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Chavez II

Genre: Sports Developer: Sculptured Software Publisher: American Softworks Corp. Players: 1 Released: 1993

Have you ever felt the need to just clobber something into oblivion? To beat it to a bloody pulp? And all without the consequences of jail time? I have. And my quest led to me Chavez II, a boxing game in the same vein as Super Punch Out!. But does the game live up to the greatness of the man it’s based on? Not really. The only real life boxer in the game is Chavez so don’t expect any big names from the past.

You get to the main menu, and you have three options: exhibition, career, and options. My first choice was the career mode to beat up some pugilists. Surprisingly, it has some depth to it. You have three types of boxers you can be: the balanced, power oriented, and the stamina oriented type. You then choose what you look like, but variety isn’t the game’s strength. You have the model with hair and one without. Then you choose your skin color: white, brown, and black. You then distribute your points into three categories: power, endurance, and stamina. Power is the bang your punches carry, endurance dictates the amount of punishment you can take before hitting the mat, and stamina dictates how many punches you can throw before having to rest.

Next, you distribute points into your punches and the game has them all. Hooks, jabs, uppercuts, crosses, straights, and a super punch. You decide what your super punch is; my choice was a right cross. After that, you get into a pre-fight menu that shows you’re ranking in the league and who your next opponent is. You’re ranked tenth in the beginning, and El Gran Campeon Mexicano is ranked number one with a jaw-dropping 99-1 record. You move up the ranks steadily, and after every fight you distribute more points. Sometimes you don’t fight the next fighter. Instead, you fight a grudge match against a past vanquished opponent.

Gameplay-wise, you and the opponent begin the middle. Holding up guards your face, and holding down guards you body. The punch buttons are customizable so I can’t go into much detail on how some punches are done, but the body blows are always hooks while all high punches are jabs, crosses, straights, and uppercuts. You move left and right around the ring, but you can’t corner an enemy. You can clinch the enemy if you need to gather your stamina or if you’re in danger, but the referee will separate you if you hold on for too long. Punching in a long barrage tires you out, but it’s a non-issue

I found the game to be easy… like, ridiculously easy. I put all my points into power and all right-handed punches. I was an absolute beast. In one long barrage, I would knock down guys in a minute, yet all my fights ended in technical knockouts because the opponents would not stay down. I knocked down some fighters six times. Six times before the referee called the fight. Call it the Mexican fighting spirit, but it got tiring after a few bouts. Blocking was easy because if they hit my guard, there was no penalty that came with it. When I needed to regain my stamina, I held my high guard, and the other fighter would hit it constantly. When they did go low, the hooks were noticeable so I could always block it. Other than the occasional body blow, I was virtually untouchable. In a rare occurrence, the referee stopped the fight because I knocked a fighter’s mouthpiece out of his mouth.

The graphics don’t look as though they push the system as much as possible. The boxers look like oil paintings, which I’m a fan of, but many wont like it. Their shorts do have something written on them, but good luck reading what it says. The HUD is simple. The gloves represent your stamina, and when an X appears you have to rest. The red in your picture represents your health, and when it goes black you get knocked down. The remaining time is in the top, and above it you find what round it is. When you punch a fighter enough, what is suppose to be a cut develops, but it looks like someone threw tomatoes on their eyes. Sweat and blood fly off whenever they’re hit.

The crowd sounds are just a notch above terrible. The crowd is supposed to be cheering, but all you hear is hissing. Everything else is so-so. When you start up the game, you hear what I think is a hissing version of someone pounding on a steel door, and then a chant of “Chavez!” fills your ears. Then comes the only decent thing I’ve heard in the sound department – the main menu music. In a fight, punches that land on a guard sound like a dull thud, and one that lands clean is accompanied by a grunt.

If you’re looking to fill thirty minutes, or if you’re desperate for some boxing action on the Genesis, then Chavez II is for you. Other than that, this game isn’t a must buy for the system. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hankering for Pizza Hut and a Pepsi for some odd reason.

SCORE:  5 out of 10

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