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Have a thumping great time; KNOCKOUT KINGS 99.

NEVER, ever play this with that friend who hates to lose - you could easily spill the action off the screen and on to the sofa.

But, if you get your hands on a copy of this disc and some easier friends, then you might find a pleasant surprise at the heart of the game.

Unlike other boxing games, this disc isn't just about taking on a good boxer, or even one or two of the world's greatest - but the greatest pound for pound boxers that have ever stepped between the ropes. With 38 all- time greats to go up against, you pretty quickly need to develop a virtual iron jaw to stay on your feet for more than a couple of rounds.

The likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, Floyd Patterson, Leon Spinks, Marvin Hagler and a whole host of other greats of the ring are present.

And these are more than just standard boxing figures with a different head stuck on different coloured shorts - these virtual boxers actually box in the correct style, stance and personality of their real- life boxing models.

Which means you can have old-timer Rocky "Raging Bull" Marciano up against Lennox Lewis and see who's better.

It also means that this is so much more than a standard button basher. You have to study your opponent and alter the way you play and train to be able to take him on with any hope of winning.

This is an impressive disc that mixes good-looking graphics with some highly playable action - the whole package has been created with a strong overview which results in a great, solid game.

Maybe not for everyone - and, if you don't like boxing, you might not get much of a buzz from this disc, but Knockout Kings 99 is one of the best examples of virtual boxing seen so far.

LIBERO GRANDE

STRANGE name, strange game and a good pedigree - Libero Grande was an arcade footie game by Namco that Sony had high hopes for.

The great appeal at the centre of the original arcade version of this game was that you could take on the role of a single player within a team rather than the more traditional approach of playing the whole team during a game and selecting the nearest player to the action.

A nice idea and, thanks to some clever coding, the better you get as an on- pitch player the more likely you are to be passed to and played into goal- scoring positions.

In the arcades this new format of play almost worked - but, even with a huge computer to number crunch, it never quite felt as controllable as you would like.

Now with the Playstation version things have gone downhill. The concept of following one player through an entire match is still a nice one - but the PlayStation just isn't up to the task and the result is a very frustrating disc.

Nice looking and a nice idea but, all in all, a rather sad disappointment that lets you down both on a playability level and on the PlayStation technical level to cope with the required number crunching.

Maybe the rumours in the computer games industry are right, maybe the Playstation is beginning to look its age, maybe it just can't cope anymore.

Sony, of course, are already gearing up to produce the next generation of the PlayStation, to combat the Sega Dreamcaster and Nintendo's new machine.

Perhaps, looking at it kindly, Libero Grande is really a game designed to be great on the next generation PlayStation and just released too early. No? Thought not.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 8, 1999
Words:602
Previous Article:IT'S WICKET; BRIAN LARA CRICKET.
Next Article:theNET; Back to some virtual reality.


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