Don King Boxing review

Don't hail to the King, baby

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Well-rounded boxers

  • +

    Hip-hop soundtrack with Run DMC and the like

  • +

    Controls are better than Ready 2 Rumble


  • -

    No variety in the challenges

  • -

    Can't customize your boxer in story mode

  • -

    Shallow and pointless options

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There was once a time when promoter Don King was a major force in the world of boxing. As such, 2K has roped in the great man and has attached his moniker to their latest big-gloved games. But his magic touch has failed here – Don King’s Boxing is a lightweight, getting floored in the first round and swallowing its teeth.

Your view is in-body like Wii Sports, with a similar control scheme. Thrusting forward jabs, swiping releases a hook and jerking upwards unleashes an uppercut. Holding B releases a body blow and A raises your defenses, letting you duck and weave with a waggle. Stringing combos together lights up a bolt by the adrenaline meter which, when holding C, releases a powerful blow on your opponent. All trained up, into the ring we go…

…Only to find there’s little to do. In Story mode you’re given an uncustomizable character called ‘The Kid’ and shown his career through ludicrous documentary cutscenes involving Don King and pals. Big names like Joe Calzaghe sit there telling you how they championed Kid at an early age. It’s a nice idea but it drags on so much that you end up skipping most of them due to hammy overacting. Don King is supposed to immerse you in ‘the world of boxing’, but take away all the glitz and glamour and you’re left with a poorly presented game where you fight in empty stadiums with awful crowd sprites cheering you on. Punches sometimes won’t register but it barely matters – even if you get knocked down a few times you only have to floor your opponent once or twice before they give up.

Exhibition mode offers two-player bouts with a roster of boxers, although Don’s personal stable is surprisingly empty (no Holyfield or Tyson?). Balance board support is barely worth a mention – it lets you weave during a fight but you’re better off using the standard controls. Training mode is better but four exercises are slight compared to Ready 2 Rumble’s full deck of modes and customization. If this were one of Don’s poorer boxers, he’d sever all ties with him. Sorry, Don, but we’re going to have to do the same with your game.

Mar 31, 2009

More info

DescriptionThis boxing game may have Don King and balance board support in the ring and with real-life training exercises, but it is so shallow that it's barely worthwhile.
US censor rating"Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"16+","16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)