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Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting!
  opened by paleface at 03:43:16 08/23/03  
  last modified by paleface at 23:43:09 02/21/04  
  paleface [sys=GBA; cat=Sports; loc=JPN]
Very intense boxing game by Treasure: you feel the pain as the opponent rails off a huge flurry of blows right in your face. Ouch! And that'll happen a lot because this game is very challenging, requiring you to learn the enemy's tendencies, block or dodge his attack perfectly, then counter-attack immediately with a well-timed sequence of hits. You'll spend a fight or two getting the royal stuffing knocked out of you but persevere and you'll find this a boxing game that may be able to stand side-by-side with Punch Out in that little hall of champions in your head.
Each boxer has special defensive and offensive "Spirit" moves--you build spirit by hitting the opponent. Blocking is automatic but your guard will wear down quickly, shown by your gloves (which float disembodied in the screen, as you are understood to be "looking" forward at the opponent) turning from blue to red. This can be a vicious cycle indeed as the opponent wears down your guard and you can't save yourself for lack of Spirit points, which you can't get without hitting the opponent, which you can't do because he's all over you like mud on a hog. So better not let yourself get into that situation, eh? Watch his hands, wait for him to miss a big punch, then let him have it! Wham wham!
Well, fun stuff and again very challenging indeed. According to a FAQ there are various other modes beyond the regular Story mode, including a Tournament mode where you can play as the characters you've defeated in Story mode (why would you want to play as losers? haha) and a "Customize" mode where you can create and train your own boxer. You won't often find a game as visceral as this one--it's one of those where I get all nervous and sweaty and twitchy after playing for a while, and that's actually a good sign.

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