Victorious Boxers Hands-On

With realistic controls and an amazingly accurate gameplay system Victorious Boxers could be the next Mike Tyson's Punch Out.

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Victorious Boxers is a Japanese boxing game based on a popular anime series in Japan. While the game is fairly limited in scope, its incredible sense of realism and actual boxing tactics make Victorious Boxers one of the most impressive boxing games for any next-generation console. We recently got our hands on a final Japanese version of the game to see just what makes Victorious Boxers so special.

The game has only two gameplay modes - the basic game and a two-player versus mode. In the basic game, you play as the lead character from the anime series, and you work your way up a ladder until you're the champ. You'll start off in a small gym in simple sparring matches, then you'll move on to bigger and better opponents as well as bigger and more populated arenas as you make your way up the ladder. In between fights, the game will have a loose storyline where you'll talk with your trainers and prepare for other fights. Your trainers play an important role in Victorious Boxers, as they'll prepare you for your opponents and even give you helpful tips between rounds. The versus mode is just your standard two-player mode, where you can pick any of the boxers you've defeated in the single-player mode and fight it out with your friend.

Victorious Boxers plays unlike any boxing game before it. The game takes full advantage of the analog sticks and requires an incredible sense of control. Pushing the analog stick hard in any direction will cause your boxer to move or sidestep in that direction, while moving the stick only slightly will cause you to duck, bob, or weave from the path of incoming punches. And while other boxing games concentrate on throwing a flurry of punches and whaling on opponents, Victorious Boxers is like actual boxing in that it makes you choose your punches wisely. You'll have to figure out your boxer's patterns and dodge his blows, then return with counterattacks. In addition, Victorious Boxers doesn't feature a life bar or a power meter - your boxer simply fights until he gets beaten too much to stand. The game also features a sense of stamina - boxers who exert themselves and throw lots of punches will eventually tire and become slow and vulnerable. As such, the boxing becomes a very strategical exchange of punching, dodging, and counterpunching. This game easily depicts the most realistic take on the boxing sport in a video game yet.

The graphics in Victorious Boxers are clean but a bit under par by current PS2 standards. The game is based on a popular anime series in Japan, and it retains the general anime style of the series. All the boxers have a very cartoony look to them, complete with teardrop faces and huge eyes. The graphics are definitely sharp, but not terribly eye-raising. The game has several scenes between matches, which show you training or talking with your trainer, and there are even scenes of you preparing for the match and making your way to the ring. The animations move very smoothly, and the boxers fight in an incredibly realistic manner. Punches actually start at the shoulder and move in a very fluid fashion, making the punching in this game seem amazingly real. Victorious Boxers has a very cool soundtrack. The game pulses with Japanese techno - big beats and wailing female vocalists make up the musical track - while punches ring out like Ping-Pong paddles slapped against leather cushions.

While the game takes some getting used to, Victorious Boxers is one of the few boxing games that can really appeal to a wide audience. With realistic controls and an amazing gameplay system, Victorious Boxers just might be the next Mike Tyson's Punch-Out. It's unlikely the game will come to US shores, but savvy importers should definitely keep an eye out for this one.

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