Universal Boxing Manager (PC)

By Casey Bach

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 6.00
Sound: 3.00
Gameplay: 7.00
Replays: 6.00

When I first booted Universal Boxing Manager, it was a brand new experience for me. For one thing, I had never played a Shareware game before. For another, you don’t actually box. You take the role of a manager, book events, train your boxers, and hire new fighters.

Since much of the game is spent looking through menus, there must not have been a lot of time put into the graphics. There are some 3D characters, but they pretty much don’t move. You have the generic boxers, some of which look exactly alike. Then, between rounds, there are the ring girls. They don’t move, and just stand there holding up a sign that says what round it is. The last 3D character is the announcer. When the match begins, you have to watch from an overhead view. The only way that you can tell which boxer is yours is the color that he is wearing. Sometimes, the boxers get a little bit glitchy, and shake around in the corner. As you can probably see, not a lot of time was spent on graphics.

Basically the same goes for the sound. The developers must not really care about the presentation too much. The sound effects in the menu are just a sound of a bell or punch when you click something. In the ring, there is no music, just the crowd, which they actually do well. When the boxers are holding their punches, the spectators will quiet down. The boxers themselves only have two effects: the swoosh of a missed punch, and the unmistakable sound of a hit. Also, there is a thump when someone falls down, and the bell. It’s nothing groundbreaking really.

The concept is what will get your attention. Instead of being a boxer, you manage boxers. You choose how to train them, giving more attention to the categories that need more work. You can try to talk to them to boost their moral. You have to renew their contracts, or sign new boxers. Most importantly, you get to book fights. I was upset to find that there are no special training strategies to use between fights. Then, between every round, you choose one of three choices in three categories. You choose to go for head shots, body shots, or a medium amount of both. You also decide if your boxer would benefit more from an offensive plan, good defense, or quick movement of the feet. Lastly, you choose your role. You can concentrate on motivation, healing injuries, or both. There are also three pictures of your boxer’s nose, eyes, and stomach. If he is getting beat up, it will show. In the ring, you pretty much have nothing to do but watch. That’s my problem with the game; you are pretty much along for the ride. You earn money, but have nothing to spend it on but your boxers. I guess the reward is supposed to be the fights, but I don’t find them incredibly entertaining.

I wouldn’t buy Universal Boxing Manager unless the concept of being the manager really interests you. If it does, it is available for Mac or PC at
http://www.winterwolves.com/pc_mac_games3.htm for $24.95.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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