Reviewed: May 19, 2009
Released: March 17, 2009
When the original Ready 2 Rumble debuted around the launch of Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast console, it served a veritable sucker-punch to many of the 128-bit doubters with its super-sharp toon-shaded visual styling, over-the-top characters, and ultimately enjoyable gameplay. Those still loyal to their original PlayStation consoles were treated to a slightly lower-res – but no less enjoyable – port of the Dreamcast title.
So here we are many years later, and Ready 2 Rumble comes back for a rematch in Ready 2 Rumble Revolution. But this return is less than triumphant, as it comes across as little more than an uninspired Wii remake (Wiimake – is that a new genre?) that is muddled down with poorly implemented motion-based controls.
Much like the original, Ready 2 Rumble is a fairly straightforward boxing title that pits a cast of over-the-top characters against each other in a series of bite-sized arcade style matches. Rather than simply reusing the racially questionable fighters of the previous releases, Revolution’s additional cast of pugilists have been parodied to look like popular entertainment icons, resulting in an almost Celebrity Deathmatch experience.
Gamers are provided a fairly extensive character creation mode to design a boxer using a variety of body types, faces, clothing, and even personal characteristics like fighting style. From there, gamers are taken to a tutorial training mode to help introduce the incredibly complex motion controls that make up Revolution’s exhaustive gameplay.
One would think it would be easy to throw punches around using the Wii remote and nunchuck – but Ready 2 Rumble’s controls are frustrating enough to leave even the toughest of fighters in tears.
Part of the problem is that the game does not seem to receive more than half of the signals that are being sent by the Wii controllers – and of those that it does receive, only half of those are recognized and acted upon. The rest seem to fall to the wayside, lost to the brutally precise flicks and flips required to initiate special punches.
If I berate games for button mashing then Ready 2 Rumble is the Wii equivalent with its mindless brand of maniacal swinging – I was more worried about my boxer getting tennis elbow than I was about him catching a cauliflower ear. It just seemed like nothing I was doing connected with the opponent, including the game’s lame attempt to being in an element of blocking and dodging. Wii Sports boxing did a better job at motion controls as Ready 2 Rumble, and that’s a downright shame considering the decade-old pedigree.
I will say that Ready 2 Rumble Revolution looks pretty darn cool, with the same crispy toon-shaded visual style that looks just as impressive today as it did all those years ago. The fact that the characters take on damage is an added bonus, and adds to the cartoon mystique.
On the audio front Ready 2 Rumble could use a bit of work, with its heavily recycled sound effects and announcer clips. The sound snipped begin repeating themselves within the first couple of minutes of gameplay, and do so for the duration of the game – which is pretty darn long considering that each match pretty much lasts to the 5 minute decision throughout the lengthy career mode.
Completing the career mode unlocks a variety of additional fighters, but none are all that memorable, aside from the Jack Black lookalike in his School Of Rock-era schoolboy uniform a la Angus Young. Nacho Libre might have been a better pick, but the kids like Jack Black nonetheless, so he became the character of choice at home.
All in all, I probably would have liked Ready 2 Rumble Revolution a whole lot better had the game featured button-based controls. I’m all for reminiscing on the past, but this is one remake that did not benefit from its Wii makeover.