Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 – PS2
Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date (NA): October 23, 2000
Nerd Rating: 7.5/10
The year was 2001. Bruce Buffer’s loud announcing brushed my eardrums at just five years old. I wandered to the living room, saw my father playing this game he’d just bought, and immediately found myself enthralled with the experience. For days on end I’d marvel at the chance of boxing as Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jackson. I would kick ass with former President Bill Clinton. I would decimate the boxing ranks with the accurately named Afro Thunder. What game am I talking about? I’ll answer your question with a follow up question…Are you ready to rumble?
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 was a boxing game released across platforms, but was well noted as a very early PlayStation 2 game. It plays out much like what you would expect from a boxing game, but with more soul and personality than something like Fight Night and about ten times more fun. As stated, the gameplay is mostly standard. Jabbing, uppercutting, and on occasion, actually blocking. Each character does feel different though, each with their own unique (i’ll give it stereotypical) personalities. Each playable character has a lot of charm, and with the gameplay mechanics, they all feel quite different, many having different types of jabs and such to perform, as well as spouting some admittedly, pretty funny lines. (I’m looking at you, Afro Thunder!)
For the most part, the actual fighting plays out incredibly smoothly, with few problems that would actually ruin an experience, especially if you’re playing with a friend. However, after you get better at the game and do things such as the game’s arcade mode, you’re in for a literal world of hurt on certain things. First off, the RUMBLE mode is complete and utter bullshit. Quite simply, by taunting and just sort of punching around, you build a RUMBLE meter, basically represented by all the letters that make up the word “rumble.”
After you get RUMBLE once or twice and activate it, you’ll have the ability to pull of some incredibly sick combos and do insane damage. Unfortunately, its after you build up the third word that things start getting a little bullshit. As I said before, the meter isn’t hard to build up, it inevitably happens just about every time you fight. When you go in the third rumble mode, you can perform an insane combo that always results in a one hit KO, making players who perhaps aren’t as good at the game sick of the experience quickly, as well as it taking away a lot of the actual skill involved with playing the game if you master this technique.
The faults unfortunately don’t end with the Rumble meter. As you get better at the game, you notice that even challenges in the arcade mode can be overcome quite cheaply by outsmarting the poor computer AI. I have literally won the hardest fight in the game by continuing a low jab in a loop, confusing the AI into getting an easy TKO for me. And, really, this takes away from the overall experience of playing the game alone. With another person, luckily, this game is usually a blast, especially when you bolster the roster with unlockable characters. Since all of these unlockable characters are fun in their own ways to play as, this game has an overwhelming amount of replay value for a sports title.
You’ll want to play through arcade mode multiple times. And, given the game’s interesting sense of humor, some of the characters, you’re bound to form a bond with. Shaquille O’neal, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. I mean, what kind of outrageous game lets you box as the president and actually be amazingly fun? Scratch that, what game lets you box as Shaq and Michael freaking Jackson?! Both of which are awesome to plays as! Ready 2 Rumble. That’s the only answer.
While the frustrations I mentioned earlier can be somewhat distracting, the saving grace is its replay value, and its local multiplayer, something we take for granted as gamers in this day and age. With tournament mode, you and your friends can see who the best boxer is in an awesome tourney style, and besides this, there is also a career style mode where you train yourself and fight in fights. While the career mode is a bit bare bones, its incredibly fun, and as much of a story mode as this game gets and really needs in the first place. Ready 2 Rumble really channels Punch Out! and sincerely feels like a true arcade boxing experience.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 improves greatly on the formula its predecessor presented. Expanding the humor, and driving home the traditional arcade fighting elements we’ve all grown to know and love. While technical difficulties here and there are a bit groan worthy, I don’t think these take away from the overall fun from this game and its seemingly bottomless pit of personality and humor.
I have not, to this day, played a boxing game like this one that literally felt as genuine and as fun as this experience was (other than Punch Out!) And, as said, despite the hiccups, I don’t believe these distract from the fun you’ll be having with this game (especially once you unlock Michael Jackson ;)) My Nerd Rating for Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 comes out to a 7.5 out of 10, for its exceptional gameplay, humor and personality, but minor technical deficiencies.
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