Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing
Release Date: 7/18/2002
It’s been a long time since a boxing game featuring the name “Mike Tyson” has been worth playing, in fact Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! may have been the only one. Well, this latest boxing game featuring the once-heavyweight-champ Mike Tyson follows in the tradition that started after the release of Punch-Out!!, that is to say Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing for the Xbox is, in almost every conceivable way, a picture-perfect example of what not to do in a boxing game. Sloppy play control, stuttering animations, and an overall confused rendition of the sport of boxing is what this game offers, interested? Didn’t think so. Looking at the screenshots alone you would think that this is a great game, upon booting it up and watching it in action however, it’s a completely different story. The boxers seem to be hyped up on some sort of speed-inducing drug, jumping around at a frantic pace and magically changing stance without the use of noticeable transitions. Sorry Codemasters, slapping the ‘Mike Tyson’ name on a sub-par piece of software is not going to sell units. The only thing more pitiful than the slew of games that have been crapped out over the years with the moniker of ‘Mike Tyson’ attached to them is Mike Tyson’s actual career.
From looking at the impressive roster of boxing maneuvers, you would think this game is a straight-up boxing simulator. The actual game play however is more closely likened to that of arcade action. Unless you can somehow cope with the insanely fast and choppy game play mechanics of the game it is safe to assume that every match you play will be a button-mashing extravaganza. And don’t even get me started on the horrific collision-detection, a right-hook might at one time successfully connect with the rival boxer’s chin and go straight through his face without registering a hit the next moment. The action is incredibly hectic and nearly impossible to follow, and it doesn’t help that the perspective shifts around as stiltedly as the boxer’s animations. If there is anything nice I can say about MTHB on the Xbox it’s that the visuals and AI seem to be a smidgen refined from the PS2 version. No longer will opponents topple over at the touch of a feather one second and then be all but impossible to deal with the next. Sadly though, that’s where the enhancements end.
Visually MTHB looks adequate but not at all notable. The boxer models look mis-jointed and blocky, though the included create-a-fighter mode does allow you to tweak nearly every aesthetic facet of the fighter; all are equally bizarre-looking however. The animation is incredibly unnatural and artificial, also the opening introduction of each boxer before the fight is very lame and protracted, each character continually repeats the same handful of animations over and over again as they walk down the entrance to the ring, and it seems like it takes forever for them to finally get there. Luckily these annoyingly out-of-place sequences can be skipped. Graphically Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing is superior to the PS2 version, the characters don’t look all stretched out and animation is more fluid, but all in all the visual-package is still mediocre at best. The sound is also completely substandard featuring busted commentary by Ian Darke and Bobby Czyz, which, oddly enough, only occurs during the replay of a fight. The intro cinema sports a cool-sounding tune but that’s where the aural-niceties end.
There are a few unlockables in this game that allow you to further customize your boxer but it is doubtful you’ll want to waste the time that is required to do so. There really isn’t anything about Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing that makes the game shine, even a little. The play control is atrocious, the graphics and sound are barely acceptable, and the improvements over its PS2 counterpart are marginal at best. Is Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing worth playing? Nope.