Great boxing games are few and far between. For every Punch Out!! and Fight Night: Round 3, there are half a dozen pugilistic clunkers that litter bargain bins in game stores near and far. As amazing as it may seem, though, we may have discovered the least entertaining one of all. Showtime Championship Boxing would be a lousy looker two console generations ago; in 2008 it’s nothing short of a Mike Tyson-biting-ears-level embarrassment.
Every aspect of Showtime Championship Boxing is baffling, starting with the cable network’s (bad) decision to lend its name to a so-called fighting game featuring fake boxers with half-witted names like Terrible Ivan and Punchbag Pat. The laughably bad graphics, barely-functional controls, and painfully lean game modes seem patched together with Vaseline and Band-Aids, resulting in an experience that comes remarkably close to video game torture.
As you’d expect, the Wii controls are used as your virtual boxing gloves. Flicking either the Wiimote or the Nunchuk forward will translate - occasionally - into your boxer throwing a jab; holding down a button differentiates a standard punch from a power-packed uppercut. Tilting them up and down will guard your head and gut respectively, although the controls are far from responsive. More often than not, our on-screen boxer seemed to punch and duck when he wanted to, as opposed to when we told him.
No one expects a Wii title to sport cutting-edge visuals, but Showtime Championship Boxing borders on being a joke. Inside the squared circle, the boxers move like leaden soldiers, their feet barely moving as they sway back and forth in clunky fashion. The background crowds are particularly heinous, full of shaking statues stuck holding their arms in the air and banging their knees together. From the bizarre boxer intros to the comically horrific knockdown animations - even the excruciatingly ugly round-card girl - Showtime disappoints from start to finish.
If nothing else, the few minutes that you can bear to step into the ring will give your arms a workout. You won’t quit due to physical exhaustion, though, as there’s no chance you’ll make it far enough for that to happen. After a couple of rounds, you’ll have had enough. In the infamous words of Roberto Duran, “no mas!”
Mar 4, 2008