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Review: 'Knockout Kings 2001' packs weak punch

Platform: PlayStation 2

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(IDG) -- As always, "Knockout Kings 2001" delivers gaming's best roster of famous boxers, including Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, and more. As in its PlayStation counterpart, you can go toe-to-toe in the arcade-style Slugfest, square off in more realistic Exhibition bouts, or create a boxer and battle through the ranks to the title fight. In fact, if you've played the PlayStation game, there isn't much reason to upgrade to the PS2 version -- as far as gameplay and features go, they're identical.

GRAPHICS: 3.5 -- If it were a Dreamcast game, "Knockout Kings" would look sharp. For a PS2 title, however, it's kind of a disappointment, sporting well-detailed boxer models that look a little too cartoony. Also, some collision-detection flaws occasionally mar the show.

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SOUND: 3.0 -- The low point of "Knockout Kings," the audio just doesn't measure up. Lame music jangles in the background, while the commentary is either really repetitive or not even connected to the action. The sound effects during bouts, though, are engaging.

CONTROLS: 4.5 -- It's hard to imagine that a PS2 controller can pack in this many moves, combos, and more, but "Knockout Kings" pulls it off with ease. The game is simple to start playing, and, with practice, you'll unlock a lot of depth.

FUN FACTOR: 4.0 -- "Knockout Kings" touches gloves and starts swinging with terrific controls and deep, exciting gameplay. It's too bad that the lackluster graphics and sounds prevent it from becoming a truly memorable champion.



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