|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Aki Corporation||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Leon Hendrix III
February 05, 2009 - For original fans of the N64, games like Ready 2 Rumble Boxing werent hard to find. The Nintendo formula used to be simple add a huge cup of cartoon mayhem, and a dash of story, setting, theme, or character, and you had the next big release.
Sports games like NFL Blitz, NBA Showtime, MLB Slugfest, NHL Hitz typical Midway-esque sports fare were very popular for their over-the-top antics and tongue-in-cheek approach to everything from rosters to animations. Recent games have struggled to recapture the magic of these colorful competitions, but titles like Blitz the League have failed to capture the same quirky fun of earlier titles. Ataris Ready 2 Rumble Revolution might change that.
If youve never played the original, its worth a shot. Characters are amusing and diverse, the taunts and poses are plentiful, and the boxing, while not overly realistic, is satisfying and a bit more complex than expected. Pugilists with names like Afro Thunder and Boris Knokminov starred in the arcade fist-fest along with a stable of hidden fighters like Michael Jackson and Hillary Clinton. The original Ready 2 Rumble Boxing and sequel Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 were developed by Midway, and the troubled developer has handed the reigns over to Aki Corporation (most popular for its late nineties WCW and WWF wrestling games).
Aki is ditching the former First Lady for Revolution but blending the same rock em sock em gameplay with all new controls, characters, and play modes on the Wii. Revolution will feature a roster of around twenty playable characters, most of which will be pseudonymed look-alikes of celebritities like Syphon Cruel (American Idols Simon Cowell) and a helmet sporting extreme sports character modeled after snowboarder Shaun White. In addition, players will have the ability to create and train their own beefcakes for the single-player Championship mode, in which they can earn new customizable parts (and presumably outfits).
Very little is authentic in this game, and that may be a good thing. Aside from the characters themselves, arenas will also feature the likenesses of some major venues and locales including Madison Square Garden and Las Vegas. In efforts to expand replay value, Revolution will include a number of new mini-games and play modes. There are the obligatory single-player career mode (Championship) and exhibition modes, but Revolution has added the training, tournament, and eight round arcade modes for good measure. The aforementioned Championship mode will allow players to increase in strength, speed, and defense (each fighters three main attributes) by completing training challenges like Hit the Mit or Jump Rope. Many of these challenges will take advantage of the Wiis new control scheme, so expect a lot of wiggling and Wii Sports-time movements.
Supposedly, fights will be more realistic because of improved A.I. but thats been said before. Rumble mode will definitely be back in top form and each fight will have their own special punches, extreme KOs (including all those out of the ring punches) and Rumble combos. For the unschooled, the titular fighting mode grants extra speed and a whole lot of hurt to your opponent. Its the most unrealistic part of the game, but probably the most fun. Expect lots of ring-out KOs followed by obnoxious celebrations and taunts.
Nintendo has long been criticized for its devotion to the younger gaming demographics. Save a few successful franchises (Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, etc.) developers and publishers for Nintendo rarely eschewed their kid-friendly approach. To critics and adult gamers (both of whom grew up as the relatively new medium did) the Japanese game paragons Peter Pan business model was enough to push many of us toward the new kids on the block. Though most loved Nintendo as children (and it doesnt seem to have hurt Nintendos profit margins), many adult gamers have set off to greener pastures on the Microsoft and Sony camps. With developers likely willing to take fewer risks in a tough economy and more of yesterdays games and heroes creep back into the marketplace (not to mention the popularity of Nintendos Wii), now maybe the perfect time for Ready to Rumble Revolution. No word yet on online play. Ready to Rumble Revolution releases in June.
Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer