It's almost as if the Elite team have been in hiding since their last effort 911 TS but they have in fact been very busy, putting together their contribution to the current fad for boxing games: Frank Bruno's Boxing.
Like in Rocky, your view of the action is given from behind your character. The characters are smaller, but they are able to move around the ring to a degree. Unfortunately you cannot control their footwork; this is a shame because this means that not one of the boxing simulations leaves any room for what has to be the smartest tactic legging it.
The program allows for a wide variety of movements. Not only are left and right head punches allowed, but body punches too, and if you opponent is tottering on the brink you can deliver a right upper-cut or even a right hook just to finish him off. You can make you boxer dodge left or right, and should you suspect a biggy coming your way you can duck. If you don't fancy exposing yourself to violence by dodging, you are able to put up a guard although you will have to drop it to deliver the body punches or the upper cut. As the two combatants slug it out, they give the appearance of moving round the ring, but this movement is all controlled by the computer.
The type of blow you can deliver rather depends on the state of your opponent's health. At the top of the screen there are two pictures, Bruno on the right and the current contender on the left. Between the two mug shots a clock, two status bars and a knock-out meter are displayed.
The status bars increase or decrease depending on the performance of the appropriate boxer: if a boxer catches a lot of punches then his status will decrease until he topples. If his status is low but he manages to turn the tide for a while and give the other guy some gyp, then as his opponent's bar diminishes his own will increase.
If a boxer takes a count because his status bar has reached zero, he will get up to find that his status bar has only partially recovered, thus reflecting his weaker condition. The knock-out meter registers the number of successive blows dealt. If you rain down a hail of blows on your opponent, the arrows on his knock-out meter will build up with each punch until they reach the letters 'KO'.
When they flash you can administer your final blows, the hook or upper cut. Should your opponent break your volley with just one return blow, then the arrows will rapidly diminish.
Thus there are two ways you can knock down your opponent: wear him down by reducing his status bar before he reduces yours; or administer a volley of punches culminating with a hook or cut as the knock-out blow. If you achieve three knockouts in under three minutes then you win that round, otherwise your opponent wins on points and you can only ask for a rematch.
After winning your first fight you are given a code which will allow you to load, from tape, the next opponent. The fighting styles of the eight boxers are all different, and each one is harder to beat than his predecessor.
The game keeps a record of the best knock-out times against each of the boxers and also a highscore table for the points scored. If you want to defer a bout to a later date, like after Star Trek, then keep a note of the code number. They aren't so easy to come by!
Control keys: 1/A guard up/down, I/O jab left/right, I/O with 1 body punch left/right, U/P dodge left/right, 0 to duck, any on bottom row for knock-out
Joystick: Kempston and Interface 2
Keyboard play: easier than using a joystick
Use of colour: very little used
Graphics: lack clarity but have a lot of movement
Sound: pretty limited
Skill levels: eight
Lives: three per bout
'The main question we were asked at the ZX Microfair must have been "which do you prefer, Rocky or Frank Bruno?" Well now its time to stop beating about the bush. I prefer, as boxing simulations go, this one. I agree that the graphics in Rocky are a good deal better and clearer but the movement is so limited and repetitive as compared with Bruno. This shortcoming is made worse because Rocky has four different levels of skill but only the one character. For my part, I would rather leave boxing simulations alone, but I think it must be plain that Elite, for once, offers much more'
'Frank's boxing game is the type of game that gradually grows on you. At first, using a fair few keys, things were difficult. Using the joystick alone, the game was unplayable. Eventually, using a combination of both joystick and keys, l began to make progress. The graphics are messy at times when the boxers cross, but they are generally OK. I found this game addictive'
'In my opinion this is the best of the boxing games that I have seen this month. Even though its graphics are slightly confusing I prefer them to Rocky's as there is more expression in the faces of the boxers. There are eight different characters in the game, each with their own personality. The first is a bully type who sticks his tongue out at you if you hit him while his guard is up. You can really get into playing this game as it seems very realistic in the way the boxers move and act. Generally this game is very good, although I can see myself getting bored with it as there are only eight characters to fight.'
Roger: Despite fuzzy, naffola graphics that look like the view through my bathroom window, Bruno's attempts to deal with eight different sparring partners stands head, shoulders and boxing gloves above the competition.
This sparring simulation offers the same back of head shot as Rocco but the knockouts require a great deal more in the way of knuckle-dusting. On top of which movements, fight tactics and programming twists, like the knock down feature, make for maintained interest and complication. Slugging through the screens with our Frank saw me swimming in sweat until I was left out for the count. But it was worth it just to see the crowd go frantic at the front. 4/5 HIT
Rick: If you're gonna beat the brains out of someone, then it's better to do it here. 3/5 HIT
Ross: In the battle of the boxers, it's a knockout to Frank by one fall and two submissions. (Surely some mistake! Ed) 3/5 HIT
THREE boxing games have been released simultaneously - all based loosely on Punch Out!! which is doing so well in the arcades.
