Mike Tyson’s career may be on the fritz after getting the old KO a few weeks back, but that does not mean that we are not still seeing a lot of games with his name on them.
Don’t get me started on Mike Tyson. I mean the fact that he’s been convicted of rape and various acts of violence is disturbing enough. Then there’s the small matter of him being allowed entry into countries around the world, representing the USA, all because he’s a human goldmine. Now Tyson has the gall to sully the world of video games with another poorly executed money-spinner. So dear gamers, I put my high horse to one side and slipped this little cartridge into my GBA. I mean it could be a cracking good game, in which case – principals, schmincipals.
It would have given me a kind of sick pleasure to say that this game is pants. The truth of the matter is it’s not completely pants, just, well"dull.
The sludgy color palette was my first complaint. We all know that the GBA’s screen is gloomy at the best of times, so the sooner developers realise that images featuring solely mid to dark brown are next to useless, the happier we’ll all be.
Mike Tyson Boxing lets you train as a boxer under Mike’s management. Get yourself down the gym for some training, challenge people to fights and get that championship belt type stuff. The gym proved disappointing to say the least. You are presented with a bar chart featuring exercises such as skipping, which is good for balance, sparring, which is good for resilience and so on. I was expecting some button bashing fun, as I skipped and lifted weights. Instead, I got graphs.
Each exercise is represented by a bar, which can be increased and decreased. Every exercise improves a different set of skills and when you increase the levels, your rest bar goes down from green, through amber, to red. The idea is to create a balance that keeps your rest bar in the green. We don’t want to burn ourselves out now.
If you get stuck, Mike’s always on hand to dish out some expert advice and set your training levels. Once you’ve got your training regime sorted, go and challenge some poor punk to a fight. The date of the fight will be set and this is where you tinker with your training, skip ahead a week at a time. Keep tabs of your progress on the Stats screen, which features another graph, yay!
Your stats are represented by colored lines showing strength, speed, balance, endurance and resilience and they change according to your training regime. So it’s a joyful process of tweaking your regime and flicking ahead a week, taking a look at your stats and tweaking your regime and flipping"you get the picture. Tedious is a word I could use quite comfortably here.
It’s the day of the big fight and time to step into the ring – yawnsville. The fights are so easy that I never got further than round one, because my opponent was out cold. There was a negligible amount of skill involved in annihilating everyone I came across. It had no sooner started and I was announced the winner and thrown back to my graphs. Of course for about three weeks after a fight you can’t train because you’re exhausted, so it’s a question of skipping ahead in time and doing more of the same. Yeah, great fun.
I can hardly be bothered to go into the other modes, but here goes. There’s the predictable play any fighter of any ranking, "even Mike himself." Altogether now, "Whooo!" Unfortunately the only two-player action to be gleaned is from two GBAs and two games. Call me sceptical, but the chance of a) owning a copy of Mike Tyson Boxing and b) having a friend who also owns a copy of Mike Tyson Boxing would be an unlikely, but tragic turn of events. Oh, yeah you can open up secret characters too. The level of innovation is just stratospheric, I just can’t wait for the sequel – Bride of Mike Tyson Boxing (any similarity to Bride of Frankenstein is purely intentional).
This game is no more than a glorified graphic equaliser, interspersed with some boring fighting. I don’t know about you, but my stereo is good for fiddling with levels and the results are much more rewarding. Sorry, Mike, but this shabby effort only gets 2 GiN gems. And to think it could have all been so different, with the simple addition of Mike’s special move – "the Iron Ear Muncher."