By Fair Means Or Foul
Copyright/Publisher: Superior Software Limited/Alligata,
Program & Graphics By: Jason Benham, Original Idea: Michael Simpson,
Release Year: 1988, Genre: Boxing, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Your mother may not like it but somehow deep inside you, there's always been this hankering to be ... wait for it ... a DJ, an electric blanket, a summer pudding, PG's teacup? Er ... no, actually, a boxing star.

First thing you have to leran, mate, is that yer average boxer doesn't get to be famous overnight. Nope, he's got to work his way up the league and beat six opponents (played by the computer or friend) on his way from Junior Champions to mage superstar.

Oh yeah, he's also got to learn to cheat. Oh no, not really cheat? Well yes (shock, horror, gasp!) - but only once or twice. In each round, which lasts for 60 seconds, you can opt for a load of everso respectable moves (you know: guards, ducks, punches, upper cuts) and one or two not-so-respectable ones at all like the kick, head butt and groin punch.

Thing is, you only get away with a foul when the ref isn't looking or asleep (asleep?). A colour-coded cheatometer shows you when it's safe to throw a crooked punch.

The object is to deprive your opponent of five lives before he gets his sweaty paws on yours. And how do you lose a life? Getting caught throwing a foul punch, losing all your energy or having less energy than your opponent at the end of a round, that's how.

Good job you can have a go in the practice ring before you start. Oops! Nearly forgot the obligatory boxing joke. Know what I mean, 'Arry?

Gordon Houghton
Talk about blocky graphics! Whoever decided to pass these purple, pug-featured sprites should get an eye-test - and pretty quick too. I mean - when one of the fighters gets KO-ed he collapses all over the ring like a burst salami.

Shame really, because the game itself is pretty good: there are loads of moves, the opponents are tough enough to give a good fight and there's all the excitement of punching fouls as well.

Not only that, you get a practice session as well so you can get used to the moves before you go into the ring. I have to admit that I've never yet come across a boxing sim that I haven't found a teeny weeny bit boring (give me a good beat'em up any day) but if you're a bit of heavyweight fan, this is definitely worth checking out.

I reckon the most important thing about a boxing sim is how well it simulates the boxing (I have these brill ideas sometimes) and when it comes to that, you can't really fault By Fair Means Or Foul.

Well, not as long as you don't mind playing with lives. Personally, I was a bit disappointed to find that if you knock your opponnet out he can still go on fighting in the next round. Not very true to life, that.

Erm... as for the rest of the game, it looks as if it's a throwback to two or three years ago: the graphics are badly-drawn and blotchy (who ever saw a purple boxer, anyway?), the sound is pretty basic and the presentation isn't all that hot. Still, if gameplay is all you care about and you're a wacky boxing freak give it a go


Two-player game and practice options. Password system lets you skip opponents you've already played.
Primitively drawn purple sprites prance around against very basic backdrops.
Simple honky-tonk title ditty plus minimal punching effects.
Practice option makes it easy to get into...
...but with only six opponents and not all that much variety that might not last
A competent boxing sim let down by badly-designed graphics and basic sound.