This was yet another official license from Elite Software, who seemed to nail nearly all TV and personality tie-ins (such as Airwolf) for ages during the 1980's. This boxing arcade game was released in July of 1985 and went on to be a big hit.
Frank Bruno, or 'Big Frank' as he was known was very popular in the UK during the 80's and 90's. Getting him to endorse a boxing computer game was a smart move.
This one was based loosely on the classic arcade game Punch Out, taking a similar graphical viewpoint and use of moves. Elite software managed to create a decent and playable boxing arcade game with varied characters who had different ways of fighting.
The aim of the game was to fight your way through eight different characters to become the champion. All of the characters were cartoony and non-serious - the first opponent you took one was the 'Canadian Crusher' - a big bearded bloke dressed in dungarees.
The viewpoint of the game was sort of behind big Frank looking towards your opponent, with the ring-ropes and crowd behind whoever you were fighting. The top portion of the screen displayed your opponent, time left in the round and both characters energy bars.
The usual moves were included such as head shots, body shots, bob left and right, uppercuts, hooks and so on. You could also raise and lower your guard and even duck (useful for dodging powerful attacks).
Each opponent had equivalent shots to you - and each opponent had a special move (such as a head-butt, a flying kick etc). These special moves could only be ducked otherwise they would put you down in one go.
Big Frank also had a special move. As you landed each blow, a meter would rise and rise, and as long as you did not take a hit, making it rise enough would signal the KO sign to flash. Once it was flashing you could unleash Franks powerful right handed knockout blow which was unstoppable and could floor your opponent in just a few hits. You know what I mean!
The game was quite tough and each fighter you faced required slightly different tactics to defeat them. Movement around the ring was all computer controlled and was not really part of the game.
Our Frank was a popular figure in the UK which helped sales along nicely. Many gamers were familiar with the arcade game Punch Out which also aided the selling of the game. This title also recieved a good score in Crash magazine (86%) and it was probably the best boxing game of this type that was available on the ZX Spectrum.
The Test of Time:
We here in the land of ZX Spectrum games reckon that this arcade game is actually okay! It's very simple and doesn't quite manage to eclipse boxing on the Nintendo Wii, but the funny characters remind us of the era in which it was made. Landing the KO blows is still good for a laugh too.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download this game for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Gonna Fly Now!
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: July of 1985
RELEASED BY: Elite Software
DEVELOPER(S): Andy Williams and Trevor Perks
PRICE: £6.95 - UK
Big Frank shows his power against the Canadian Crusher in more classic arcade game action:
Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games