Thursday, February 19, 2009

Andre Panza Kick Boxing

Loriciel / NEC

This disaster accounted for one of my most bitter childhood Turbo experiences. I was psyched for APKB because I thought a kick boxing game would be extremely cool, and my anticipation intensified when VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine gave it a positive review. I ended up terribly disappointed with it.

One-player mode doesn't call for any skill at all. I simply use two moves I like (one an in-close shot and the other a stay-away attack) over and over again and either whittle my opponent's health down to nothing or land a random "killer blow" at some point. During my very first trip through the game, I spent so little time in the training mode (which features timing and button pounding exercises for raising attributes) that when I initially reached Panza, I wasn't allowed to fight him, as my stats, according to the game's figuring, were insufficient. So I had to waste time mashing buttons in training mode before I could beat the living daylights out of the champ.

Funnily enough, over the years I've come to accept Panza for what it is, and I don't mind it so much now. Landing a knock-out blow is good for a bit of a rush, and there are worse ways to bide time than by handing out some beatdowns (though having to train is still annoying). Some elements have actually always been appealing: the combatants are animated pretty well, and you get to transition from empty arenas to packed ones once you prove yourself worthy of facing the top-tier fighters. And I suppose it's kind of amusing (in a sad, sad way) that the end credits consist of a single screen, a good chunk of which is occupied by a "Special Thanks" list. (The PCE CD version's ending sequence does include a credit roll.)

Build up your stats in the lame training mode to earn the right to compete against the "tougher" fighters.

Crush a few ham-and-eggers and you'll make it to the big time.

Bullman stood no chance.

This match with Panza was tight and looked like it would go the distance...

...but in the end, even the champ couldn't stand up to me.

I'd rather not.

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