Boxing games on the Wii always kept me at a distance. Since Wii Sports Boxing came out, many thought that form of the Wii would never survive in the ring. But Don King’s Boxing is pleasantly different. For one, most of the punches register on the Wii. 2K Sports inclusion of the accessory (Wii fit Board) make DK’s Boxing as difficult as you’d like it to be. And like most Wii games, close your curtains while you play. Bobbing and weaving in front of any window will have the local watch lady peering through.
Throw your nunchuck… er I mean jab. For the righty fighter the nunchuck becomes your bread and butter punch, the jab. You throw your punches just like you would in a real boxing match (no nail scratching). Left jab and straight rights are the most common. Hooks and uppercuts are you devastating attacks. One aspect of the punching system I enjoyed was the ability to land body blows. Pressing the “Z” button on the nunchuck lands a left body blow and the trigger on the wii-mote lands a straight punch to the ribs from the right. While many will find this cumbersome, I like the idea of controlling your punches. Something Wii Boxing lacked. Lastly, you accumulate lightning bolt icons when you deliver successful hits on your opponent. Pressing the “C” button and landing a devastating blow will cause massive damage. You’ll feel that on your rumbling Wii-mote.
Story mode through the ages. I’m a huge boxing fan and I love epic matches. Don King Boxing mixes in the old fights during story game mode. As your character “The Kid” progresses after his first couple of fights, you’ll be given advice in the form of a “flashback fight”. During this time your trainer will remind you of several big fights and how those boxers battled their way through. From there you are instantly put into the position of that fight and your outcome has to be reproduced. Instantly, I was looking through the eyes of Legendary NJ boxer, James J. Braddock against the ruthless Max Baer. The fight becomes strategic because of how you have to defeat Baer. The fight sets place back into the 1920’s and you fight in none other than, black and white. I really liked the classic boxing look 2K Games incorporated here.
Train for what? While the guts is in the story mode, 2K has decided to dangle in front of us Practice mode. In practice mode you can hit the heavy bag, speed bag, jump rope etc. Don’t forget, the Wii Fit board is also utilized here. You can work on your combos in a DDR style except with punches.
Unlock the Venues and Boxers. As I explained earlier, story mode allows you to take on epic battles with legendary boxers. After you complete that match you will unlock that boxer. During story mode is the only way to unlock venues such as; Madison Square Garden, Boardwalk Hall, and Trump Taj Majal. I found the roster of Don King: Boxing surprisingly good. Here’s some boxers you will be able to unlock; Max Baer, James J, Braddock, Floyd Patterson, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Larry Holmes to name a few. So strap the gloves on and use your jab. Over 20 real life boxers are featured in the game. I was surprised because none were used to market the game on the cover. I think that alone would have generated more of a buzz. Instead they decided to feature the made up character (The Kid) in a boxing robe.
No Customizing for you. The game does a great job of avoiding repetitiveness. They mix in a great movie storyline with famous actors and Don King all talking about your rise to the top. The smart idea of using “The Kid” pays off since that’s who everyone refers to you as. I did not like how the character was not customizable in story mode. The name for story mode is fine, but let me change my boxers short or at least change his hairstlye. 2K Games should know better by now that people want to see themselves on screen, especially in the ring!
20 real life boxers
Soundtrack (short but good)
No online game play
Opponents go down too easy
Training mode is disappointing
For the hardcore boxer, this game may peak your interest. I loved going toe to toe against the legends with the clever black and white graphics and classic old school venues. But unfortunately, the game play is short lived. Don King: Boxing is better than Wii Sports Boxing because of the additional content and real life boxers. But with Punch-Out!! coming to the Wii in May, this title will only be a negative memory for Don King’s future investment in video games.