Rocky Review

Rocky and Apollo slug it out.

Rocky made his debut over 25 years ago, and as the fighter that wouldn't quit kept climbing back into the ring for a total of five movies released over a span of almost ten years.  Now Rocky has made yet another comeback, and it is your job to help him fight his way back to the top.  It is a testament to the appeal of the movies that a game has been released based on a movie series that is over a decade old (or older in the minds of many Rocky fans who would just assume forget Rocky V).

The game's main event is the Movie Mode.  This mode lets you guide Rocky through the movie series as he fights his way up from a no-name pugilist to a heavyweight contender.  Your championship trail begins in the inglorious confines of an old chapel-turned-boxing ring, where Rocky meets his first test.  As Rocky fights his way up the rankings he moves to ever larger arenas and bigger name opponents. You'll match up with all of your  favorite opponents from the movies such as Apollo, Randy Tate, Dipper Brown, Billy Snow, Ernie Roman, Jack Reid, Bud Cray, MacLee Green, Spider Rico, and Buddy Shaw just to name a few.

Skip that rope!

After successfully defeating each opponent, Rocky gets to go to a training mode to improve his skills in areas such as strength, movement, quickness, etc.  You help Rocky follow his coach’s orders, and earn points in each category based on your performance (there is also an auto-train mode that always adds five points to your skill for those of you who do not like to hit the gym!).  There are five different training modes: Punch Mitts, Speed Bag, Skipping, Situps, and Heavy Bag.  Each mode focuses on improving a couple of Rocky's skills and play like mini-games.  The results of the training sessions rely on your ability to tap buttons or hits combos as they flash on the screen.  Fun for button mashers the first few times through, but you'll just rely on the auto-train option before too long.

Fighting your way through the Movie Mode is key to unlocking all the elements of the game.  As each opponent is defeated, that character becomes available in the other modes of exhibition fighting and tournament play.  The same is true of the arenas in which you defeat opponents in the Movie Mode.  Progressing through the Movie Mode will also unlock recreated animated movie clips for you.  The movies are shown at major points in the storyline (i.e. before and after the fight featured at the end of Rocky I through V), but it would have been nice if more clips were added while preparing for the championship bouts.  It would have helped the narrative and been a nice plus for the Rocky fans the game is obviously targeted towards.

The exhibition mode is your basic boxing match, where you select the boxers and the arena, and then have a fight with the number and length of rounds of your choosing.  The tournament mode is a little more exciting, where you and up to 15 other players can duke it out to see who is king of the ring.

The sparring mode is a nice way to learn the game and get used to the controls.  You can specify how your opponent will react, from hitting back to just standing there and taking your punches. You can practice defensive moves and combos without the pressure of trying to get past an opponent who only wants to put you on your back.

Rocky initially has some intrigue to it with the new twist of the movie mode.  The game is pretty easy to get the hang of, and you can successfully be boxing your way through the contender level without too much practice at all.  However, not too far into the game, you realize that Rocky is just another fighting game, with none of the special appeal of a classic like Street Fighter.  The opponents fight in much the same manner with little variation, and even at the higher levels, the game is far too easy.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 54%.  Leave this game to the die-hard Rocky fans out there, otherwise it is a TKO.


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