By the same team behind RockyDon King. He’s loud, he’s a showman and he’s the master of hype. Whenever a multi-million pound boxing match is taking place you can be guaranteed to spot the boxing promoter’s gravity-defying afro in front of a microphone or at least eye his huge Cheshire cat-grin beaming in the front row.
Having promoted some of the most prominent names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, and been a larger than life character on the sporting circuit for many years, the only thing that surprises me about Don King is that his ego hasn’t led him by the hand into the videogame world of boxing sooner.
Let’s not dwell in the past though, eh? He’s here now alright. Surely you’ve heard the hype-machine revving up its engine, telling us just how great this new boxing franchise is? Somehow, the flamboyant boxing promoter has managed to persuade (or perhaps it was the other way round?) 2K’s sport’s label to put his name to it, and so we have Don King’s Prizefighter, a game that was developed by the same guys behind the entertaining Rocky and Rocky Legends. Should be good then…
Prizefighter’s story-driven gameplay is presented through a documentary-style narrative that focuses on the career of ‘The Kid’, a fighter who starts at the very bottom of the boxing ladder and climbs right to the top by training hard and taking on a roster of 30 or so pugilists.
Through a series of cut-scenes, mixing actors with figures from the boxing world, we’re introduced to each of the fights with mock interviews and third-person accounts of ‘The Kid’s’ heroics. It’s a nice idea that builds the atmosphere to a suitable crescendo before each fight, but as soon as you step into the ring that disintegrates and the sluggish and awkward control system takes over.
You begin your boxing career as ‘The Kid’ with a decent range of options to customise your fighter and can choose from various looks, clothing and gloves. Starting off with poor attributes in fields including strength, stamina, agility and dexterity you need to train yourself up before fights and book your own matches through the menu, where you’re normally given the option of two or three fighters and locations.
There’s a life-style theme running through the game and throughout your career you get sent text and voice messages on your PDA where you’re offered a variety of temptations, including the chance to increase your media profile by participating in (not literally) the likes of a shopping trip or a part in a movie. If you accept the role, your media profile gets a lift. However, as you’re too busy out gallivanting and not training like you should be, you’re attribute scores suffer as a consequence and you can inadvertently find yourself lagging behind in the ring.
Okay, so it’s not a feature we’ve seen before in a boxing game, so credit (sort of) for that. However,there’s absolutely no point to it because you don’t gain anything from being a media star! I suppose it might make some people feel slightly more important, if that’s your bag, but when you get ten barrels of shit knocked out you in the ring because you skipped training then you’ve only got yourself to blame.