One thing you may have noticed from reading my reviews is the lack of sports games. There's no particular reason behind this except I find that sports games in general (particularly 8-bit sports titles) are usually designed with two players in mind, and simply playing them against the computer one tends to not get the full experience. Thus until the time that I can find a friend who's such a bigger loser than me that a night of 8-bit Nintendo football is actually an appealing prospect most said sports titles will remain unplayed. This particular title is designed with one player in mind, thus on with the review.
This game sucks. I should leave it at that, but we need some actual text here, if only to make it look like we cared.
There's nothing wrong with the idea of Foreman starring in a boxing game, he was world heavyweight champ for a while after all (although if I was making a George Foreman game it would be all about him flying a gigantic version of his low-fat George Foreman grill against the evil greasy Hamburger empire, but that's just me.) The problem with this game (and a lot of other NES boxing games, apparently) is that it's a direct rip-off of Mike Tyson's Punch out, from the behind the shoulder presentation to the controls to the utter failure of concept. We can't really blame them, Punch-out did sell gajillions of copies. Can't lose with a winning formula, right?
Well in case no one noticed, Mike Tyson's Punch-out was a pretty crappy translation of the arcade game. Since it was impossible to make the transparent wirefreame guy of the arcade in the home version they made the main character a ridiculous midget who has to comically leap up to punch the opponent. Even as a kid I thought that was stupid. With this game they copy the same view, but we can't make Foreman two feet tall. Thus we end up getting the same problem that Punch-out had to resort to dwarfism to avoid - that one can't see the opponent clear enough to tell what's happening. The guy telegraphs his moves in advance as he should, but your own body covers his too much for you to be able to doge or react in time.
That is, you could dodge or react in time, if you possessed the superhuman reflexes of a small insect. From the outset the A. I. is brutal. You get cheap hits, counter hits, you get hit as you walk up to start the fight, you even get hit as you get up from being knocked down. And for some reason the computer does twice as much damage as you do with each blow. God forbid you get hit by the opponent's special move which will take off 90% of your life in one hit, even on the first guy. Bullshit.
Speaking of getting knocked down, there really seems to be no effective method to tell you how to get up. The only thing I can seem to do is rapidly slam on the buttons, but I can't tell if you're supposed to hit one or all or use the cross pad or what, because as you're jamming on the controller trying to get up before the ten count there is no visible recognition from your character until a split second before you're successful. They could have made George like, struggle a little bit to let us know it's working. Work with us here.
I'm sure that back in the day when we only got one game a year on our birthdays (maybe another on Christmas if we were lucky) then there would have been reason to play this game, that reason being there would not be another one for a long time so you better enjoy it. No doubt in such a situation one could possibly find the cracks and nuances, one could exploit the bugs and look up the tricks, one may even be able to find some enjoyment from such a game. But in this day and age when the entire NES library is available at the click of a button one does not have the time to waste on crap, there's too many good games out there waiting to be played.
Graphics: Above average graphics, large characters, decent animation and use of color. Backgrounds are not much to look at.
Sound: Deep bassy thumps, peppy music. No voice or digitized sounds to speak of.
Gameplay: Difficult, half-thought out and derivative of better things.
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