Knockout Kings 2000 Review

Die-hard boxing purists who are still looking for a game with true-to-life gameplay, however, will enjoy Knockout Kings 2000 for a brief period, quickly tire of its sim-free control, and keep looking.

While the original Knockout Kings had the luxury of being the first boxing title released in a long while, and there was little or nothing to compare it with, Knockout Kings 2000 doesn't have that luxury. Since the first Knockout Kings, we've seen boxing games both good and bad. Most were bad, but a few displayed incredible control, something the first Knockout Kings lacked, giving a hint as to what a boxing game could be like. Control and gameplay are, of course, areas that EA Sports has tried to improve on, and it has done so in Knockout Kings 2000. It's improved the graphics as well.

One thing Knockout Kings 2000 surely has going for it is the incredible lineup of real-life boxers from the past and present, such as Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Rocky Marciano, Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran, and of course, the greatest, Muhammad Ali. You can play as or against any of these great fighters, either against the computer or a second player. The game features several modes of play, such as career, exhibition, slugfest, and classic fights.

Knockout Kings 2000 plays a little faster than the first game. The lag time between the animations for the punches isn't nearly as bad as before. And since the ring movement has been tweaked a bit to let your fighter move more freely around the ring, the game feels and plays better as a whole. The improved ring movement lets you work the angles a little bit - you can actually step to the side of your opponent when he comes in, avoid his punch, and then fire back a counterpunch.

The game's control scheme, while slightly improved since the original game, still obviously lacks a good simulation configuration. It's set up basically like last year's - you've got a jab, an uppercut, a right cross, and a hook. There's no custom-configuration option, which leaves you stuck with inadequate button configurations, though EA Sports did add a nice, easy way to throw combinations, body shots, and some new defensive moves as well.All the new moves and better animation don't hide the fact that the AI and overall behavior of the computer-controlled fighters are still about the same. You can walk through the first ten opponents, and then it gets a little bit harder, forcing you to stick with the little tricks that work. When you reach the top four contenders in a division, the game gets dramatically difficult. The fighters are ferociously aggressive and have unbelievable power. To beat them, you must not only stick with the tricks that work but also come up with some new ones as well - plus you'd better get damn good at blocking flurries. Visually, Knockout Kings 2000 is quite a bit better than last year's incarnation. The fighters' faces and bodies look more detailed than before. While noticeably expressionless during close-ups, the fighters do manage to blink. You can see the muscle definition of some of the more-built boxers. The animations of the fighters punching, falling, taunting, and moving in general are pretty good.

In the audio department, Knockout Kings 2000 delivers a good blend of fairly realistic sound effects. Al Albert and Sean O'Grady return to add their unique insight and commentary during the fights. Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. and referee Mills Lane also supply some voice work to give the game's audio some authenticity.

Overall, Knockout Kings 2000 comes off as a more polished version of the original title. All the new fighters and ring entrances, actual arenas, boxer bios, training exercises, and improved graphics that make the fighters look more realistic partially hide the fact that Knockout Kings 2000 just looks authentic. Gameplay and AI, however, are where the game is ultimately judged, and while Knockout Kings 2000 has taken steps in the right direction, it still has a long way to go before it can be praised for its simulation qualities. Casual boxing fans and fans of the original title will undoubtedly enjoy playing as the real boxers in the real arenas and will enjoy Knockout Kings 2000. Die-hard boxing purists who are still looking for a game with true-to-life gameplay, however, will enjoy Knockout Kings 2000 for a brief period, quickly tire of its sim-free control, and keep looking.

The Good

  • N/A

The Bad

About the Author