I’m a little boxing game, short and stout
here is my face, please punch me on the snout.
When I get all roughed up hear me shout:
One, two, three, four… ten, knock-out!
Another boxing game, woe is me. ABC Wide World of Sport Boxing is part of a series of sport games associated with the American Broadcasting Company. According to MobyGames, most games in the series were released for Windows so I won’t review the series. Boxing was released in 1991.
As boxing games go, there are two parts here. One is the actual fighting, the other is managing your boxer to the top of the world ranking.
The management part is nicely done. You start by creating your own boxer. Home town, weight, size, hair type, skin color, fighting statistics, there is a load of things to customize. How you pick your stats will probably also influence your fighting style, going the defensive way without any defence skills will not be a good idea.
On your path to victory, you have two people to guide you: your manager and your trainer. The manager is responsible for organizing matches for you. The interesting thing is, if you want to reach the higher-qualified boxers, you’ll need a higher-qualified manager, which means firing your current one. More expensive managers will take a higher commission from your earnings, though. Your trainer is responsible for, well, improving your stats. Training equipment can be bought and results in skill increases over multiple months. The trainer can also offer your tips on your next fight or organize an exhibition fight.
Fighting is a whole different thing. Once again, it looks very nice, and once again, it is hard to control. I lack the manual, so perhaps it’s all about key combinations that I can’t find. Or perhaps DOSBox is not the good platform to play these games. Or perhaps I’m just too thick to be able to play boxing games. Or perhaps the game just is coded in a way that is hard to control. Anyway, I didn’t manage to win one fight, not even with the current champion against some wimpy low-ranked boxer. That kind of made it hard to see how the game plays out once you start getting some fame in career mode, because, well, I couldn’t win.
It’s a pity, because the fighting seems pretty well-thought out. You have both your head and body to protect, while you can aim for both on the opponent. When you attack or get hit your stamina drops, if it gets to zero you are KO. Your maximum stamina also drops during a fight when your opponents lands a heavy blow. The numbers behind this are governed by the stats: a pugilist with a strong jab might incur heavy damage against someone with a low head defense stat. Stamina and damage rates partially recover between rounds, the amount of recovery again based on the stats.
With its character creation process, management options and various stats, the game gives the impression of having deep and interesting gameplay. This stands in contrast to what is essentially the impossibility of properly controlling your character. 7/10.