Review by Joe Santulli
a big fan of boxing, I was thrilled when Champions Forever
hit the shelves. I hadn't bought a Turbografx-16 game for awhile, after
being completely bored by a long stretch of shooters and below-average
skill games that I was fortunate enough to rent first. I had to
contemplate buying this one, too. I didn't want to get burned for $60.
Well guess what? It's a decent game. There are five big names: Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, and Holmes. Each boxer truly looks like his heavyweight counterpart, and fights according to his career style - so the manual states (more on that later). There are also three "unknowns" thrown in which you can use to start a career of your own. The graphics are sharp, from the digitized opening screens depicting the five champs, to the smoothly animated bouts. Between rounds, you can "see" the damage to each boxer's face.
I was K.O.'ed by the soundtrack, reminiscent of today's boxing world's ring-entry fare. Complete with grinding synths and sampled boxing sounds, you'll hesitate before leaving the opening demo - it sounds too good to exit! If not for the mediocre crowd sounds, I'd have given the highest possible rating for sound.
I couldn't distinguish the styles as much as I would have liked. The computer is aggressive no matter who it assumes, although I would have expected Ali to "rope-a-dope" me a bit and Holmes to try to corner me like an animal. It just doesn't work that way. There are some slightly higher power ratings for certain punches, but this is negligible, since you can increase your power in any area between rounds anyway.
I have no complaints about the controls, everything seems pretty fair. The scoring between rounds confuses me though, because you can get knocked down twice in a round and still win it if you land enough jabs. That's not boxing, my friends, and this may not be a true simulation of the greatest heavyweights of our time, but this cart still packs a punch.
TIP: Since the computer tends to mix up its punches rather than go to its power punch regularly, build up a strong hook or uppercut and use it consistently to out-power your opponent.
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