Thursday, 28 December 2017

Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting (DS)

Hajime no Ippo is a comic about boxing that's been running (and continues to run) since 1989, and it's had a few videogame adaptations in that time, too, some of which got brought to the west (presumably after being de-Japanified) as the "Victorious Boxers" seres. Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting wasn't brought over, but there is a partial translation patch out there for it, and, to be honest, even without the patch it's probably pretty easy to figure out.

As you'd expect, it's a boxing game. There aren't really any special gimmicks or anything, just regular old punching. You do havce a super meter, but all it enables are really powerful punches, no special powers or anything. Some mention should be made of the controls: the default scheme is a touchscreen affair, that has you poking and swiping in a bunch of boxes on the bottom screen to do different punchs. Like most touchscreen gimmicks, it doesn't really work, and you'll quickly be using the pause menu to change to some proper button-based controls, which work much better, having left punches mapped to Y and B, right punches mapped to X and A and special punches performed by pressing both button for one hand.

Though I'm not a fan of the old cliche that handheld games are best when they're playable in short bursts (because I personally like to play long handheld games while watching TV), I have to say that Hajime no Ippo really excels at that sort of thing. Obviously, each bout is a few minutes long at the most, and the game saves automatically after each one. So even if you just played one fight everytime you sat on the toilet, you'd still be making a little progress each time. The fights themselves are enjoyable enough, too. It never feels like there's as much precision or as many options available to you as in a fighting game, but punching is very satisfying, and not only does the game never seem unfair, but there difficulty curve is smooth too, and your opponents not only get harder very gradually, but they also each seem to have their own fighting style and tactics.

Between fights, you can also participate in little touchscreen "training" minigames. Your trainer will tell you that these increase your stats, but I can't actually find any mention of these stats anywhere else, and I think he might be lying just to shoehorn in another touchscreen gimmick, as developers were wont to do on DS games, especially licensed ones. I still attempt one before every fight though, because what if he's not lying.

There's not much more I have to say about this game other than to describe the cool little touches there are, like how your face gets swollen as it receieves punches, which manifests-ingame as the edges of the screen getting slightly darker, and you can have your trainer put an icepack on it between rounds to lessen the swelling. Also between rounds is the only time you get to see your own face, and just how lumpy your opponent's made it, which is cool too. Anyway, I have to admit that I haven't played a lot of boxing games in my time, but this is probably my favourite of the ones I have played, and that includes Super Punch Out.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, the manga took a deep dive off a cliff recently.