December 26 is a special day, as many are celebrating Boxing Day. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that families all over the world are punching each other, as it’s not actually related to pugilism but rather Christmas. Regardless of that fact, we still thought it would be fun to take a look at the best boxing games as the sport has a long gaming history ranging from the Commodore 64 to current consoles. Here are the 10 best boxing games ever made.
Best Boxing Games – Punch Club
While certainly not the most traditional boxing game, Punch Club still manages to capture the essence of the sweet science. Rather than focusing on combat, this management simulation focuses on training and business aspects. It’s a refreshing take on the genre, and also has a humorous story to enjoy along the way.
Best Boxing Games – Fight Night Champion
The latest boxing title from EA Canada is also their finest. Not only is the actual analog stick-based gameplay just as satisfying as ever, but it also introduces a cinematic career mode that tells a great story of redemption starring convict turned boxer, Andre Bishop. While it’s hopefully not the final time we’ll see a Fight Night title, at least the series went out on top.
Best Boxing Games – Punch-Out!! (Wii)
Next Level Games’ 2009 reboot of the series was everything that fans could have asked for. Not only did the gameplay stay true to the original series, but it featured a great cast of characters both old and new. The game was also quite lengthy, as beating the game unlocked more challenging rematches with fighters showcasing new strategies, and even a match against Donkey Kong. It’s truly one of the best games released on the Wii and a modern-day classic.
Best Boxing Games – Rocky (2002)
There have been many games based upon the Rocky series of movies over the years, but the best was 2002’s Rocky. Players take the role of a young Rocky Balboa and work their way through the boxing ranks in order to challenge Apollo Creed. Its faithful representation of the film was celebrated, and its sequel, Rocky Legends, did the same by letting players choose from either the titular character, Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, or Ivan Drago.
Best Boxing Games – FaceBreaker
EA Canada is best known for their more serious boxing games (both Fight Night and Knockout Kings), but they went for a more arcade appeal with 2008’s FaceBreaker. It featured an impressive amount of customization, and a simplified ruleset that removed ten counts. It didn’t quite match the highs of Fight Night, but it did offer up an enjoyable experience in its own right.
Best Boxing Games – Wii Sports
While certainly not the most complex boxing game, one can’t deny how much of a blast Wii Sports delivered upon release. The Nintendo Wii pack-in wound up being a cultural phenomenon, and its boxing mode was one of its highlights. The intuitive motion controls made it so that anyone could play, be it an elderly grandmother or a young kid playing their first game.
Best Boxing Games – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
This NES classic was the first boxing game that many played. More of a puzzle game than an action title, it forced players to memorize their opponent’s patterns and boxing styles. Paired with some memorable original characters and the ferocious Mike Tyson as a final boss, it quickly became a critical and commercial success.
Best Boxing Games – Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
Midway’s boxing series took a comical view at pugilism. Not only did standouts from the original game reappear, such as cover star Afro Thunder, but the arcade-style fighting game also featured some huge celebrities as playable characters such as Shaquille O’Neal and the “King of Pop” himself, Michael Jackson. Throw in a surprisingly deep career mode and you have one of the best boxing games of the era.
Best Boxing Games – Prize Fighter
This Sega CD game offered an experience unlike most boxing titles in that it utilized full motion video. This allowed for the game to take place in a first-person view. There are only four opponents in the game, which results in limited replay value, but the unique presentation make it well worth playing. The hilarious cliché-filled story that features gangsters trying to get the player to throw his fights is also a huge plus.
Best Boxing Games – Creed: Rise to Glory
The most recent release to make the list, this virtual reality-only game lets players experience boxing in the most realistic way yet. The motion controls create a highly engaging affair, and you even get to train with Rocky Balboa. Not only is Creed: Rise to Glory a great take on the Creed series of films, but it is a fantastic fighting game in its own right.