The Champ
Copyright/Publisher: Linel, Converted By: Pantheon Software, Graphics By: Chris Edwards,
Music By: Bill Conti, Programmed By: Andrew Bowen, Sound Effects By: Martin Walker,
Designed By: Markus Grimmer, Concept By: H. Melcher & W. Trumler, Endorsed By:
AWBC - World Boxing Council Release Year: 1990, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

I reckon this one was a bit underrated at the time of its release (74%, Issue 59). Like Barry McGuigan it includes a training section, but here this involves some neat arcade sequences.

For starters, warm up with a bit of skipping - time it right or get your legs tangled up! On the punchbag you waggle rhythmically to hit it as many times as possbile within the time limit. The sandbag is the most skilful exercise: you have to repear a sequence of punches perfectly.

As well as improving your fighter's stats this also helps you get used to the controls - not that they're that complicated. By pushing fire with joystick direction you can do left/right hooks, jabs, body blows, uppercuts and the tastefully named 'killer punch'.

This knocks down your opponent - if he's got little energy left he probably won't get up in time to beat the count. To defend against this and other punches, you can guard your head or body, or even do some dancing!

If you can't knock your opponent out, you can still win on points at the end of nine three-minute rounds. Victory enables you to challenge a tougher opponent - beat the top guy to become world champion. Or you can practise your pugilism on a friend in the two-player mode.

Either way the action is very realistic with lots of strategy - the computer boxers certainly aren't brain-dead and you can't risk using the same move on them too much. It's a tough game, just like the real thing, but highly appealing with some nice backdrops (the ring, gym and back street) and well-animted fighters. It's a knockout.