30 Days of Xbox: Rocky

Gonna fly now…
While I’m not someone known for my love of sports (you may throw me out of the country now), I certainly own more than a few sports games for the original Xbox. Just as I did yesterday, my selection of today’s game was done at random with pointing, landing on Rage software’s Rocky.
The licence for Rocky can’t be an inexpensive one, what with Stallone, Lundgren, T and crew to pay off, not to mention whoever actually owns the rights to the films themselves. As you’d expect, it’s a boxing game. Also, the developers spent the money to buy the rights to Bill Conti’s immediately identifiable “Gonna Fly Now”. You know the one.

Yeah, that one.
You’re not going to miss the fact that they’ve licensed Gonna Fly, and it clearly cost them a lot, because you hear it near endlessly in menu themes, and naturally whenever Rocky enters the ring.

Remember that moment in Rocky II where Rocky hits Apollo Creed so hard he dislocates his hips? No?

I played Rocky through to the conclusion of Rocky III (it finishes out at Rocky V, but nobody sane has time for that flaming garbage heap of a movie), just to see if I could catch a run of “Eye of The Tiger”, but no.

Actually, I very nearly didn’t get that far, because Rocky is rather fast as a boxing game, and also rather unforgiving. My first bout, against Spider Rico… well, it didn’t go the Italian Stallion’s way, which rather suggests that in an alternate universe, there’s a whole run of “Spider Rico” movies. Maybe in that universe, the fifth one is actually watchable.

Rocky is… acceptable, but no better than that. Sure, it gets the rough feel of the movies right, but you have to fight through a lot of absolute scrubs to get to the battles you might feel interested in, and even there you’re robbed of some of the drama. In Rocky III, it’s nowhere near as satisfying to simply face Clubber Lang as it would be to fight back and regain your position after he beats you, but all you get is that simple battle.
At the lowest difficulty it’s actually hard not to win, but it ratchets up the difficulty a lot at anything lower than that. You’ve got a lot of scrubs to fight, some pretty poor minigames for training that I quickly gave up on, and, of course, you’re Gonna Fly. A whole lot, as it turns out.

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Outrun 2
  3. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  4. NFL Street
  5. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  6. Rocky
  7. Spy vs Spy
  8. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  9. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

Rocky is at least the easiest game to place in the schedule so far, because it’s competent, but not particularly exciting, even for a combat sports game. As such, it’s better than Spy vs Spy, but not as fun as Disney Extreme Skate Adventure.
Next time: Ice Ice Baby

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