Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 for the Game Boy Advance is an impressive conversion of the console game that seems even more suited for a handheld, now that it is. The game's arcade style of boxing, quick matches, and minigames make it a perfect game to take on the go. The only thing that's a pain is that it doesn't have a battery built in, which means you have to write down passwords on little bits of paper and enter them in when you want to resume your game. Aside from that though, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 looks, sounds, and plays wonderfully, making it one of the better Game Boy Advance launch games and a great game to pick up if you're into boxing or fighting games.
The game features three main modes of play: arcade, survival, and championship. Arcade mode is a simple quick-start mode: All you have to do is pick a fighter, and you're in the ring. Survival mode, as the name indicates, is a mode of play that puts you in the ring against all of the opponents in the game. The one catch in survival mode is that your health meter isn't reset to full at the start of a new match, which forces you to try to put opponents away while trying to minimize the amount of damage you take. Championship mode is the game's main mode, and it lets you take a fighter from the bottom of the ranks all the way to the championship. It's a long road that requires a lot of training and a lot of matches. Training consists of various minigames that are nearly identical to those found in the console versions of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2. The minigames are all based on real boxing exercises and range from tests that challenge your timing, memory, and reflexes. For instance, you can choose to take on heavy bag training, which requires you to throw the correct punch indicated within a very limited amount of time. Doing well on the minigames increases your fighter's abilities in various categories that include stamina, punching power, and speed. In all, the game includes eight selectable fighters from the outset, including favorites such as Afro Thunder, Lulu Valentine, and Angel Rivera. You can also unlock three more fighters--Michael Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Rumbleman--by finishing each one of the game modes. About the only thing missing is a link cable mode, which would have added a lot more replay value to the game.
Once you're in the ring, playing the game is incredibly easy since the control scheme of the game is laid out very well. The main A and B buttons of the Game Boy Advance throw straight left- and right-handed punches. Pressing a direction along with one of these buttons modifies the punch and lets you throw hooks, uppercuts, and body blows with either hand. The two shoulder buttons on top of the GBA handle blocking and bobbing and weaving. The select button taunts your opponent, and this also adds to your rumble meter, which when full lets you attack your opponent without exerting any stamina for a brief period of time. Moving your fighter around the ring is simple since all you have to do is press the D-pad in the direction you wish to travel. The one thing about moving around the ring that's a little strange, once you notice it, is that even though the ring rotates and looks 3D, it's actually an illusion. Your fighter will always be on the left-hand side of the screen, but since you can move slightly above and below, and the ring rotates around the fighters, it's a pseudo 3D environment. The main thing is you never really get stuck in a corner, and you can always get away from your opponent. All in all, the game plays very similarly to its console counterparts, which is actually quite remarkable.
Visually, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 looks incredible. The prerendered 3D fighters have an almost FMV look to them since they look incredibly sharp and have very smooth animations. The idle animations of the fighters' moving their hands and feet in true boxing style, along with their taunting animations, really gives each fighter a unique look and style. The ring and surrounding crowd looks fairly decent, although the ring is a little large in scale. The illusion of a 3D ring is very believable; you'll totally be convinced that it's a 3D ring until you try to get to the other side of the screen.
In the audio department, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 is extremely impressive. The game actually has the legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer as the ring announcer complete with his trademark "Let's get ready to rumble" that sounds surprisingly good. All of the music and sound effects sound like they nearly came straight from the console version, although you can hear some noise and compression.
In the end, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2 for the Game Boy Advance is a surprisingly good interpretation of its console counterpart. The game's graphics, sound, and gameplay make it a perfect game to take with you anywhere. Plus, all of the different training minigames really add some diversity to the game as well as a bit of depth that will keep you playing for a good amount of time.