Knockout Kings 2003
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9  |  Knockout Kings 2003 Review (GameCube)
larsoncc , 4/4/2003 4:54:04 PM

Showing Bruises (pic)

The realistic damage in Knockout Kings 2003 adds to the excitement of two player matches.  "Oooh, look at your FACE!"

Knockout Kings 2003 is a button-mashing, face-bruising, against the ropes masterpiece. The controls are simple, yet provide for a lot of depth. Combos and punching styles are slightly different for each boxer, which makes Knockout Kings a fun title for a long time. The one-two punch combo is alive and well, and you'll need to master it if you want to take out your legendary opponents: Mohammed Ali, Evander Holyfield, and Sonny Liston.

In two-player mode, Knockout Kings 2003 really shines. While the Game Cube has been home to some great party games (Monkey Ball, Mario Party), it hasn't had too many sports games worth playing (Madden has seen better control schemes). In fact, in terms of raw "guy-appeal", the Game Cube has had virtually nothing going for it, until now. 30 seconds into your first match with a buddy, you'll see what all the excitement has been about. I winced as my on screen partner took one to the chops, and the simultaneous "OOOOOoooohhh!" we let fly at the first knock down had me convinced. You don't need to be a master to pick up this game and have fun with it - but there is the opportunity to become a master as you progress in the game.

There are several modes to play in Knockout Kings 2003. The exhibition mode doesn't feature power bars or any other major indicator of your boxer's health. Instead, you're left with the occasional glimpse of your boxer's bruised and battered face. This is also the mode that will hook you on the game immediately - the best two-player action tends to occur when you don't know how well you're beating your opponent. The other major mode of note in this title is the Slugfest mode. Yes, there is a power bar in this mode. And there are no rules. Chaos will reign as you master the combos needed to defeat foes that get progressively faster and more stylistic. Indeed, you'll learn how to float like a butterfly AND sting like a bee.

Socking Your Opponent is fun...(pic) If I wanted to pick on Knockout Kings 2003, I'd tell you that this game is nearly identical to Knockout Kings 2002, on the other major systems (with the exception of a few "bonus" modes). If you have more than one system, it may be to your advantage to pick up KK 2002 (it'll be cheaper). I'd also have to mention that EVERY button is used. Sometimes, they are used in combination (example: upper cuts). While it's easy to pick up this game and start playing, it can be challenging to remember every button combination.

Prepare yourself for an immediate and near-crippling case of Nintendo Thumb. You have to be quick to counter those punches, and after 2-3 rounds, your hands and wrists will know the torture that you are putting your opponent through.

Let there be little doubt - there is no better boxing title on the Game Cube. You'd be hard pressed to find a better boxing title anywhere. While Knockout Kings 2003 maintains a great arcade feel and style, it also shows that it has the depth to go all 12 rounds. I give Knockout Kings 2003 a 9/10. If you have a Game Cube and at least one friend, you owe it to you and your buddy to check this game out.

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