Knockout Kings 2001 Hands-On
While we'll have to wait and see how the final game comes together this February, it's fair to say that EA Sports has created a beautiful boxing game.
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We've received a near final build of Knockout Kings 2001 for the PlayStation 2, and we wanted to give you an update on the game's progress.
The game features three modes of play: slugfest, career, and exhibition. The career mode allows you to climb the ranks of a particular weight class in the hopes of a shot at the title. The game, of course, has an all-star lineup of boxers, including great fighters from the past and present such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, "Sugar" Shane Mosely, Diego Corales, Floyd Mayweather, Lennox Lewis, David Tua, Pernall Whitaker, and Evander Holyfield. The game features almost all of the fighters you could want, with the only noticeable exception being Felix Trinidad. The boxers in the game hail from three weight divisions: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The game also features several hidden athletes in the game, such as Jason Giambi and Junior Seau, whom you can unlock during play.
The fighters' movement seems pretty slow, which tends to make evading your opponent's punches rather difficult. Instead, the matches are more about blocking and counterpunching. The controls are similar to those of its PlayStation counterpart; the controller's face buttons deliver punches, while the shoulder buttons let you block and activate preset combos. You can also link punches together to form your own combos.
Visually, Knockout Kings 2001 on the PS2 is very impressive, thanks largely in part to the game's use of CyberScan technology, which makes the fighters in the game look almost exactly like their real-life counterparts. The developers of Knockout Kings 2001 used an advanced skin-mapping technique that allowed them to scan the skin of the actual fighters for the game. For boxers who are past their prime, such as Ali and Frazier, the developers went out and found body doubles who had similar builds.
In the audio department, the game has a totally authentic feel, thanks to the voice work provided by real-life boxing icons, including such as referees Mills Lane and Richard Steele. In addition, Al Bernstein and Teddy Atlas provide commentary and analysis, while Jimmy Lennon Jr. handles ring announcements.
So while we'll have to wait and see how the final game comes together this February, it's fair to say that EA Sports has created a beautiful boxing game. Whether the game will be a big hit with die-hard boxing fans or more suited to the casual fan is yet to be determined.
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