Being an avid boxing fan, I was more than excited when I first received Majesco??s Black & Bruised for review.
I really didn??t know much about this game other than what I read in the few press releases I received in the past. The one thing that I did know was that it was not a reality based boxer. After playing it for about a second you will know as well.
You can choose to become one of nineteen cartoon like characters each with their own distinct personalities. Each boxer also has their own bag of insults, 40 to be exact. You fight in some of the coolest arenas imaginable, all 21 having animated backgrounds.
As you fight you will earn a total of 18 power-ups which can be used or saved up and combined to create much stronger ones. Later in the game you will need to save these as the stronger power-ups are needed to give you the edge to win the fights. Also, in order to win your fights you will most certainly need to master the art of combos. Each boxer has more than 20 unique combos you can use to annihilate you opponent. There is nothing sweeter than giving your friends the beat down of their life with awesome power ups and 8 punch combos, while watching their faces turn to mush with each and every blow.
Now let??s get into the modes of play. Training: I don??t think this is the kind of game you want to play without first practicing. I think after a few rounds with the training robot, you??re on your way. It is very important to get your combos down before starting your real fights. Single Fight: Quite simple here, pick the guy you want to beat the heck out of and do it! Tournament: Fight for the world title. You choose from a list of boxers to fight and once you??ve beaten the heck out of all of them you win the title. A sound easy doesn??t it? Survival: This is the mode I play most. Fight as many opponents as you can knock out. Two-Player: This mode is the most fun. Get your friend or enemy, sit them down next to you, and beat the crap out of them. Nice concept?? Boxer??s Life: Here is an interesting one indeed. Each boxer has a different storyline and in-game movies. When your friends aren??t over and you won the world title, try this mode out. It??s a bug out.
I almost forgot to mention that there are five difficulty levels which make the game much more valuable.
The graphics are well done for the most part. The game is completely cell-shaded which made the game feel as though you were controlling Rocky cartoon style. The one thing I noticed right off the bat was the detailed facial expressions on each of the boxer??s faces. Also their facial animations were incredible. Each boxer has over 30 facial animations which show the boxer??s mood and also their reaction to getting slapped up-side the head. This adds so much fun to the game.
Ok, the best part of the graphics section has to be the Real-Time Damage. As I was beating up my friends, their faces seemed to take damage almost right after each blow. This made me want to pummel them more and more just to see their eyes swell shut or their nose bend and twist like a pretzel.
Like I said, the graphics are well done but not perfect. Yes, the close ups and characters look good, but the backgrounds are far from desirable. I was quite disappointed in how bad the crowd looked. It??s almost so horrible that it could distract and take away from the fight.
This is the worst aspect of the game. The music is just plain bad. It actually makes the game seem slower than it really is. The funniest thing I noticed during the game was I heard the crowd cheering and booing even though there wasn??t anybody there. After all, there is light at the end of the audio tunnel. The player??s comments and one-liners seemed to have made up for all the other downsides. I couldn??t help but laugh after each and every comment.
Great game play, good graphics and terrible sound. That??s pretty much the bottom line here. I recommend you go out and rent it first. It??s all around fun, but the audio may make you want to return it. I??d normally turn down and pump Limp Bizkit, but then I??d miss all the great one-liners, so this one has to be left alone. I personally like the game and plan to continue beating up my friends on the regular.