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Knockout Kings 2001
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:    EA
Publisher:    EA
Genre:    Boxing
Est. Release Date:    Winter 2000
Posted:    8-28-00

When first released in the fall of 1998, the original Knockout Kings was a fresh breath of air to boxing fans. It had been a long time since a good game based on the squared circle had come out, and EA was finally here to answer their prayers. Promoting the best current boxers plus some of the ring legends, Knockout Kings was never short on a selling title. All was not fair, though, as a few presentation bugs and gameplay annoyances held the game back from achieving the same great status that EA Sportís other famous titles had received. One year later the 2000 version of the game improved upon many areas, and now the Knockout Kings license is set to fully turn into a series with the start of Knockout Kings 2001.

Without even reading anything, you can obviously tell that the visuals are shaping up to be a slobber knocker. Nearing photo-realistic measures, EA Sportís attention to detail is matched by no other game. Incorporating the new Cyber-Scan Technology, EA is able to literally scan a boxerís body from head to toe and capture every little detail on their body to produce some of the most realistic game models ever seen in a video game.

Muscles, tattoos, hair -- anything that is a symbol of an individual boxer will be in the game. Textures and light sourcing will add up to a more realistic arena and presentation of the sport as well.

The detail doesnít stop at the graphics though, since EA is planning on adding some new gameplay components as well. For the first time in the series, each boxer will have his or her (yes, there will be female fighters as well) own style of fighting. From Muhammad Aliís swaggering, taunting form to Oscar DeLa Hoyaís quick, cat like moves, youíre favorite boxer (or created one) should act accordingly to how they would in real life. On top of that will by the new Dynamic Punch Control, a feature which will allow the gamer to be in control of every single jab and punch in a combination. This should not only give the boxers a more diverse look, but also add longevity to the title in which you could spend countless hours just designing the perfect series of blows.

A Career mode, which will let you fight for the three different weight classesí belts, should provide depth and expansion that usually only a "normal sport" (meaning football, basketball or baseball) would have. Iím hoping that EA will truly make you work your way up from a small-town fighting arena to the big times and fight at the classy places like in Vegas or at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The audio is also getting a kick as well. Teddy Atlas and Al Bernstien will be the supporting cast to call the action from ringside, and referee Mills Lane will once again be lending himself and his popular "Lets get it on!" quote to the mix. Jimmy Lennon and the ever-popular ring girls should also be making an appearance for the ring announcements.

Considering that KK2001 is the least completed, itís fairly safe to assume that the game wonít be out in time for the PlayStation 2 launch. EA should have the game out by Winter time though, so wannabe prize fighters should get their boots laced and their gloves tightened in preparation for the PS2ís first boxing offer.


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