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Black & Bruised PS2 PlayStation2 Playstation 2 PStwo

Black & Bruised

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Review of Black & Bruised

One of the nicest things that happens as soon as you start the game is you are told that the game uses an autosave feature and that your memory card needs to be in the PS2 before you even start the game. Nice to know that it will autosave, so it is one less thing to worry about. Before getting to the Main Menu, you have a brief clip showing all of the boxers in different arenas. Nothing special here, so on to the game.

From the Main Menu you are presented with 9 Options, 5 of which pertain to actual boxing. There are 1P, 2P, Tournament, Boxers Life and Survival. Before leaping into one of these modes, it is highly recommended to choose the Training mode. From Training mode, you choose the boxer you wish to be based on their attributes. Some are stronger, some a longer reach and others can move about the ring faster than others. Remember the big guys may be stronger, but as a smaller fighter, the old bob and weave is a wonderful technique against a big lumbering ox. When in training mode, you are pitted against of all things a Crash Test Dummy. Here is where you can practice all of your combos. There are 20+ combos per fighter and they are not the same for all fighters. The toughest part of this game is trying to memorize them. Some combos take up to 7 keypad strokes. This seems a little excessive. We tried to learn a few combos and a few defensive, punch-blocking moves. Sometimes a good defense is the best offense. Once you get the feel for how to throw a few combos you can exit Training Mode at any time.

The other modes of play are 1Player and 2Player, which are just that. In Tournament mode you first must choose a character, then a level, Amateur seemed like the best one to choose starting out. You opponent is chosen for you. It is a 3 bout Tournament. If you beat the first opponent, your next bout might be in a different arena. Prior to the match, each fighter has their own short opening speech. During the fight the fighters will show bruising and swelling from getting hit just a few too many times. In between rounds the fighters will hurl insults back and forth. This is quite comical. In Survival mode, you will need to beat the other 18 fighters, yes all of them, but to win the match, you only have to know them down once. There are 9 different scenarios to choose from to fight in, an Irish Pub, a junkyard, a castle and the list goes on. Finally there is the Boxers Life. Each life consists of 6 chapters. There is a brief history of the fighter, how they got to where they are now. Then it’s off to your first match. If you win that match, there is yet another short story that takes you a little further into the life of the boxer before you get to your next match. But beware, during the story, you may sustain an injury where you may have to protect your ribs or head in your next bout. If you happen to lose your second bout, you have the option of trying again. Even if you choose not to, your status is saved so that you can start from that point the next time you use that particular fighter.

Power Ups are very useful during the game. Some power ups are like little bonus moves. To get a better description of what each power up does, you need to access the Power Ups option from the Main Menu. This should be one of the first places to visit after you finish the training mode. When you knock a fighter down, it usually take 4 knockdowns to K.O them. The fighters seem to get up at the same intervals no matter how badly you are beating them. First knockdown, they are up in 3seconds, 2nd they get up in 6 seconds, the 3rd knockdown, they are up in 8 or 9 seconds and the 4th knockdown is a KNOCKOUT.

Graphically, the games characters move smoothly although the characters themselves are a little jagged. Then again this is an animated, cartoon like boxing game in the vein of the all too popular cel-shading that we appear to be getting bombarded with lately. Watching the characters swell and show the signs of bruising due to their lack of blocking punches and just being out-boxed is nice to see. Brings a little bit of reality to the game. The arenas that you fight in look a little different that the actual characters in the ring. Reminds me of the cartoons we all watched as kids where you could tell the background from the moving characters. The sound effects are nice for the game and the boxer’s grunt and groan when hit. The characters do use a few vulgarities when they get beat and there are some suggestive insults, but this is what would normally go on inside the squared circle. There is a little music appropriate for each fighter in the pre-fight introductions, but after that, there is not much music. Who wants to hear music when they are in the mood to beat their opponent’s head into the mat.

OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Black & Bruised' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.

This review was written by Bill Gibbs © Absolute PlayStation

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Review Summary:

"Once you learn a few combos and how to enable the Power ups, you should be on your way to beating the brains out of your opponents. Those tired of the realistic boxers will enjoy Majesco’s venture into the world of BLACK & BRUISED with Cel-Shading. You are pitted against a varying range of cartoon-esque opponents, each with their own story of how that came to compete for the ultimate in Prize Fighting. This game is a nice change of pace for fighting games. Only downside we see is the number of combos you would have to memorize, but that would all come in time and repetition of gameplay. Graphically, it is not superior, but it is supposed to be more like a cartoon and how many cartoons look real?"

Score Breakdown:

Graphics  15/20
Playability  43/50
Sound  7/10
Lastability  18/20

Our Recommendation:

This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.

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Black & Bruised was created by Digital Fiction and is a Fighting game.


· 19 distinct cartoon-esque characters with colorful personalities, unique stories, custom AI and individual statistics

· 21 different fighting arenas with animated backgrounds

· Cel-Shaded – High quality cartoon shader creates a Disney-esque feel and exaggerates gameplay

· 18 Power-ups add strategy to fast-paced bouts

· Detailed facial expressions

· Combos! Each fighter has more than 20 different combos

· Real Time Damage

· Six different modes of Play

· More than 40 insults per boxer to keep the matches heated

· 5 difficulty levels to challenge the most accomplished player

· Special effects – Impact bursts, power ups personalized “stun imagery” all contribute to the cartoon feel of the title


• DVD Media
• 43 KBytes required on Memory card per save (min)
• Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap2)
• Uses Dual Shock2 Pad Buttons
• Uses Dual Shock2 Pad Analog Sticks
• Uses Dual Shock2 Pad Vibration facility

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