Ring King

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North American NES box art.

Ring King is a boxing-themed video game developed by Wood Place and published by Data East in the arcade in 1985. It was later ported to the NES, Vs. System, and the MSX2.

I first played Ring King on the NES at my brother's friend's house. We all thought the game was really funny when we first saw a boxer getting punched across the ring. We weren't very impressed with the annoying name and password entry, although we did find a shortcut changing the default name, "PLAYER 1", to "SLAYER". We played the game in 2-player mode, but my brother would cheat with a turbo controller. Once we tried to train a boxer to become more powerful, we realized how slow-moving the game is, and, after seeing the powerful stats of the world champion, we didn't have the patience to train long enough to reach him. I still thought the game had promise, but, after playing it again when I was older, I found out just how poorly designed the game was.

Status

I do not own this game, and I have not beaten it.

Review

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4 3 4 2 2

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The super punches that send your opponent flying around the ring are hilarious.
  • The NES and MSX2 ports add a career system where you get bonus stats in training which you can apply to your character after successfully defeating enough opponents.
  • I like how you can maneuver around the boxing ring to take advantage of punches and hugs. This is something that I feel is missing in most boxing games.
  • The ability to regain hit points by mashing buttons between rounds is a nice mechanic, although, the programmers didn't consider turbo controllers.
  • I like the power-up block that is sometimes thrown into the ring. This is a clever way to speed up the training process.
  • Across the ports, several of the puns used for the names of the opposing boxers are worth a chuckle.
  • I like the use of digital voice for the ref's count.

Bad

  • There is only a single boxer sprite (who looks like a 1970s porn star). The game swaps palettes to give the illusion of different boxers, but, it's not a very convincing illusion. The MSX2 port at least attempts to add variety with unique character portraits, but the boxers still look the same.
  • The punching system is strangely designed. The type of punch you will throw is dictated not by your controls, but by the position your opponent is standing in relative to you.
  • The game doesn't have a victory condition. In the arcade, the opposing boxers just keep getting harder until they eventually beat you. On the NES in Ranking mode, defeating the highest ranked world fighter simply causes you to have to fight him again and again until you lose. In Tournament mode, if you successfully defeat all your opponents, you're simply told to "try again."
  • The NES port uses an annoying dynamic difficulty system where challenger boxers are always considerably more powerful than you are. While this makes sense in Training mode, since you learn from your superiors, it is also used in Tournament mode, so, no matter how much you train and boost your stats, the tournament opponents will always outclasses you.
  • It takes too long in training to raise your player's stats.
  • By letting you challenge the highest ranked world fighter at any time, the game misses an opportunity to have the player experience growth throughout the game.
  • The game doesn't have any decent music. The soundtrack is short and almost entirely fanfares and jingles.
  • Only the person who is knocked down can regain lost life during the countdown. Although this helps balance the game, it doesn't make very much sense.
  • Password entry is slow and annoying.

Ugly

  • The game is highly repetitive. You'll probably see everything the game has to offer by your second match, and, after that, you repeat the same thing forever. Even 2-player mode isn't much fun because of the poor controls.
  • Because the punches occur so quickly, pressing the defense button in time to successfully avoid a punch is practically impossible, even against the slowest of opponents. However, an AI opponent doesn't seem to have any trouble blocking your punches no matter how high your speed gets.
  • The MSX2 port suffers terrible sprite flickering.
  • The character portraits of the MSX2 port are racist caricatures.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Graphics

Videos

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English (North America) (NES) Ring King
English (North America) (Vs. System) Vs. T.K.O. Boxing
English (UK) King of Boxer
Japanese (Arcade) キングオブボクサー Kingu obu Bokusa King of Boxer
Japanese (Home Consoles) ファミリーボクシング Famiri Bokushingu Family Boxing

Links

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