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Boxing (Atari 2600) artwork

Boxing (Atari 2600) review


"Despite its rudimentary appearance, fundamental match rules, and the fact the only sound effect present is the ungraceful grunt of worn leather connecting with human hide, Boxing still manages to present an engaging experience, albeit for a short period of time, due to its scoring system. Landed punches by either Floyd or Samuel will be tallied as either one or two points, depending on the accuracy and impact of the blow, with the total scores posted at the top of the screen. And this is where strategy starts to come into play."



In one corner of the orange-roped ring stands Hunter Joe Floyd, the bruising boxer from the Mississippi River Valley, the ragweed clenched between all three of his teeth just part of what makes him the living embodiment of every redneck stereotype.

In the other, hopping in place on the spinach-colored mat, is Jamarasha Samuel, a tough brawler from the mean streets of Harlem, New York, looking for his ticket to get his family out of the ghetto and into something besides another cell block at the state penitentiary.

There's no chance of confusing these two; Boxing presents us with two characters as different as night and day, one a purely white pugilist who from the bird's eye view the game presents us with looks like the letter 'E', the other a pitch black '3' limbering about the ring. These two are in a constant battle every time the game is booted up, matching fists in one round fights that last for exactly two minutes.

Despite its rudimentary appearance, fundamental match rules, and the fact the only sound effect present is the ungraceful grunt of worn leather connecting with human hide, Boxing still manages to present an engaging experience, albeit for a short period of time, due to its scoring system. Landed punches by either Floyd or Samuel will be tallied as either one or two points, depending on the accuracy and impact of the blow, with the total scores posted at the top of the screen. And this is where strategy starts to come into play.

With a seven-point lead and thirty seconds to go, are you going to play if offensive or defensive? Will you try and stay locked up with your opponent, duplicating his movements so he can't land a punch, or will you go all out like you did for the match up to this point, still trying to outsmart him and land blows but risking punishment? Will you back off against the ropes every time Jamarasha comes inside, or will you stand toe to toe with him? Will you…



Okay, so there's admittedly not a tremendous amount of options here -- the game even decides which hand you throw the punch with, allowing you to only say when -- but it works for short spans of time. Pitting the resilient redneck against the tenacious thug is an effective timewaster. But the simple fact that after each match concludes, all you can do is go back and fight the same opponent who greets us with the same passive-aggressive approach… it certainly leaves something to be desired. They could have at least changed his color!

But keeping in mind I created my own backstory for these two nameless, faceless, practically featureless characters as I played, I'm led to believe someone else might enjoy Boxing too.

Rating: 6/10

drella's avatar
Staff review by Jackie Curtis (December 14, 2008)

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