Boxing Fever for the Game Boy Advance is similar to a number of other first-person-perspective boxing games from the past, including Digital Champ for the TurboGrafx-16, Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing for the Game Gear, and Teleroboxer for the Virtual Boy. Boxing Fever's camera perspective is a first-person view seen through the eyes of your fighter--all that you see before you are your boxing gloves and your opponent.
The game features eight playable characters, and they are all very unique and have names that fit their appearance and fighting abilities. For instance, the Major is a large military man who packs quite a punch. You can play as or challenge any of these fighters in five modes of play including single, championship, survival, two player, and training. The game's championship mode allows you to take on the eight characters, as well as two champions, in an attempt to capture the world title. There are five difficulty divisions that you have to compete in, ranging from amateur to championship. The game has a simple password system that allows you to pick up your career where you left off. A battery save would have been nice, but the passwords are only eight characters long, so it's not too much of a pain.
The gameplay consists largely of blocking and punching. The shoulder buttons do, however, provide you with the ability to weave left or right in order to evade some of your opponent's punches. Pressing the D-pad up throws a strike at your opponent's face, and pressing down throws body punches. You can press and hold left or right to charge up a hook before unleashing it with a punch button. Winning a match consists of blocking, countering, and looking for the open shot. Looking for the open shot simply means if the fighter's hands are held high, you throw low, and if the fighter's hands are held low, you throw high. The gameplay is very simple to learn and execute, but unfortunately, it's so simple it gets pretty boring after a few fights. Boxing Fever does, however, offer some special combos and moves that you can learn by playing the game's training mode. The AI of the fighters is varied, although traditionally, each fighter follows a specific pattern that you have to recognize in order to block and counterpunch effectively. The two-player mode is very fun and does add quite a bit of replay value to the game.
Visually, Boxing Fever is quite remarkable. The game looks like a cartoon, and the fighters are all very detailed and feature smooth animation. The colors are very vivid, and the prerendered artwork and animation are surprisingly amazing. Additionally, the animated audience in the background actually looks really good. The camera sways and shakes when you're being hit, though this effect can be a little much during severe exchanges, making it hard to tell what's happening at times.
In the audio department, there really isn't much to say. The voice work in the game is pretty good, and the sound effects are crisp but a bit maddening over time. Each fighter has his own specific theme music, but overall the music is mediocre. Fortunately, you can alter the volume of every aspect of the game's aural presentation to make up for some of the deficiencies.
In the end, Boxing Fever is a fun GBA boxing game. The graphics are great, the gameplay is solid, and the quick fights make it the perfect type of game to play when you're on the go. It may not have the depth of a Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, but it's definitely worth taking a look at, if only to see the sharp graphical presentation.