Boxing - its a useful thing to be proficient at. Why, we all make use of it most weekends. In dark alleys. Late at night (ho ho, only joshing). Anyway, now you can do some serious head-punching on your Speccy with The Champ.
You become a young hopeful who desperately wants to make it to the top and become WBC champion. The only trouble is that the current champ is a right hard nut.
You start off the game street boxing with no referee and have to fight a couple of matches before you're spotted by a manager, who gives you a shot at the big time and lakes you off to be trained.
The training section involves three routines: skipping, sand bag and the punchbag. You have to try your hardest at these three as how well you do affects your start strength for the first of four increasingly difficult professional bouts.
The boxing moves are pretty much the same as all other beat-'em-ups. A selection of punches and guards to stop opponent's punches doing much damage are available. A match can be won by doing some nifty footwork and bopping to gain points, or going for a knockout.
From start to end, The Champ is excellently programmed. The presentation is great with a recognisable tune from the Rocky films and there are large, colourful graphics throughout the game. Each of the backgrounds you box in front of (street, training and stadium) are monochrome but detailed and boxer animation is great.
The game doesn't hold much of a challenge, though. By repeating a combination of moves you can quickly knock out your opponent and win the game. It was also strange that after winning four games in a row I was taken straight back to the intro screen and not given any champion-like treatment at all.
If you fancy a basic boxing simulation with tarty bits around the edges then that's exactly what The Champ is. If you want something with more involvement, look elsewhere.
NICK … 74%
'As this is a boxing game, I'll get the old clichés out of the way first: 'I could have been a contender'... 'Know what I mean. 'Arry'... And that famous quote from Sly Stallone. 'Huh. nuh wuh Rocky duh yuhh ' (what is he on about. viewers? -Ed). Anyway, as a boxing game The Champ is pretty good The two contenders are well drawn and animated There are about half-a-dozen punches you can throw, and each one that lands knocks a small amount of energy on your opponent's meter. Or that's the way it's supposed to work. More times than I care to remember I hit the other guy and made little impression on his energy. He hit me a couple of times and I was chewing canvas, hardly fair. Despite that whinge, The Champ is a fun game for all you pugilistic types.'
MARK ... 74%
Oh dear, I'm such a crap boxer. Y'see, I've never had to learn how to fight because I've always had my brother to protect me. He once tried to teach me how to throw a punch but gave up after a while (he was laughing too much). But not being able to land a left-hook in real life makes no difference to a computer, for all the Speccy knows I could be Barry McGuigan. In fact, after having played The Champ, I think I might be.
The Champ is a simple, straightforward (boring) boxing game. There's no management bits, no starting at the bottom and fighting your way to the top, no nasty bruises, no saliva-drenched mouthguards, nothing. All The Champ has to offer is a quick left-right and some nice graphics. With a few (major) changes, it might have been quite a nice little player. But as it stands, it's a bit average (and that's being kind).
REAL MEN DON'T SKIP!
Okay, let's start at the beginning (you know it makes sense!). There's some pretty pictures accompanied by a fanfare and then the options. There are quite a lot of these but they're all pretty boring. The only exciting bit is choosing who to be. I was a bit fed up with being Linda so I opted for Toni Biggs, a name which has just the right hint of criminality and a continental flavour too. Once you've sussed out who you are you can roll over to the gym. The gym's a bit of alright actually. You can skip (practice your rope skills, I mean - real men don't skip) and have a go on the punchbag and speedball.
The graphics are one of the (few) good things about The Champ. They're mono but very cartoony and you can actually tell the difference between yourself and your opponent. In the gym, all the accessories are nicely delineated and everything moves quite smoothly too.
After a bit of a work-out you'll be just about ready for a bit of a spar. This involves you and, erm, someone else having a bit of a go at one another in the gym. This is a good time to test your moves and work out your left-hook from your right. Look out for the punch-in-the-stomach move, it's the best one (even if it does look a bit like hitting below the belt!).
I was hoping that the action would hot up once I got into the ring. But alas, 'twas not to be. I (or rather, Toni) climbed through the ropes and (apart from the sea of faces) everything was pretty much business as usual. That's to say, I knocked the other fella out within 4 rounds. Peasy or what? And there I was, looking for a right old barney!
So basically, The Champ is a bit of a no-no. (Although the 2-player option might be a tad more interesting than the bash-the-computer mode.) The game's major weakness is the fact that it's so preposterously easy. Without any instructions, I loaded it up, found my way around the option screens (the difficult bit) and proceeded to win a match. Twice. Which only goes to show that, without a shadow of a doubt, I am Barry McGuigan.
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