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Boxing games have been available on the Wii from day one, as part of Wii Sports, and as one of the most popular games in Wii-Fit, although non has really excelled. As a Wii-Fit user trying to lose weight, the rhythm boxing game is an essential part of my morning workout but after a few months it has got rather boring, and I've been waiting for a good boxing game to come along as an alternative.
Paul Leader from Wii-Fit Forum takes a look at Don King Boxing... On first sight, Don King Boxing looked like the perfect alternative. After all, Don King is one of the best known names in boxing so it's got to be good, right. It supports the Wii Balance Board, and includes a training mode that claims to be a workout, and you earn "Fitness Points" every time you fight or work out. You can have one off fights, or work through a series of them linked by a story featuring a cast of people from King's world of boxing. All in all, Don King's Boxing promised much for the fitness gamer, and I was very excited to get my hands on it.
In free play mode you can play half a dozen games in a row and easily get a better workout than you would get from any exercise in Wii-Fit.
The training system records your activity and tracks your progress, all reassuringly like Wii-Fit. Thinking that this might be a good alternative I started my first session. However, I quickly realised that this was not going to live up to expectations.
My first problem was the length of the session - a maximum of just 6 minutes. That might have been ok if they were intensive, but in reality they turned out to be anything but. The next problem was the poor response of the controls: even with practice I simply couldn't get a good hit rate. Punches had to be almost perfectly timed to register, which rapidly became frustrating when ok shots were repeatedly ignored. Attempts to skip with a rope (yes really) using the WiiMote, Nunchuck and balance board failed miserably.
I'll admit to not being the most co-ordinated person, but I just couldn't get it to work even remotely well. The controls were just too sluggish and inaccurate for most exercises, which was incredibly frustrating. The final problem was the dreadful use of the balance board. Wii-Fit's rhythm boxing combines punches with moving on and off the board in well synchronised and fluid sequences.
In Don King's Boxing though, it's just tacked on to training sessions. Between bouts of punches you get to step on and off the board in slow, stilted sequences, which made drinking a cup of tea seem like a workout. There was simply no effort involved. Overall the training sessions failed to raise my pulse even slightly, although the frustration with the controls probably raised my blood pressure.
The fight mode will give you a great way to burn off some calories, and work out life's stresses.
Having failed to work up a sweat in the training session, I decided to head to the ring for some fights. Don King's Boxing does deliver a decent fight. However I found it hard to throw much more than straight punches; upper cuts and the like just didn't seem to register reliably, which was quite irritating but not bad enough to spoil the fun.
The balance board is used to dodge punches, so it won't get you very active, but makes the game more involved. As far as a workout goes, the fights were more intensive and in free play mode you can play half a dozen games in a row and easily get a better workout than you would get from any exercise in Wii-Fit. After a few rounds, I was getting out of breath and my pulse was up. Of course, like most Wii games, you can play in a lazy way that wont burn a calorie, but if you put some effort in this is a fun way to work up a sweat, despite its control problems.
Don King's Boxing is full of good ideas, but fails to deliver on what's promised. Don King's Boxing should have been the definitive boxing game and I was very enthusiastic about the concept, but the patchy controls and poorly designed training sessions make it just another boxing game among a currently lacklustre bunch, which fails to really bring anything new to the genre. The fight mode will give you a great way to burn off some calories, and work out life's stresses, but I won't be bothering with the training sessions in future.
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