Saturday 2 January 2016

Teleroboxer (Virtual Boy review)

Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1995

Teleroboxer is a first-person boxing game and a launch title for the system in America and Japan.

You play as a robot called Harry and your goal is to win the Teleroboxing Tournament by defeating seven challengers (plus a hidden fighter if you go undefeated). The matches consist of five, one-minute rounds and you must deplete your opponents strength bar to zero; if it goes the distance the winner is the boxer with the most strength remaining. It uses the controller in a unique way as the L and R triggers throw punches from each side of your body. You can combine these with the d-pad to pull off a range of attacks such as Body Blows, Uppercuts and Hooks. Likewise, when used on their own both d-pads control your left and right fists for blocking or dodging shots. There's also special attacks you can use by holding button combinations until your fists start to flash. The gameplay is vaguely reminiscent of Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! (1987, NES) except fellow boxers have little personality and aren't very memorable; the only one that's slightly interesting is the fourth opponent (Picky) as it must be beaten within 50 seconds otherwise it explodes and you lose the match! The controls sound intuitive but the amount of buttons and combinations you need to memorise makes the learning curve frustratingly high. Even the first CPU opponent is no pushover and will quickly pummel you if you button mash as it's more of a simulator than an Arcade take. Defensive strategy is important as you block shots and then counter punch to soften up your opponent. Unfortunately, it's all just very dull as the gameplay is uninspired, monotonous and rigid in terms of how you need to beat each fighter. Even the music is generic but at least the first person perspective shows what the system can do from a virtual reality standpoint. The game also saves your progress and individual fight record.
Teleroboxer is a mediocre boxing game with convoluted controls, brutal difficulty and none of the classic Nintendo charm that made Punch Out!! so special. There's nothing else like it on the system though so if you enjoy methodical, slow-paced sports games you might get some short-lived enjoyment out of this one.
Random trivia: During the end credits you get to punch portraits of the development staff!

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