It is no secret that amongst hardcore gamers the Dreamcast is one of the most beloved memories in recent years. The plethora of original titles that flooded the system has sparked many a debate, even today, about revisiting the well for remakes. Atari has opted to take this and run with it in their latest Wii title: Ready 2 Rumble Revolution. The original game was a quirky arcade boxing title featuring over-the-top characters like Afro Thunder and “Big” Willy Johnson, and garnered quite a following with smooth controls and an excess of style. The Wii interpretation brings back everything that made the series great, but the inclusion of motion control quickly becomes the game’s biggest enemy, as they remove most of the simple enjoyment from the game.
This is really disappointing as what is here is actually quite enjoyable. You begin the game by creating your character from scratch using various facial types and body styles. You can also customize your apparel giving your creation a style of its own. While options are limited, at least you get a chance to create something that isn’t a default choice. As you can imagine the championship mode consists of moving from fight to fight with a series of mini-games in between to improve your skills. You also earn cash for each fight that can be exchanged for new clothing options such as shorts and shoes. In addition to the single player journey you can also partake in one of the several other modes including team fight, tournament and of course versus modes, as well being able to tackle the mini-games outside of career.
As with most games on Nintendo’s waggle console, Revolution employs the idea that shaking the controller is better than the traditional mindset. The problem arises in the fact that the developers seemed to have tried too hard to create a series of moves and actions that require too much precision for the system to handle. The tutorial will work wonders, as it teaches you the basics of each move, but much like anything else using them in-game is much more difficult. For example when playing against another human being things are not so bad. You are both struggling with pulling off the exact combination, and most of the time failing. However, when trudging through the single player experience the computer continues to increase in difficulty, and pinning down the motion controls never becomes second nature. This leads to frustrating exercises in repetition as you square off against the same foes time and time again.
The biggest reason for this is that the motion controls quickly become too complicated for their own good. Simple actions such as jabs are performed with a simply flick of the remote, while more complicated motions require you to swing the controller back and forth in a precise motions, that is just too convoluted to work within the context of the game. This is a shame too, because the game itself is actually a lot of fun when it works. If the developers had simply stuck with a traditional control scheme, Revolution could have been the spiritual successor to the classic Dreamcast title we all hoped it could be.
Like I mentioned when playing multi-player this becomes less of an issue as both players have the same handicap. However, this also means that most matches turn into rampant bouts of arm flailing, which if you are not careful can do a lot of damage. The single player game is where this becomes the most frustrating as everything is focused around advanced attacks, and they are required the further you get into the game. Even the mini-games in between each bout that allow you to increase your skills are based around this control scheme. So it is impossible to improve your stats when you have trouble pulling off some of the more complex motions.
Visually the game is actually not an eyesore like a majority of stuff you see on the Wii. The cartoon-style layout lends itself well to the over-the-top motif of the game, and the animations are surprisingly detailed. Each character in the game is modeled to spoof a famous Hollywood personality. Some of them are dead on such as Brad Pitt from his roles in Fight Club and Snatch and Jack Black from School of Rock, while others are a bit harder to make out like David Hasselhoff. Michael Buffer also makes a return with his signature phrase rounding out the nostalgia of the title. Sound wise this is some pretty standard stuff here. The sound effects are repetitive and uninspired, and the music simply blends into the background making it nearly unnoticeable unless you are really listening for it. The commentary is mildly humorous the first five times you hear it, but quickly becomes rasping after several repeats.
The biggest disappointment of Ready 2 Rumble Revolution is its wasted potential. There is a quality arcade boxing game buried under that motion-controlled mess, and you really never get a chance to experience it. The developers seemed to have spent so much time focusing on the control scheme, and trying to make it work, that they forgot to make it fun and accessible. If the game had implemented regular button controls it would have easily been one of the most recommendable titles on the system, but as it stands the motion controls found in Revolution cause more aggravation than most gamers have the persistence for. However, if you are a fan of the original games and have zen-like patience, there is a great arcade fighter buried beneath the irritating controls.