There hasn’t been a decent boxing game since 2011. Just let that sink in for a moment; one of the most beloved sports in the world hasn’t had any true representation in gaming for eight years now. Do you want to rise through the ranks of the UFC? No problem. Do you wish to 5-star frog splash like Eddie Guerrero? We’ve got you covered. Do you want to step inside the squared circle and perfect the sweet science? Sorry, no can do.
Strangely, boxing doesn’t have a litany of games available for its huge fan-base across all platforms, and it’s even weirder that the history of the boxing games doesn’t have that many to fall back on either, at least, not that many that are any good. So what should you play if you love pugilism? Thank God for lists like these I say. What follows is a look at 10 of the best that anyone with even the slightest interest in fisty-cuffs should have played at least once in their life.
Best Boxing Games Of All Time
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
For people of a certain vintage, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out was their first introduction to the world of boxing on a home console. This 1987 release was available on the NES and was as hard and tough as Mike Tyson himself. Oh sure, you’d breeze through the first few rounds and then find yourself tested with the latter stage fighters, but when you got to Iron Mike himself, you were in for so much hurt that you’d get through more controllers than you would victories. If you pick up the game today, however, I can give you a tip on how to knock Mike out. In the picture to this entry, you’ll see a camera flash on the left-hand side of the screen and when you do, swing for the fences as you’re guaranteed to put Tyson on his iron ass. Don’t try it in real life. He’ll eat you.
Title Bout Championship Boxing
Title Bout Championship Boxing started life as a tabletop game in 1979 that continued in that vein until 2005 when OOTP Developments bought it and let loose on PC. It’s also one of my favorite boxing games of all time as it allows you to finally answer the question “Who would beat who in their prime?”. Still going strong even now, it has a roster of 6,600 fighters and allows you to take the greatest of all time and pit them against one another. It also allows you to add in your characters, so if one of your favorites is missing, or you want to see who the toughest Spice Girl is, then that option is available to you. It also has a very active community who are always happy to welcome newbies into their fold and all of this for the low, low price of $12.99.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
It may be about as realistic as the David Haye vs. Audrey Harrison fight from a few years back. The graphics might be as dated as my wardrobe, I swear flares will be back in fashion within the next five years, but Ready 2 Rumble Boxing is that perfect balance of ludicrous madness and brilliant fun that very few games get right. With three versions under its championship belt, there’s enough here to keep even the most ardent purist at least slightly entertained, and if you don’t feel a rush of adrenaline when your Rumble bar is filled, allowing you to unleash hell on your opponent, then there might be something wrong with you.
Creed: Rise To Glory
I’ve spoken elsewhere on this site about how much I enjoyed Creed: Rise To Glory, so I’ll try not to go over old ground but suffice to say Creed: Rise To Glory is a fully immersive experience that you really should lay your hands on if you have PSVR. You can jump into multi-player if you fancy getting your head knocked off online or by one of your friends or you can jump into career mode and rise through the ranks as Rocky Balboa himself trains you. And yes, it really is as great as it sounds.
Alright, I’ll admit it, this is a massive cheat on my behalf as Round4Round Boxing hasn’t even been released yet. All we’ve got are screenshots of what we can expect, but if the developers come through on what is already on offer, then Round4Round Boxing is going to be the most excellent boxing game of all time. It already has a massive roster of real-life boxers involved, and it promises to deliver an online gaming experience unlike anything fighting fans have ever experienced before. So keep everything crossed folks and hope beyond hope that they don’t drop the ball on this.
The movie that launched Sylvester Stallone’s career, and no I don’t count The Italian Stallion as a film, the Rocky series was turned into two relatively successful games during the 2000s. The first one was titled Rocky, and the sequel was called Rocky Legends, and though they’ve both aged, as have many games on the older consoles, they still play well enough to at least be worth a moment of your time. In the first game, you can take the role of Rocky in career mode, whereas the sequel allows you to take control of the four the main characters of the series and play through their stories. It’s still fun to play, and at the end of the day, sometimes that’s all you want from a game.
Part simulation, part arcade brawler, all anime, Victorious Boxers is based on the manga Hajime no Ippo and should thrill both fight fans and Otaku’s alike. It’s fast-paced and hard-hitting and will challenge you just enough that you find yourself coming back for more, each time you find yourself laying on the canvas starring at the lights. It’s spawned numerous sequels as well, so if you haven’t had enough of your Japanese boxing fix after you’ve beaten the first game, then there’s plenty of other titles out there to help quench that thirst.
Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing
For those of you that don’t know, at one point during the 80s Barry McGuigan was the best thing since sliced bread. He held multiple belts in the Featherweight Division and when he finally retired he’d amassed a record of 35 fights, 32 wins, 28 by K.O, and only three losses. He was, to coin a phrase, the dog’s bollocks. He also lent his name to Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing, a 1985 release for the ZX Spectrum and other home computers. It was my first introduction to the sweet science, yes I am that old, and even though I never really got good at the game, it started my life long love affair with the sport.
World Boxing Manager
World Boxing Manager is the, well, Football Manager of the sport. Your goal as is to scout all the talent that come and train at your gym and in doing so, pick out who you want to mold into World Championship material. When you do, you have to set up training camps, figure out the balance between long term gain and short term victory, and do the best you can to make sure your stable of fighters are going to be the ones who bring glory to you and your house. If you fancy a crack at it, then you can pick it up dirt cheap on Steam.
Well, if this isn’t a kick in the happy sacks, then I don’t know what is. I loved the Fight Night series as it had everything I was looking for from a boxing game, it played brilliantly and made you feel as if you were in the ring, throwing punches with the best and as each game was released the improvements made it a must-buy. The pinnacle was Fight Night Champion, a game that came with a story mode that E.A would use in the likes of the FIFA franchise, and even though the last boss was a douche to beat, when you did you felt immense satisfaction. The career mode was great as well, even if it felt a little barren at times, and I threw countless hours into taking created boxers to the top of every division available. It’s also the game that made me drop a personal blanket ban on anything E.A related. Why? I hear you ask. Quite simply. I pre-ordered the game, it arrived, and I found that I’d have to cough up nearly as much for legends that were locked behind a paywall as I had for my copy. That’s right folks; Fight Night Champion was where E.A’s love of micro-transactions all began.