Don King Boxing - Nintendo Wii
Don King, for those of you unfamiliar with the boxing world, is an American promoter and one of the most well known personalities within the sport. He earnt his stripes in the 70s by promoting fights with Muhammad Ali and later with Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
This is his boxing videogame. It's a million miles away from the Boxing game included in Wii Sports, so if that's your reference point then abandon it. It aims to be considerably more realistic by recognising different actions and turning them into different punches.
The control system is absolutely crucial to get right in a game like this, and it pains us to say that it's not 100% there. While it's great at working out when you're throwing a punch and when you're not, it's not so hot at differentiating between the punches.
As a result your jabs turn into uppercuts. Your straights become a the right hook. You could argue that getting good at a game like this involves working out how to tune your movements so that the game recognises it right, but we don't subscribe to that. A game's control system should never be the difficulty factor.
Thankfully, the introduction of the Wii Balance Board (which is optional) isn't as inaccurate. It's easy to dodge left and right by physically dodging. Having an opponent flail wildly above your head while you duck into a stomach punch feels pretty good the first time you manage it.
As good as the dodging is, the raw feel of the "hitting people" part of the game isn't nearly as impressive: there's a disconnection from the action. It never feels visceral or intense. Admittedly, we've not experienced the thrill of smacking someone in the face in real life, but it's got to be better than the leisurely poking of Don King Boxing.
The difficulty is set pretty much right. Early fights are a walkover, but the game ramps it up gently, challenging you without pinning you helplessly on the ropes. You'll start by knocking out every opponent in the first round, but don't expect that to last long.
A story mode, narrated by a whole cast of Don King's mates, is immersive and fun. You play "The Kid", who makes his way to boxing stardom, and the story is told between a retrospective documentary and a series of text messages you receive.
There's some light RPG elements - completing matches will up your stats, as will training. It's in that training that the game tries to mimic Wii Fit's success by giving you daily graphs and challenges.
VerdictThe concept behind Don King Boxing is great. A rags-to-riches tale of a newbie Boxer taking on the world's best, with narration from some of the biggest stars of the boxing arena.
However, inaccurate controls and a woolly feel mean that there's only a limited amount of joy and a whole lot of frustration to be had from Don King in his first outing on the Wii. This one's for Boxing fans only.