Reviewed: August 24, 2002
Reviewed by: JoLene Lark


Atomic Planet

Released: July 16, 2002
Genre: Sports
Players: 8
ESRB: Teen


Supported Features

  • Vibration
  • Memory Card

  • Get ready for some ear…err...I mean nail-biting inaction with Codemasters and Atomic Planet’s Mike Tyson Heavyweight Boxing for the Xbox. This game was designed to be a complete sports action game that is supposed to appeal to both boxing fanatics and video gamers alike, according to the publisher.

    This game also boasts a unique “unlock” system that allows player to have the opportunity to earn additional boxers, taunts, themes, and signature moves. Finally, you also have the “opportunity” to assume the role of Mike Tyson, or rather his console counterpart for the title belt.

    A challenging boxing game is what I was expecting since I have been playing boxing games on all systems starting with my Atari. Although this game does have many features, there was no challenge for me while playing this game. I was only defeated a very few times and even then I almost had my opponent down for the count. A good boxing/sports game gets your adrenaline going - mine barely fluctuated, and if anything at times I was losing any desire to play this game.

    Tyson provided sixteen licensed professional boxers that included Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon, etc. This game is presented in a TV style that includes ring introductions, boxer statistic and an instant replay option that includes a commentary. There are also signature moves, power ups, fast and intuitive movements that include the basics of blocking and dodging.

    There are up to nine mode of game play including exhibition, speed boxing, sparring, Mick Tyson challenge and Kind of the ring. Also of note is that some of the modes are considered hidden features. This exhibition and belt mode were the types I tried out while reviewing this boxing title.

    This game utilizes common graphical techniques to provide the players forms. Although based on real humans, at times some of the character were inhuman in shape due to their weird head to body proportions. Another annoying glitch I noticed was that all the players seemed to have the same facial expressions no matter what was occurring.

    Of interest for me though were the ring babes. I could tell that a lot more time was spent in the development of making sure their "endowments" moved and looked properly constructed. It was amazing that even this area had graphical mistakes such as a missing bikini strap, mismatched colors, etc.

    Another aspect that I have to mention is the crowds in the arenas. I am sure many of you saw Terminator 2 when the terminator morphs into a crow bar with the silver “hands”, well everyone in the crowd seems to have also been inflicted with this phenomena. Also amazing was the fact at one time I saw five of the same crowd person, all in a row. How hard is it to change the little items like this…evidently more time was given to Mike Tyson’s graphics and the babes, thus the crowds had to be thrown together at the last minute so that the sound track would be accurate with crowd noises.

    Although the Xbox boasts state-of-the-art graphics quality it is up to the game developers to take advantage of it. I have seen these graphical mistakes many times before in games that have been rushed to market, so I can not wonder if this was the case here as well.

    Time was taken in the development process to allow this game to at least resemble a true boxing game with its’ audio quality. An interesting assortment of background music awaits you with this game. Also of note is that the announcer’s accent changes based upon which arena and country you are playing in. The inside the game/match sounds met all my expectations for this game.

    It is the sound quality in this game that made it possible for me to play this game long enough to be able to review it. Kudos should be given to all of the voice actors in this game as well as the music track developers. Crowd noises as well as the ambient sounds of boxing were what gave this game its only bit of credibility.

    The matches in this game were way too sort with TKO’s ending the match all the time it seemed. My minimum time during a match was ten seconds, my longest match only lasted two rounds due primarily to the lack of the developers providing a realistic punishment system on the players. All the game modes seem very brief compared to any other boxing game on the market currently or in the past.

    This game supports a two player head-to-head match. No other form of multiplayer sport play is available. I played this mode with a friend and out of the twenty plus matches we were lucky to have them ever go into the second round and have them last for any length of time over a minute. Each match ends with the showing of the match’s statistics as well as an instant replay of the match’s winning moments.

    I can only half-way recommend Mike Tyson for rental while the other half of me wants to scream at you and tell you to run, don’t walk, away from this title. I believe if a bit more were done with the hitting damage and making it so that the damage was on par with other boxing games this game might have had a chance for success. Game length is, at times, too long in games, however, this if the first case for me where it was much, much too short.