The Champ
Copyright/Publisher: Linel Converted By: Pantheon Software, Graphics By: Chris Edwards,
Music By: Bill Conti, Programmed By: Andrew Bowen, Sound Effects By: Martin Walker,
Designed By: Markus Grimmer, Concept By: H. Melcher & W. Trumler, Endorsed By:
AWBC - World Boxing Council Release Year: 1990, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

So ya wanna be a contenda? But you don't wanna get a flat schnozzle (or brain damage)? Then The Champ offers a safer alternative...

As a complete boxing novice you must prove yourself in a couple of back alley fights before you even get into the ring! Then, with any luck you'll be spotted by the local talent scout and given training in the gym.

First, you must get ultra-fit by doing loads of skipping. But unless your timing's good, before you can 'saly, pepper, tomato ketchup...' you've tied your legs up. Then it's time for the sandbag: copy your coach's progressively longer sequences of punches.

And finally, for that all-important hand speed, the punchbag - hit it as many times as you can within the time limit. Now at last you're ready to take on your first opponent proper: probably some punch-drunk old timer. A bikini-clad beauty holds up the 'Round 1' card and the bell rings.

The fight is shown side-on with you and your opponent moving left/right. Punches are thrown by pressing the fire button with a direction and include left and right hooks, jabs, stomach punches (although not below the belt!), and the powerful 'killer punch' - this knocks down your opponent.

In addition, there are several defenisve moves to guard various parts of the body or even do some dancing! As in real life, there are two ways of winning: by knockout or points (at the end of nine three-minute rounds).

The former is achieved either by reducing the opponent's energy to zero, or by knocking him down three times. Victory will allow you to face a tougher opponent with the eventual aim of winning the world title.

Do well enough and you'll get in the world rankings. There's also a separate high score table. Both of these can be saved. For extra practice, or just fun, you can also play against a 'friend'.

STU
I can't say I've ever been a great fan of beat-'em-ups: too often they tend to be repetitive and dull. But thankfully The Champ is an exception. Presentation, while not startling, is attractive and atmospheric, while gameplay is fun.

There's a great variety of moves, including the clinch where the other boxer wraps his arms around you to prevent that knockout punch, and you always feel in full control of your fighter. On disk at least, this is a very enjoyable game well worth investigation.

PHIL
After the disappointing Amiga version (52%, Issue 53) I'm happy to say the C64 game is a definite improvement. The game has been made tougher (it was far too easy on the Amiga) and Linel seem to have solved the 'repetitive move' syndrome suffered by so many beat-'em'ups.

The computer opponents are fairly intelligent and very nifty with the knockout punches. In fact it was so hard, I though I'd have an easy fight against Stu, but even he managed to beat me up! Nevertheless, The Champ is a realistic boxing sim with a good long-term challenge.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 74%
Informative and interesting history of boxing. Frequent disk multiload may mean problems for cassette users.
GRAPHICS 78%
Two reasonable backgrounds, busty maiden, action replays, nice animation of boxers.
SOUND 60%
Good 'Rocky' title tune, but in-game sound limited to punching noises and the bell.
HOOKABILITY 78%
Instantly playable, especially with two players.
LASTABILITY 70%
Ultimately gets repetitive, but the tough challenge of becoming champion should keep you fighting on for a fair while.
OVERALL 74%
A fine boxing sim - great for fight fans.


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