Rocky is one of my all time favorites movies, but it’s been quite some time since we have seen a Rocky game hit the consoles, but the wait is all over, because Ubi Soft was teamed up with Rage Software to bring you the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa.
If I have said this once I have said it a million times, but very rarely does a game based on a movie turn out to be anything above average, but this is one that really doesn’t follow the pattern. The game houses a few different game modes including, Exhibition, Sparring, Knockout Tournament, and Movie Mode. The Exhibition is pretty straight forward, and the sparring mode is actually a fun tutorial (I would recommend doing) to get you ready to take part in the Movie Mode.
Of course the Movie Mode is where the heart of the game is and it’s pretty impressive. You start out in the first movie and through this mode you will not only fight the big guys (Apollo, Clubber Lang, and Ivan) but you will get to fight against quite a few different opponents in a variety of different stadiums. The mode has its ups and downs.
Through the movie mode it will be necessary to train. Well this is really the toughest part of the game. You can choose to auto train, which will train a particular attribute but only give your half the points. Or you can manually train Rocky and try to get the full amount of ability points possible. Now that is truly easier said then done. The game really does not make training easy on you. I only found two of the training modes to be easily completed, and the rest I opted to auto-train. What is nice though about the training mode is you can really tell the difference in your fighter’s ability after training, so you’re not doing this for nothing. You will need to train your opponent to be able to win some of your later fights.
In the movie mode there are three difficult levels, which are Novice, Contender, and Champ. First I would definitely not recommend playing the game at the Novice setting because it’s a little too easy, and you can complete the game that way in one sitting. Now it is up to you whether you want to play the game at the Contender, or Champ setting, but if you feel like you have got the feel for the game then just go straight to the Champ setting, it’s there where you will feel like you’re going to have the best competition.
If you complete the Movie Mode then you will receive the Knockout Tournament, which is basically a tournament consisting of 16 fighters, it’s just a nice little addition to give you something to do after the Movie mode.
Now we have talked about the game modes, but how does the game play out? Well honestly this is probably the best part of the game. The Gameplay is some of the best boxing I have seen for quite some time. This is not a game where you are going to be on the defensive, in fact you will 9 times out of 10 you will be on the offensive, and your opponent throwing the counter punches.
Now I am not saying that the game is perfect - it does have its fair share of flaws. Being a boxing fan, it struck me quite odd when I came to find the scoring. Let’s say you score two knockdowns in a round and of course win the round, well normally that would be scored as a 10-7 round but here it is 10-8. So no matter what, your opponent will get at most 8 points which is a bit odd.
Rocky is one of those games that controls so easily. There is not much of a learning curve, but I would recommend just doing either the Sparing tutorial, or just do a few exhibition matches. Those will get you all ready to start the movie mode.
“It’s the eye of the tiger it’s the thrill of the fight” now if that doesn’t get you all pumped up then I don’t know what will. So if you’re into the music in Rocky then you will like the music in the game. Although the sound in Rocky is not even close to perfect. This is because there is a weird hollow sound to all the voice acting, which sounds quite odd.
Graphically I found the game to be just quite average, and nothing more then that. To start with the character models, which do match the boxers they are trying to portray. Although the character models themselves aren’t overly impressive, they don’t really have a certain degree of sharpness to them that you would expect.
One of the most disappointing factors in Rocky is actually Rocky’s stance. One of the biggest dangers Rocky presented was the fact he was a southpaw, and in the game he seems not to fight as a southpaw but at as if he was right handed. This won’t disappoint most, but for a Rocky enthusiast like myself it was a bit annoying.
A nice little addition to the game is how the punches leave so much damage to the boxers’ faces. We all know the blows to the face are going to hurt, but this just reinforces the fact that those punches have got to hurt.
This is one of those games it would be hard to not have fun playing this one. With the Rocky tunes and the fast and furious gameplay what else could you ask for? The movie mode does become quite difficult when you get down to the final two movies, but with a little patience you should just have one great experience with this one.
Do you like boxing games? If so this is definitely a great option for you to think about. The game plays and feels great, and hey it’s Rocky, what more could you ask for?
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.