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‘Fight Night’ is a knockout

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By Johnathan Kroncke

(EA Games)

By Johnathan Kroncke

It will leave you sweaty, breathless and begging for more.

“Fight Night Round 3” for the XBOX 360 is more than just a great game; it is an experience unto itself.

While other titles like “Perfect Dark: Zero” and “Ridge Racer 6” have already come out for the XBOX 360, they are little more than shiny revamps of their predecessor.

“Fight Night Round 3” is the first game to come out for the next generation of gaming consoles that fully shows what the XBOX 360 can do with all of its power and hype.

Players can choose the weight class that they want to compete in and each weight class has its own set of real-life fighters to choose from. Fighters range from current stars like Diego Corrales and James Toney to the great fighters of the past like Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali.

In the training area, players can hone their boxing skills by wailing on training dummies, punching bags or learning new combinations against a sparring partner. Players can even boost their fighter’s muscle mass by lifting weights. Of course, this area comes complete with a cranky old trainer who gives encouragement or shouts criticism depending on how well you do.

The game does offer a career mode, but the majority of gamers will enjoy beating their friends’ faces and egos in the toe-to-toe versus mode. Three rings are available to fight in at the start of the game including two gyms and one arena.

Perhaps the most exciting mode of game is the ESPN Classic mode. Here, players can actually watch footage of classic bouts between the likes of Jake LaMatta and Sugar Ray Robinson, and Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Players can also recreate these battles if they wish.

It is rare to find but “Fight Night Round 3” has almost no flaws. The only improvement that could be made is to add more boxers to choose from. One noticeably absent star is Mike Tyson, arguably the craziest athlete in all of professional sports and one of the most dominant fighters of his era.

Among its many attributes, the most stunning is the graphics. Without question, “Fight Night Round 3” has the most accurate and life-like visuals of any game on the market. Everything from the fighters’ muscles to their bloody mouths looks frighteningly real.

If a fighter connects with a haymaker punch, the game replays the scene in slow motion, allowing the player to get a good look at the blood and sweat that goes flying as well as the ripples in the muscles and cheeks from the thunderous blow.

With a handful of disappointing launch titles, the XBOX 360 came out of the gate looking like it was not worth the lofty price tag. However, “Fight Night Round 3” has delivered hope with the speed of a knockout punch. It has shown gamers the true potential of the next generation of gaming consoles and has left them drooling for what could be next.

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