K-1 World Grand Prix Review


I like mindless violence as much as the next person. Well, I should say I like fake mindless violence. You know, things like movies and video games, and I feel confident that there are tons of people into professional wrestling. Heck there is even a market for backyard wrestling. Americans like their violence and love violent sports. I canít say we should be proud of it, but it is who we are for the most part. Yet there is a very violent sport that has not caught on in mainstream America and that is K-1 fighting. K-1 is a hybrid of fighting genres that includes kickboxing, boxing and karate among others. Itís big in Europe and plain huge in China and Japan. Now Konami has brought K-1: World Grand Prix over to the US and the results are not really enough to make you want to become a regular fan of K-1.

Screenshots
Just a little kick to the head.

As I mentioned, K-1 fighting is kind of a hodgepodge of fighting styles. Basically you are in a boxing ring and you fight the other dude there. First one knocked out loses. The fight can technically end up going the distance and being decided by the judges but that isnít likely to happen very often. It is a fairly realistic fighting game and not to be confused with a fighting game like DOA or Soul Caliber. These are real people and the style, moves, and action are pretty realistic. There are over 20 fighters available and each represent an actual fighter in the K-1 world. I did find it interesting that not a single fighter was from the United States. Guess this may help explain why K-1 has never taken off here.

The fights themselves are similar to a boxing/kickboxing bout. You move around the ring throwing punches that are used to set up a big kick to the face of your opponent. There are differences, but you get the idea. Any fighting game must be judged on its control and how much you feel you are really controlling the action and your fighter. Unfortunately this is actually one of the problems that I had with game. While there are many different moves and combinations at your disposal it can be just as easy to randomly slap a bunch of buttons as to give any real thought to how to approach the game. A strong fighting game needs a sense of strategy instead of just pushing buttons faster than the other guy. K-1 does have the ability to direct your punches and kick as well as your guard. But I never even tired to do any of this and still breezed my way to the championship with being knocked down once. I often found myself knocking my opponent out and not having any idea why. For a sport that obviously has a big need to understand the different fighting styles each opponent brings into the ring itís disappointing to not see that represented any better in the game. One interesting aspect of the game happens between rounds when you get to decide how your fighter should approach the next round. For example, you can focus on recovering damage to your legs or body or forgo any type of recovery and concentrate on attacking.