Knockout Kings 2000 might provide die-hard fight fans with a thrill, since they'll be able to play as some of the greatest fighters from the past and present, like Mohammed Ali, Joe Fraizer, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Duran, Angel Manfredy, and Sugar Shane Mosely. Unfortunately, that's about as far as it goes. After spending a couple of days with the game, you'll see through the computer's pathetic AI and learn the punches and tactics that work time and time again.
The control in Knockout Kings 2000 is limited, to say the least. Sure, you can throw just about all the basic punches, but you can't really put them together in a combination. Instead, you must rely on preset combinations that throw four punches with one button press. These combinations take up a bit of your fighter's own health. Fight fans who enjoy the technique of the sport will quickly tire of the game's one-button combos. Casual players may feel that the easy, arcade-style gameplay is adequate, but if you enjoy the sweet science enough to want to put together your own combinations you will be simply disgusted.
The one saving grace that extends the life of the game for a few days is the various weight classes. In the heavyweight class you'll beat the game in less than an hour - even on the hard setting. The damage you can dish out with the game's preset combos, if used correctly, is way more than you lose by using the combos. You can get close to a fighter, hit a combo button that delivers body shots until your super-punch meter is full, wait for him to throw a punch, and then use the super punch to put him on the canvas. You'll be able to knock out just about everyone within the first couple of rounds. The middle and lightweight divisions are a little different. Here, you'll have to jab and throw some hooks to the body, using the preset combos a little more sparingly since the fighters in the lighter weights don't let you pound away at their midsections as much. Either way, within the first few days of playing the game you'll figure out what works in all three classes. It's these AI problems that make playing the game more about what buttons to hit and when than about outthinking your opponent.
Graphically, Knockout Kings 2000 is pretty good. Most of the polygonal boxers in the game look like their real-life counterparts, although since most of the punching and movement animations are shared between the fighters, they all move the same. Unfortunately, the game moves too slowly. The animations of the fighters punching, falling, and moving in general are also too slow. The ring and the attending audience look great: You can actually see individual people and not just the typical blurry crowd found in most sports games.
The sound and music in Knockout Kings 2000 are passable at best. While noticeably silent most of the time and limited to a few phrases, Al Albert and Sean O'Grady add commentary to the mix. Referee Mills Lane gives the instructions before the bout and counts during a knockdown. The punches and roar of the crowd and other sound effects in the game get the job done.
In the end, Knockout Kings 2000 will give fans of the sport a brief thrill. Playing as the real guys is a kick, but so little technique is required of you that the game quickly falls flat.