|Midway, 1998. A big semi-animatronic boxer torso will turn to face you in the upper playfield when you meet the requirements for beginning a boxing "match": to defeat him, you crash the ball into his rubber-coated body, ideally banking it off one of the side semi-half-pipe ramps so that it skates up and hits him in the chops. The game tracks health bars for you and your opponent--who always looks the same on the playfield, of course, but is given different voice and DMD characteristics--in the lower playfield, which is a pretty neat feature, and the commentating is pretty lively. Hit him enough to drain his health bar for a KO before he gets yours. Going through to face tougher boxers gives the game a definite sense of progression.|
The huge boxer makes this one look pretty gimmicky, but it's a good gimmick--nothin' like slamming that ball into various parts of the boxer's body, and you're scored based on where you hit ("Gut punch!"). And you can get the ball into other gimmicks around the periphery, like a punching bag (the ball is the "bag" and you flip to punch two fists into it to try to keep it from running past them...I'm missing something on this one because I've only made 13 of 23 punches before time out), or a jump rope (an iron "rope" rotates above the ball, you flip to get the ball to skip over it as it passes low).
Hitting the ball up the middle when not in a bout is frustrating, because at those times there's just a big punching bag there and you don't seem to get much from hitting it. It's all that sweeter to hit the two big circular ramps around the outside, then.
Saw a couple interesting ball sticks on this one--hm wait three, actually. Well okay that third was just getting it stuck behind the turned-away boxer, which wasn't all that interesting because the ball check *eventually* cleared it.
One was where a friend had the ball skip into the launch lane just as multiball started, and a second ball was coming up. The balls piled on top of each other in the vertical starter chute, and the machine took a number of attempts to jiggle them into a lined-up orientation that allowed it to punch them clear. A reason not to have a vertical starter chute, maybe.
And I had one where the ball got hung up somewhere, I forget where, and the machine gave me another. Multiball started at some point, maybe just as the first ball came loose, and suddenly I had two balls before any actual multiballs launched, or something. It was an odd situation and the machine dealt with it by switching everything off until one ball drained; then it powered back up and I was back to one legit ball, but still in multiball with easy multiple Jackpot enabled. Sweet!
I ended up liking this game more than I'd expected thanks to the lively boxing action.
|Also, there's a big plastic safety plug that raises up between the flippers sometimes, particularly when in a boxing match. But it can also lower mid-match, and I saw it lower on a friend as the ball was plunging down toward the drain--and out!|| |