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Gamecube Reviews: Knockout Kings 2003


Knockout Kings 2003 Screenshots

The Final Say!

Knockout Kings 2003 - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 22 December 2002
Review Score: 8.8/10 
Distributor: EA

Knockout Kings 2003 has finally hit (pun intended) the GameCube and it's the most realistic boxing game to ever grace the console. Knockout Kings 2003 is an amalgam of an arcade boxing game meets boxing simulation and it comes together perfectly. 

Knockout Kings 2003 Features

  • Trade Leather in Slugfest Mode - Punch and power your way to the top in a radical slugfest mode featuring brawls with bells, progressive boxer damage and selectable special punches.
  • Trade Punches with the best - go to blows with boxing's greatest, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoy, Evander Holyfield & more
  • The Sweet Science - An unprecedented game engine delivers the best-looking graphics and most realistic boxers ever
  • Take Your shot at the title - Fight you way to the championship against the world's best title holders in Tournament mode
  • Stick & Mode - Knock out the best with faster and more furiour fighter control.
  • Dolby Digital Surround Pro Logic II
  • 1 - 2 Players simultaneously
  • Memory Card - Uses 5 Blocks
  • MA 15+ Rating


The game supports a variety of different gameplay modes that include Exhibition, Slugfest, Tournament and Career mode that is the main emphasis of the game.

The Career mode of Knockout Kings 2003 virtually lets you create your boxer from a blank template and you can give them your own personal touch that includes a variety of changeable attributes such as body shape, facial expressions, stance, tattoos, nicknames, trunk and glove design and you can even create your own super move. 

Once your character is created, you are awarded 200 points to distribute among your boxing skills such as strength, speed and punches that lets you build up your boxer's attributes. Once this is all done, you must then select which division they will be boxing in and this ranges from light to heavy-weight. 

The Career mode in Knockout Kings 2003 lets you start at the bottom of the boxing world and hopefully (if you're good enough), make your way to the world championship to become your very own knockout king. In order to proceed through the boxing rankings, you must win your boxing matches and when you do this, you are awarded new attribute points that you can divvy up among your skills to specialize and power-up your boxer.

Apart from the detailed Career mode, Knockout Kings 2003 features a new gameplay mode called the Slugfest that is arcade boxing at its greatest and lets you have unrealistic boxing bouts with super boxers. In order to knockout your opponents, you must hit a certain part of the body in a row to spell out a word such as "HEAD" or "BODY" and once this word is spelled out, you are awarded a super-punch that is guaranteed to knockout your opponent cold. The artificial intelligence is extremely fair, unlike a few games that have recently hit the PlayStation 2 and once you have worked out the gameplay and control system of the game, you will find yourself becoming an expert in not time.

The control system of Knockout Kings 2003 will take a little getting use and is more a thinking man's boxing game then a button masher. You basically use the analog stick to move your boxer when engaging another opponent while (A) is used to jab, (B) left hook, (X) right hook and (Y) is a straight right punch. The left trigger blocks, the right trigger is used to change the power of your uppercut and the Z-trigger is used to unleash your boxer's specialised punch.

Graphically, Knockout Kings features some of the most realistic character models I have seen in a boxing game for a long time and the real-world boxers that are featured in the game look like who they are suppose to be, so Muhammad Ali looks like Muhammed Ali and Evander Holyfield looks like Evander Holyfield. The character models in the game also perform all the various moves that real boxers perform such as stances, bobs and weaves. Another impressive feature of Knockout Kings 2003 is the awesome lighting effects that is used throughout the game. The game also maintains a beautiful 60 frames per second to ensure for some awesome gameplay. The most disappointing feature of the Knockout Kings 2003 is the cardboard crowd effects that are littered throughout the stadiums in the game. 

When it comes to sound, Knockout Kings 2003 features all the right punches, blocks and knockouts you would expected to hear in a real boxing match and there are some awesome crowd sounds in the game that unfortunately do not match the strangely lifeless crowd effects. The game also features commentary done by Larry Michael and Max Kellerman who boxing enthiuasists will recognise as America's face... well sound of boxing. Musically, Knockout Kings 2003 features a variety of different styles of music that range from rap to hip-hop and is only played in the menus of the game and when the boxers are entering the stadiums. 

Knockout Kings 2003 is a fun title for the GameCube and I would recommend this game to anyone who loves sports, boxing or fighting games on the world of console gaming, with great gameplay and even better multiplayer fun, Knockout Kings is the kind of the game that is a must have for GameCube owners. Check it out!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com