Today on Games You Probably Haven’t Played, we have Showtime Championship Boxing.
Developed by Nikitova Games and published by DSI Games, it was released in late 2007 for the Nintendo Wii. In addition, a game by the same name was also released on the Nintendo DS at the same time, although there are likely at least minor differences between the two due to system differences.
As you can probably guess, Showtime Championship Boxing is a boxing game. Simple enough concept, right, and one which should have been well able to take advantage of a Wiimote and Nunchuk control scheme. Add to that the fact that this game carried a Showtime license – one of the bigger names in televised boxing – and this game should have had all the potential in the world to be a big hit among boxing fans. And yet, it wasn’t. So what went wrong?
Near as I can tell from my recent efforts to play this game almost everything went wrong. For a little background, I picked it up years ago because it was cheap. And while it had potential on so many levels, it failed to reach that potential in almost all of them.
Let’s get ready to rumble!
First, let’s start with what this game did right. The rings and boxer models are realistic, unlike Victorious Boxers Revolution, which was released a couple of months prior. Also, the single-player mode has two weight classes with three classes of belt each that you can fight for, with each successive class of belt being unlocked when you beat the previous one, as well as the champion boxer of the belt you just won. The result is a decent amount of gameplay for a boxing game.
My praise ends there, though. Almost everything else about this game is broken in one way or another. First off, this game carries a Showtime license. So, obviously, they’ve licensed real-life boxing arenas, right? Nope. But at least they licensed some real-life boxers, right? Nope.
Instead, we get randomly created wrestlers with names like Lazy Lorenzo and Punchbag Pat, to name a couple of examples from the heavyweight division. These are merely aesthetic issues, of course. But, at least to serious boxing fans, the use of real-life arenas and boxers would be a big deal.
Still, that issue would be forgivable if the gameplay didn’t seem completely broken. First off, you would think that the game would just mimic the movements of the player. Logically, height and the angle of each punch should be determined by how the player moved the Wiimote or Nunchuk. Blocking height should be determined by where in front of them the player held the controller. At least, that would make sense, right?
The actual control scheme in this game is based more on what tilt-level you have the Wiimote and Nunchuk at and how they are facing. This determines punching and blocking height and the types of punches. It’s a convoluted system and would take any player some time to get used to it.
I say would instead of will because I’m not convinced that the game reads the angle and tilting of the Wiimote and Nunchuk as well as it should. I read the instruction manual multiple times to try to figure out what I was doing wrong. By my last attempt, I was convinced that the issue is as much or more that the controls are broken than it is that I’m just bad at the game. That being said, I do not completely discount the possibility that the latter might be a partial factor in the issue.
Still, this game was published by a company that is not known for releasing high-quality products on a regular basis. I won’t go so far as to say that the game is impossible or unplayable because, by my final attempts, I had at least gotten to the point where I could sometimes hit my opponent, but learning the control scheme and how to get around the input limitations will take some time even for those who are serious about wanting to do so.
That said, I doubt very highly that there are many such people. This game offers little to keep you coming back for more. The boxing matches are fought basically in silence. There are some passable sound effects, but there is neither music nor commentary during the rounds. Admittedly, I don’t watch boxing, but I would imagine that televised matches have commentary just like any other televised sporting event, so that’s a pretty glaring omission.
Long story short, odds are that, if you have a Wii, you have Wii Sports. As you probably know, that has a boxing game. Showtime Championship Boxing has more realistic graphics than just two pairs of gloves on the screen, but there is nothing else that would make me even start to be inclined to recommend it. If you’re a boxing fan, I’m sure there are far better options out there, just maybe not on the Wii.