Coming out on top is Frank Bruno's Boxing from Elite, more realistic and enjoyable than both Rocco and Knockout.
You have eight fights, before you are proclaimed world champ, against many top fighters including Andra Puncheredov from USSR and Fling Long Chop from Japan.
The two boxers step into the ring, put their fists up and the fight is on. Ducking, slugging and dodging you have to knock out your opponent three times in a three minute round, before moving onto the next bout. A high score championship table adds excitement to the game and is a feature lacking in the other boxing software contenders.
Rather unfairly, your opponent can throw right hooks and uppercuts at will, whereas you can only throw those when the knockout bell is ringing. When you do deliver a KO the result is spectacular - your opponent staggers then keels over. In comparison, the boxer in Alligata's Knockout merely sits down.
Keyboard control in all three games is more satisfactory than using a joystick, and especially in this game. There are eight separate moves which are difficult to simulate with a joystick, though simple with the keyboard.
The monochrome graphics are inferior to those in Rocco, but are reasonably defined. Of the three, Frank Bruno's Boxing is the most faithful version of the original arcade game, including the same scoring system. As usual your energy decreases for each blow received and marks are scored for every correct punch. When those marks reach the KO bell you can go in for the kill.
It's a pity that Frank Bruno isn't a two player game but if you are into vicarious violence - buy it.
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
For those of you who are as brain dead as Frankie pretends to be, FBB is a 'simulation' of a boxing match in the same way as the classic arcade game, Punch Out. You view big Frank from behind and have total control over his dodging, weaving, bobbing, punching, and being hit very hard. Your aim is to win the title by beating hell out of 8 internationally stereotyped opponents ranging from the big but clumsy Canadian Crusher (a lumberjack by occupation) through to the USA champion, Peter Perfect.
Graphics are cartoony and very well animated. Sound is just a few thwaks here and there, but this doesn't detract from the enjoyability. Playability is high, and I can see it being played for quite a while.
Author: To follow
Reviewer: 'Harry' Dillon
MACHINE: Spectrum/CBM 64/Amstrad
PRICE: Spectrum £6.95, CBM 64 £7.95, Amstrad £8.95
Bruno goes all out to KO the opposition in Elite's boxing simulation, endorsed by Britain's top boxer.
The object of the game is to defeat eight opponents in a bid for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Fighting styles differ from opponent to opponent - so simply learning the controls of the game isn't enough.
To defeat each opponent, Bruno - the character you control - has to knock him down three times during a three minute round.
A KO is achieved by reducing your opponents "status" - indicated by a "bar graph" graphic at the top of the screen - by a barrage of punches or by activating the KO meter which enables you to land a devastating KO punch! If you fail to defeat your opponent, you get a chance to have another crack at him.
The screen shows the ring with a huge crowd of spectators surrounding it. You look over Bruno's shoulders at a cartoon style graphic opponent - each of the eight challengers are different. Frank began life as a wire frame figure - as can be seen from our pre-production screen shots. Since then Elite have altered him to become a fully animated and "filled-in " character.
You control Bruno using keyboard or joystick - either way you'll feel as if you've been through a couple of rounds with a real bruiser!
Overall a great sports simulation. The animation is great and play action really addictive. A champion game!
You can duck, dodge left, dodge right as well as landing right and left punches on your opponent s jaw. When the KO sign is flashing you can land a right hook/uppercut depending on whether your guard is up or down. Whether you make body blows or head blows is determined in the same way.
All of which makes Frank Bruno's boxing technically a more sophisticated game than Rocco, the other contender in the boxing stakes this month. If you win the bout you get a secret code which enables you to go on and load in the next boxer. You have to take on eight boxers as opposed to the four in Gremlin's Rocco in order to become heavyweight champion of the world. Each of the boxers has a different fighting style.
Yet somehow the game doesn't succeed graphically in the way Rocco does. Punches don't produce the same squelching effect on your opponent, and your first opponent the Canadian Crusher, could be anything from a gorilla to a barrage balloon.
The screen is divided into two main sections. The upper half shows fight time, score and bonus - together with Bruno's status. The lower half shows a perspective view of the ring, it's fairly easy to defeat the Canadian Crusher, sometimes you can knock him out with just left and right jabs. I'm not totally convinced about the difference between head blows and body blows. It seems to be largely a random piece of luck if your blows have any effect.
The eight boxers are all fantasy characters laden with boring old national stereotyping. Ravioli Mafiosi (Italy) knows all the dirst tricks and uses them without a care in the world. That's not going to endear us to any computer users in Turin, is it?
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