|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ghostfire Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ghostfire Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 15, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Which brings us to this game's most important improvement on the Punch-Out!! gameplay formula: it feels a bit more fair. The ability to level up is helpful, even if it only increases the damage you inflict (or decreases the damage you take) by a few percent here and there. The combo system, in addition to making it more fun to hit your opponents after dodging, eliminates the intense frustration that goes along with losing your hard-earned stars to cheap attacks in Punch-Out!!
That's not to say the game is easy, however. It starts out rather reasonable, but soon enough, you'll be leaning forward, gritting your teeth, memorizing patterns, and wondering if it's even possible to react as quickly as the developers evidently want you to. Our first loss was to the fourth character, the snake charmer; a snake comes out of two different barrels, and bites you if you dodge to that side, and later in the fights, the charmer himself briefly turns into a giant snake. Just like in Punch-Out!!, once you beat all your opponents once, you have to cycle through them a second time (called "Challenge Mode"), and now they've refined their attacks. Some of them are pretty obnoxious to begin with, so if you found Punch-Out!! too hard and/or frustrating, Rage of the Gladiator won't offer you respite.
When it comes to replayability, we suspect that even the most patient gamers will have had their fill (and spent many hours) by the time they finish Challenge Mode. The clinically insane can try to get an "A" rank on every single fight after that, though.
This game is a steal; we were shocked to see such a great price point on a title that really does give Punch-Out!! a run for its money. The difficulty is truly unforgiving, so it's not for everyone, but by this point, Punch-Out!! fans know what they're in for. So, download away.
CCC Freelance Writer