Only how short of a game it is and how basic it plays can be honest complaints.  It has a solid presentation and is clearly trying to be good.  But it isn't.  It is merely OK.  And that is because I got the cheapest version of the game.  If you get the Buster Douglas named version for what it goes for nowadays you are screwing yourself over in the name of collecting.  And are thus part of the problem really.

Next Time:  It is May!  Cinco de Mayo time!  So let's leave the US behind and go south of the border in the age before druglords took over and made a lot of good people suffer.  But after the time when a bunch of guys in wooden boats came over and made people suffer.  So join me in May for TEQUILA GUNDAM MONTH where hopefully I will not be racially insensitive like G Gundam was but where I will be playing Aztec Adventure and Montezuma's Revenge!  

03 April 2015


Publisher/Developer:  Sega
Format: Cartridge
Game Size: 256K
Rarity:  3
Game Type: Movie License/Side view Boxing game.
Region: USA
Other Ways to Play:  None that I know of.  Thankfully.
Power Base Convertor Playable?: Yes, 6 button controller compatible.

Price I Paid: 10 Dollars
Price I Would Pay: 2 Dollars
Condition: Game, Case, Manual
Game Rating: BAD
My History:  Bought for the collection.  MY BAD.

  Oh dearie me.  Yet another incredibly poor Master System game.  Not only is it incredibly short, it has iffy play control, limited actual control PERIOD, three dumb mini games, and a mere THREE OPPONENTS TO FIGHT.  Yes.  It is a Boxing game with only three opponents.  (Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago.  I guess getting to punch BA and He Man might have appeal to some however.)

  Rocky is... its a disaster.  Its 256k of game data and clearly 200 of it was spent on the graphics.  Three badly controlling fights in the same ring, three mini games that are 80% button mashing, 20% timing.  GAME DONE.  Seriously.  I watched a video on youtube completing it.  With ending it took 7 minutes and 50 seconds thereabouts including the opening screen animation.  \

  The game is yet another SMS title where they clearly either needed more ROM space, a good three more months of tweaking, and three or so months of  playtesting.  This game is a worse boxing game than Activision's Atari 2600 effort which at least controlled well.

  Ok let me try to explain.  Before each match you have to complete a mini game that is mostly about how rapidly you can press the fire button.  Depending on how well you do on these games you will do better in the boxing match.  They aren't fun.

  Then you get to fight one one three increasingly difficult boxers from the first four movies.  You can KIND OF move Rocky left and right, sort of block your head or stomach with one button and directional control, and punch forwards, downwards, or upwards with combo hits coming once you hit enough times or have done well enough in the mini games and the match itself.  If you get knocked down you can attempt to rapidly press buttons to get up.  When the timer runs out you get some life bar back and I presume the score can have a ten round victory by points.  Otherwise knock your opponent down three times in a round, get their life bar low enough that a knockdown keeps them down, or just smash your head against the nearest sharp corner you can find because the control SUCKS.

  There are no real "tells" to figure out what the opponent is doing.  The control isn't responsive and you take too many cheap hits for no apparent reason and the animation is so poor you can't even time blocks or counterattacks.  I have had more fun with LCD/VFD type boxing games than this pile of nongame.

  This is an ALPHA build.  It clearly reminds me of the infamous ET on the Atari 2600.  It was shoved out the door on the license and no damns were given about balance, play control, or anything else.
Shots from Kega Fusion emulator on deck!

 Got a knockdown somehow.

 Pointless training minigame!

 I pity the fool who bought this god awful game.

 The good is a lie.  This game is ASS.

 I am blocking but it might as well not matter.

I have connected with a normal combo or something I think.

The next three shots are from an actual Master System

 Look at all this gameplay content!  Three opponents and three mini games that suck!  

In the beginning Rocky fights in the same ring with white shorts.

And two Genesis shots.  For posterity or something.

   Master System Play:  as usual the graphics are bleedier on the SMS.  The 6 button Genesis pad is king again, with the SMS pad being ok in a pinch.  But the long button travel will make the training mini games suck.  The  Control Stick is hampered by the need to whale on the buttons as is the Epyx when the auto fire isn't working or on.

Rating:  Oh so very, very BAD.    It isn't a game.  Hardly anything to do, and the control in that tiny bit of game is poor to nonexistent!  At the moment this might possibly be the worst SMS game I have played period.  Many SMS games clearly needed more time in the oven.  This pile of junk hasn't even defrosted!  The only thing besides the graphics that I can say is nice is that you get to replay the mini game and match that you lose.  So hooray for continues in an SMS game without having them be limited or a button combo?

Next Time:  The US version of the other Boxing game on the SMS is expensive as hell and had a big name (well for around three to six months anyhow..) but the UK version went generic instead and is thus ten dollars complete versus two hundred or so for a loose cart.  Will Heavyweight Champ be any better?  It sure as hell can't be any worse, right?