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Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2
Review By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Midway
Publisher:   Midway
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Boxing
ESRB:   Teen
Date Posted:   12-27-00

At the height of last year's Sega Dreamcast launch was the release of Midway's Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. Standing out as a game with truly next-generation graphics, R2R (later published on the PSOne and N64) received a lot of accolade for it's fine Dreamcast visuals, but more importantly got booted by the press for its repetitive and overall shallow gameplay. Still, Midway's wacky arcade fighter nevertheless gained somewhat of a solid following in the gaming crowd (more mainstream instead of "hardcore", though), of which created a "demand" for a sequel. As a result, the following up game (aptly named Round 2) has arrived on multiple platforms, with yours truly being the best of all versions. While not totally different from the first outing, Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 does show improvement upon the inaugural outing. The enhancements, however, are still not enough to warrant a purchase for not only buyers of the first R2R, but stands for all gamers as well.

The most noticeable change from Ready 2 Rumble to Round 2 is the update of a boxer roster. Like any good sports and fighting game, Round 2 storms onto the PlayStation 2 with a great set of fighters - 23 in all -- including favorites like Afro Thunder, Butcher Brown and Lulu Valentine. New to the cast, however, is an another class of goofy and off-the-wall personalities, not to mention hidden superstars like NBA giant Shaquille O' Neil and pop star Michael Jackson.

The biggest change to Round 2's list of features is its own championship mode. While not completely different from the first R2R, Round 2 has the player actually train and bring up your boxer. This is done over an actual calendar set of time, in which you must discipline your prize fighter with mini-games and workout regimes that involve button-timing and speed in order to do well on them. The end result can increase and boost your boxer's overall abilities in the ring, which vary from whatever training you do (punching bag, weights, rope jumping, etc.) Arcade and versus modes are still available as well.

The play mechanics and system, sadly, still haven't altered a whole lot from the initial Dreamcast outing. The AI has improved, as the computer doesn't allow the gamer to just flurry punches at him/her without putting up a guard or going onto the offense. But after a while, most players should be able to decipher how to beat a certain opponent in not time, which then presents the game with a repetitious and stale feeling in just a quick notice. Still, Midway was kind enough to improve upon the RUMBLE factor of the game, which now embodies three separate RUMBLE figures. Each level contains a new, more powerful combo, until you reach the final stage in which the player can knock their adversary square out of the ring.

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