Knockout Kings features 25 boxers, some who are tearing up the ring today and others who fought their way into the Boxing Hall of Fame long ago. Players can pit the greatest fighters of all time against each other in fantasy bouts full of fast-paced arcade-style boxing.
In Career Mode, you begin your quest for the belt as a no-name novice with little respect. The boxer you choose determines your division, divided into three weight classes: Lightweights, Middleweights and Heavyweights. Even if you choose a boxing legend like Mohammad Ali, you'll have to recreate his rise to fame by beginning at the bottom of the ranks.
Between each bout, hungry boxers can work on their offense or defense in Training Mode. The more you hit the gym the better your statistics become. A Quick Train option is available, but the most effective way to pump up your skills is to work out the old fashioned way.
Use Knockout Kings' Create Boxer feature to create a pummeler in your own image. Even if you have a bright purple afro or a yellow mohawk, you can recreate your stylish likeness in the ring. Both traditional and southpaw stances are available, and each custom boxer can be assigned four signature punches or combinations.
The gameplay in Knockout Kings 2000 is fast-paced, with most matches ending in a K.O. before the conclusion of the third round. Play control is tighter than Butterbean's athletic cup, and the competition gets pretty stiff as your boxer nears contention status.
On top of standard jabs, body blows, uppercuts and hooks, each boxer has four signature moves straight out of the highlight reels. Land consecutive blows to build up your boxer's power meter, then press the R, A and B Buttons at the same time to unleash a Super Punch.
Lightweights swing much more quickly than the big men, but no matter which weight class you choose it's going to be a slugfest. Holding the Z Button allows you to duck and weave, but the arcade-style boxing in Knockout Kings rewards aggressive punchers. If your opponent builds up a Super Punch, though, you'll be flat on the mat if you don't block the blow.
A solid visual package adds to the appeal of Knockout Kings 2000. EA Sports put in serious overtime to secure individual licenses for the boxers in the game, and they've made sure that each one is recognizable. Skin textures are ultra smooth, and each brawler's battle-bruised mug is photo-realistic.
After a particularly impressive flurry of punches, the fight can be stopped at any time to check out the instant replay. The camera position and film speed are completely adjustable, which provides an excellent opportunity to check out the lifelike boxer animations. The game automatically records the best punch, combo and knockdown during the match, which can be viewed after the fight.
With its competitive two-player Slugfest Mode and all-star line-up of boxers, Knockout Kings 2000 won't disappoint boxing fans. Fists will start to fly this fall, when EA Sports rings the opening bell. Until then, start chasing chickens and drink two raw eggs a day.