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Teleroboxer

Boxing is a very popular sport. Men from every walk of life have sacrificed everything they had to succeed in it. People around the world are willing to pay cold, hard cash to watch big name fights on Pay-Per-View. Just when you thought things couldn't get better, the robots came along.Teleroboxer takes place in the 22nd century. A new technology called telerobotics has been developed that allows robots to mirror their human controller's actions. At first this was used to get work done in places where humans couldn't, but like all good technologies, it was adapted into a form of entertainment. The sport, called Teleroboxing, was born.

The game takes place during a big Teleroboxing tournament, to decide who is the best teleroboxer. You remotely control the robot known as "Harry."


visuals

The game's character designs are very clever and animated well. Each of your opponents is very detailed and entirely unique. There is also a bit of the 3D Virtual Boy "feel" present.

Beyond that, this title features very little graphical prowess. To say that the fighting environments are weak would be an understatement, as there are no backgrounds to be had at all, just blackness with a couple dinky spotlights on the ceiling. Since your eyes will have nothing to look at other than your opponent and your own fists, you should have no problem staying focused.


audio

I didn't spend much time paying attention to the sound while playing (I was much more concerned about not dying), but once I sat down and focused on listening to it, I was impressed. There isn't much special about the sound effects. It's pretty generic, mostly a bunch of thud and cracking sounds. The music, on the other hand, is pretty catchy and upbeat, but while the fight wears on and you're starting to lose some serious health, the music appropriately tenses up. I may not have consciously noticed it much, but I'm convinced it does well to add to the atmosphere and the varying levels of stress while fighting.


gameplay

Teleroboxer is the Mike Tyson's Punch-Out wannabe of the Virtual Boy. However, unless you are a pro at boxing games, you'll probably spend more time getting punched-out than anything. The game is terribly difficult, nearly from the start. After losing, there isn't much of a drive or push to bother trying again, since you know all you'll get for winning is an even harder opponent. Losing five times in a row to the first (of seven, eight if you maintain a perfect record throughout) opponents is ultimately disheartening, not fun.The game's interface is pretty straightforward. At the start there's a short intro sequence of you punching and your robot mimicking your movement-- eerily reminiscent of Microsoft's Xbox tech demo.

From the title screen, you'll see the three save game files. Included is time spent, wins, and losses. Once you actually get into the game, you'll find seven opponent slots. You'll be able to see whom exactly you're fighting and who you've formerly beaten, but future enemies remain shrouded. Then you're sent straight to the fight.

The fights are of a pretty good length. Even if you get nailed-- trust me, it'll happen sometime-- you'll at least be able to watch yourself get nailed for a good 30 seconds before you're finally knocked out.

You and your opponent have an equal damage meter that goes down a smidgen with every punch. Every round lasts a minute, and then there's a break. During the break, both you and your opponent regain some health slowly. This can actually be used strategically. You can call off the break by hitting A whenever you want. If you're in the lead and want to finish them off, you'd want a shorter break, so neither of you regains much health. If you're trailing, you'd probably want the maximum length break, so you'd have more of a chance to come back in the next round. It isn't much, but it's the only level of non-fighting strategy in the game, since you don't have the ability to select or customize your robot.

The actual fighting is pretty entertaining once you get into it. If you keep your wits about you, most fights at least start out easy enough. The insane difficulty comes in when your adversary's health drops to a dangerous level. Rather than get tired, like most robots, they increase their intensity ten-fold. Usually by the time they started getting hyperactive, I was already sick of fighting them and found myself defenseless to their newfound cheap moves, anyway.

The first opponent is a good example: it starts out nice and easy. Then, it warms up a little; after sticking it out you realize that you're actually winning. Then he starts slapping you like he's trying to play one of those girly clapping games with you. Before you know it, you're dead. This is a pattern that remains throughout the title--making it one of the more difficult and definitely one of the most frustrating games I've ever played.

The game uses both of the Virtual Boy's D-pads to control your robot's action, the left pad controls the left fist's movement and the right controls the right fist. To throw punches it relies on the circular shoulder buttons (L for a left punch, and R for a right punch). It takes some time getting used to using the right D-pad, but it makes sense once you get into it. I found the control scheme annoying at first, but after a few matches, it started to click.

Where the control scheme begins to get confusing is with special moves. If you don't read the instruction manual (or the cartridge you find doesn't have one anymore, which is entirely possible) you'll be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. The moves aren't too complicated, though. With some practice, you might actually pull these moves off regularly. But then again, even if you execute a move perfectly, the odds are tremendously high that your opponent will attack you while your robot is in the middle of a performing the move, nullifying it and damaging your 'bot. This leaves your "machine gun" moves to be used primarily while your opponent is temporarily dazed from a flurry of normal attacks.

There is nothing more to the gameplay than fights. You turn on your Virtual Boy and you fight the next guy on the list in order to get to the next guy. There isn't a carrot in front of your nose to keep you fighting, as you know there is nothing more to the game than just seven fights. You can't learn new special moves, nor are there upgrades. It doesn't even have the cut scenes that Punch-Out had.

There aren't any other modes of play, either. The only special thing the game has to offer if you manage to beat it without losing a single match is-- surprise! Another fight. Since the fights are usually just annoying, this doesn't speak well for the gameplay in general.


multiplayer

N/A


overall

While the difficulty alone is reason enough for most people to throw in the towel, the game definitely has its strong points. Teleroboxer is a very well crafted robot boxing simulation. The game has nice graphics. It also has workable controls, once you get used to them. The music is pretty solid. It can be fun if you decide to stick with it. If you're a big fan of punch-out style boxing and are looking for a challenging title, you should probably check out Teleroboxer. Even if you find yourself good at the title, it only has seven or eight boxers to fight, and lacks any depth outside of that. Just try not to spend more than a few dollars on it.

More often than not, however, the game doesn't give you any reason to keep trying. Unless you find yourself a Teleroboxer natural, you'll probably want to shelve it within 15 minutes (case-in-point: until I did this review, my brother and I had racked up a total of 18 minutes of gameplay between us in nearly 6 years). The overall experience just finds a way to be not fun. It does well in most categories, but the difficulty and lack of any sort of rewards for winning (besides fighting another opponent) doesn't give you much reason to keep playing. This game would have done itself well to just have selectable difficulty levels and some sort of upgrade/prize system for winning matches. Bottom line: there are much better Virtual Boy experiences to be had.


final score

5.0/10