Posted by Dave Frear
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
Teleroboxer is a boxing game that puts you in control of a giant fighting machine as you face a series of weird and wonderful opponents in a bid to become the champion.
The game uses a first person perspective with your fists visible on screen. The left d-pad and L control your left fist and the right d-pad and R control your right. It feels very natural to play and, combined with the 3D effect, it puts you right in to the fight. The audio is effective too. The various music tracks are excited sounding although you don’t really notice them as they sit in the background drowned out by the swooshing and swinging noises of the various punches. Landing a punch leads to a solid thud sound, which is good but it’s a bit strange that there are no clanging metal effects in the game.
You can guard, duck or dodge your opponent’s attacks and throw jabs, body blows, hooks and uppercuts – it plays a bit like Punch-Out!! with robots. You can also do rapid-fire versions of all these attacks by charging them first. For example, holding down on both d-pads then pressing L and R together will perform rapid uppercuts. These attacks obviously do a lot of damage but you are leaving yourself open to attack whilst charging and should your opponent punch you, not only do you receive damage but the charge is lost, so you have very few opportunities to actually use them.
The other fighters look detailed and have different attack patterns and moves so you have to alter your tactics depending on who you are fighting because their style may allow certain punches to be avoided with ease. Their own attacks can be anything from fast and light to slow yet powerful. Just like their punches, your opponents vary visually: as well as some standard robot designs there’s a fembot, a gorilla-like brute and a robot kangaroo (complete with joey). The fighting arena is a lot less detailed than the fighters as it is all black save for some lights on the ceiling. However, it’s not that noticeable as the other fighter takes up most of the screen (and you’re too busy fighting to pay the background any mind).
Each match consists of five one-minute rounds, at the end of which the player with the most energy wins. Unusually for a boxing game, there are no knockdowns, only knockouts. Once your energy bar is depleted, you’ve lost. In between rounds both fighter’s energy slowly recovers, and this adds a bit of strategy as you decided if to get back enough energy to allow for some mistakes or if to just go straight into the next round and hope to quickly finish you opponent off before you hit the deck yourself.
The game initially seems very hard as you struggle with trying to figure out where your opponent’s punch is going to land and what’s the best move to counter with. There’s no gentle introduction to allow you to get used to things and you will most likely suffer quite a few defeats before you get anywhere with it – making you pleased there’s a save feature. However, once you’ve got the hang of it, Teleroboxer becomes a lot easier as you learn to figure out what your opponents’ various movements mean and when is the ideal moment to attack.
You will find that each fighter is vulnerable to a certain punch that, when found, unfortunately makes the game very easy. In the worst instance it’s possible to keep taping away to perform an uppercut and not pay any attention to the screen, safe in the knowledge that you will do more damage to your foe than he will do to you. Whilst this is not the same for any of the other fighters, you will still find yourself using perhaps only two or three moves per fight.
Fights are unlikely to last the five rounds. Get your fighting strategy right and you will easily have them finished within two rounds. Get it wrong and it’s you who will soon be knocked out. Getting knocked out leads to an excellent effect. The final punch smacks you in the face causing a crack to appear onscreen, followed by static before your robot looses all power and things go black. This is followed by a post-fight screen where your opponent tells you how rubbish you are, accompanied by an annoying laugh. Annoying in a good way though as it inspires you to go for a rematch and smash the smug git’s face in. Upon defeating someone their machine breaks apart leaving it’s operator to make an embarrassed exit. It’s a satisfying sight but the effect is lessened by the applause from the crowd that seems to consist of all of three people.
There are just seven opponents to fight, making it a very short game. There is some replayability present though as to get a shot at the title – and the hidden eighth character – you have to defeat all opponents without loosing. This might take a little longer than you think as, until you are completely familiar with the best tactic to defeat a fighter, you could easily pick up the odd loss... Especially against one opponent in particular: a robot that is quite literally a ticking time bomb who takes you with him when he detonates. Upon winning the title, you get to defend it (no new opponents sadly) until you lose at which point your save file becomes unusable and you must start again.
The Virtual Boy does a good job of immersing you in the fight with the large, detailed and varied opposition. You will have a great time blocking and punching as you try to find the best way to battle your opponents, but once you’ve done that things become very easy with the only challenge being to see if you can manage an unbeaten run. That there are only eight other fighters in the game is also disappointing. In short, Teleroboxer is fun whilst it lasts – unfortunately that’s not very long at all.