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SummaryDid I just see what I think I saw?
The GoodI don’t think it’s possible to write a professional review of Ring King. It’s not just a bad game it’s, oh, geez, how do I put this? It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to see the game as something really weird and creepy.
One thing that can be said about Ring King is that, at the time, there weren’t a whole lot of boxing games on the market. Although it was almost immediately eclipsed by Punch-Out, both games had an almost entirely different take on the genre. While Punch-Out has a very exaggerated take on boxing, Ring King is a little bit more realistic. At least, I assume it’s more realistic. I don’t really watch boxing so for all I know it actually does involve short guys punching stereotypes in the face and Punch-Out was spot on.
You get to choose your fighter’s stats at the beginning of each fight. After you win a few fights, you’ll be rewarded with more points. You can even start in training mode to earn some stats for your ranked matches (which I would recommend). However, you gain points at such a slow rate that it becomes tedious. It adds strategy to the game, but it can also lead to frustration.
The BadNow that we’re in the appropriate section for this comment, I have to get it off my chest. This game is notorious for a particular scene. The scene appears at the end of each round. I’m not entirely sure what is supposed to be occurring during these scenes, but I know what it looks like. I’m not sure how to say this; at the end of each round it appears that the fighters’ assistants perform fellatio on the boxers. I’m being perfectly honest here when I say, I don’t know what else they could possibly be doing.
It doesn’t help that when two boxers get close together during a fight they do this strange hugging dance and regain health. Further adding to the creepy-factor, all the boxers have afros and mustaches giving them that “weird uncle” kind of look. It’s not that any of these things are terribly offensive; they just seem entirely out of place. Try to imagine playing Punch-Out for the first time when suddenly Soda Popinski steps into the ring with his wang hanging in your face. It’s enough to make you to pause the game, scratch your head, and question what you just saw. On its own, it’s off-putting but not game breaking. However, the problems don’t stop there.
Stepping back to the subject of afros, this game is full of them. This is because every boxer in the game is just a pallet swap of one another. That’s bad enough, but a lot of the palettes don’t make any sense. You’ll see a lot of boxers with pink trunks and boxing gloves, or green hair. All the animations in the game are basically two frames, so there’s no way to anticipate an upcoming punch, which means you’ll be taking a lot of them in the face.
The controls are so sluggish, it’s maddening. The fighters must always be either vertically or horizontally separated, this means if you press a direction that isn’t towards or away from your opponent, your fighter does a semi-circle around the other boxer. It takes a while for you to get into position, and when you arrive, there’s no guarantee that your opponent won’t do the same thing. Sometimes you’ll end up sitting there as the fighters do laps around each other, and there’s nothing you can do except sit there clenching your teeth and tightening your grip on the controller.
There is absolutely no variation in this game, whatsoever. None. Every boxer looks the same, and apart from different stats, acts the same. Fight after fight, you’re fighting clones. There are different modes, but basically they’re just different ways to progress through fights. It really takes the fun out of building your character, when all you’re doing with them is entering them into slightly more difficult variations of the same fight.