Thursday, January 17, 2008

Funky Head Boxers

In the mind-90s, the arcade scene was still going strong and three-dimensional games had become as popular as ever. With the success of games like Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, and Virtua Cop, Sega continued to churn out even more 3D games. It was in this environment that Funky Head Boxers came to be.

Released to the arcades on Sega's ST-V (Saturn-based) board in 1996, Funky Head Boxers stylishly pits two fighters with texture-mapped cubes for heads against one another. The game takes a comic approach to boxing, with fighters donning, in additional to the usual cuts and bruises, some off-the-wall expressions, tears, and even runny noses as they take hits. After a heavy blow, the fighters' heads change expressions and deform. The unique style of the game isn't limited to the fighters though. The audience has the same funky skulls and even the ref is a "block head" with the word "referee" is scrawled over his face.

The game can be played in a first-person or third-person mode, and the controls allow for guarding, punching, and dodging, as well as for special moves that will cause lightning strikes or super moves that need to wind-up for full effect. In between rounds and as a boxer is knocked down, health can be regained by tapping the buttons.

Funky Head Boxers found its way to the Sega Saturn in 1997, but only in Japan. While the game may not be remembered today, it represents a time when the arcades were successful and developers were willing to create games that, if nothing else, at least had unique and novel style of their own.

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