Review by JayCMalone

Reviewed: 10/28/05

Ippo makes his debut in the Gameboy Advance!

Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting is a boxing game based on the manga/anime Hajime no Ippo or in english; Fighting Spirit. Ippo is a shy guy who helps his mother run their fishing business. Since he is helping his mother, he hardly has any time to make friends that's why bullies always picks on poor Ippo but one day, while the bullies was beating the hell out of Ippo, a stranger named Takamura saved him. Ippo was then taken to a boxing gym and discovers his boxing potential. The game has 5 modes; Story, Tournament, VS, Sparring, and Customize mode.

The story mode follows Ippo's journey to become a champion. The story is very well accurate and tries to follow the manga or anime series. Those who read the manga or watched the anime will know the steps. For example; Ippo only knows uppercut when he first fought Miyata but when he moves on to Jason Ozuma, your character now knows the move "Liver Blow" which Ippo used against Jason Ozuma's move "Hook." in the manga or anime series. The story mode gives Hajime no Ippo fans and newbies alike a refreshing start.

In battle, the game plays is in First-person perspective meaning you can only see your opponent and your gloves but not your body. The gloves acts like your arms. When you attack, the gloves will animate an attack like you, yourself are the one making an attack! The only bad thing about this game being in First-person perspective is that you cannot move from right or left but there are some characters that can. If an opponent attacks you and you didn't press any button, you will automatically defend the attack but you can't just sit around and defend. No! The more you defend, the more chances your arms will get tired. If your gloves turn reddish it means if you take another hit or two, you will be unable to defend yourself, thus giving your opponent an advantage. You can avoid an attack but you must avoid it in time. Press the dodge button a little bit late and your opponent will send his punches straight to your face. There are five basic attack moves; straight punch, weak uppercut, liver blow, left hook, and right hook. To accomplish one of the moves, You must press the attack button with a directional button. If you press upward then the attack button, you will perform a weak uppercut. Pressing the downward then the attack button will result the move liver blow. Pressing the attack button alone results a straight punch and so on. Some characters have different basic moves such as Mashiba performing flicker jab rather than a straight punch. There are a lot of characters so it's fun to experiment with them.

Each character has powerful moves called "Spirit moves." Spirit moves are the character's trademark moves and these moves are very powerful but requires Spirit. You can get these so-called spirits by dealing damage to your foe and when the Spirit gauge fills up, your spirit level goes up by one and the bar will refresh back to start.

Tournament mode lets you fight all the characters you beat in the story mode. First choose a character then you will fight all of the characters in order or you can choose your customized character and test him out. Of course, I will deal about customization later on.

Versus mode is Multi player mode which requires 2 copies of the game. There is no single-cart mode here and that's a shame. Multi player plays just like the game. You choose a character or your customized character and fight each other.

Sparring mode is where you test some of the character's moves or just find a good combo to pull. Just select one of the characters or your customized character and test him out.

Customize mode is self-explanatory. This is where you create a character. You must pick one of the characters from the game and the one you choose will be your portrayed character. You can't make your own portrait but you can buy him moves in which you earn in Story or Tournament mode. You can increase your boxer's attack, defense or guard level and you can choose your desired spirit moves.

The graphics are well done and the character portrait are brilliant. Very accurate to the manga drawings but don't expect eye-candy graphics here. All characters and the referee has voices! That's one really cool addition because it can pump-up more action.

Well, that's the end of my review. I gave it a 7 because after you are done with the story mode and customizing your own character, there is nothing to do but just sit this game in your shelf. It takes just one day to finish the story mode and takes three days to fully customize your character. It's an average game but I had fun. If you are a Hajime No Ippo fan or a newcomer, I recommend this game but don't expect to play this game for a long time. Even though it's japanese, you won't have a hard time dealing with the game. Buy it.

Rating: 7

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