Final Blow
Copyright/Publisher: STORM/The Sales Curve, Coding By: "Krusha Kev"
Mcintosh, Graphics by; Shaun McClure, Music/Sound FX: Martin Walker,
Release Year: 1990, Genre: Boxing, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Oh no, not again! Another beat-'em-up fiasco you can complete on your first attempt. A better title for the game would be 'Single Blow' because that's all you need to defeat all the other boxers.

Just wdege your joystick in the 'UP' position and hold down the fire button: you'll see your opponent drive you onto the ropes, then consistently walk into your right jab! This process is repeated until he's 'knocked down' - a stricken fighter never actually falls but crouches in agony while taking a standing count.

Ringisde seat
The acion is viewed from the side, and it very two-dimensional - you can't walk past your opponent, nor can you move in any direction other then left and right.

The huge fighters are well drawn with nice shading and great attention to detail. It's strange how they look identical when in the ring, though - even if his mugshot's white, by the time he reaches his corner he's developed a very deep suntan!

The animation of the upper body is excellent for the various punches, but the legs are hardly animated at all. The fighters seem to be sliding around on an ice rink rather than walking!

Various game options are on offer, such as length and number of rounds, fighting a human opponent and a practice mode where you fight one opponent at a time instead of running through the entire league of boxers - but when the game's this easy, you don't need it!

Low Blow
Intelligent boxing? Don't make me laugh! There are several punches and defensive moves on offer, but you never need them. After your opponent is hit, he slides back faster than you can walk, so following up your attack is impossible.

Also, shifting from movement to attack is so sluggish, it's best not to move at all - just stand still and fight off the ropes, Joe Bugner-style. This completely ruins the two-player option, as neither player wants to risk coming forward, so you end up hardly fighting at all.

Final Blow and the Commodore 64 is a mismatch even worse than the Frank Bruno/ John Emmen fiasco. It could have been a contender, it's certainly well presented, features impressive, well-animted sprites and a detailed ring backdrop with crowd. The incidental tune is also fairly impressive, and thudding sound FX add a lot to the atmosphere.

What a shame it wasn't better playtested, as that old beat-'em-up killer, the 'repetitive move syndrome' results in a first-round knockout, and for once even the two-player mode is dull. Seconds out...look elsewhere!

?
I'm none too hot when it comes to boxing games, basically because I'n not rough and tough enough! Too nice for my own good, that's me! However, Final Blow is incredibly easy. What was the point of including a practice mode?

Even I didn't need it! Sometimes, I just left my joystick in one position, kept pressing fire and won! Well, I think I won, my opponent didn't fall on the canvas when I knocked him out!

Graphically, the top half of the sprites are well animted, but someone didn't bother to pay attention from the waist down, and why is it that both fighters look almost identical? The overall look of the playing screen is dark but atmospheric with a real smoky look.

Sound is nothing outstanding though: an average title tune and puny thwack effects! If only it was more difficult this could have given WWF a run for its money. As it is, gameplay doesn't match graphics!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 70%
Fair amount of options.
GRAPHICS 80%
Impressive sprites suffer from patchy animation.
SOUND 56%
Title tune good, but sound effects leave a lot to be desired.
HOOKABILITY 37%
Simplistic gameplay that takes seconds to master.
LASTABILITY 21%
Opponents are far too east and unintelligent to last more than a couple of rounds.
OVERALL 31%
When a game plays this easily any positive aspects cannot compensate.


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