|System(s)||Arcade, NES, MSX2|
Ring King, known in Europe as King of Boxer, is an arcade boxing game developed and published by Woodplace in 1985. The arcade game was later published by Data East in North America and ported to the NES by Sakata SAS in 1987. The NES port was published by Data East under the original title in North America, but in Japan it was published by Namco and rebranded as Family Boxing (ファミリーボクシング famirī bokushingu?). It was the third of the Family sports game series, after Family Stadium and Family Jockey. It was later published for the MSX2 home computer system in Japan by Sony with improved graphics, and the Famicom port was rereleased as an i-mode mobile phone application in January, 2004 by Namco.
In the game, the player takes the role of a boxer who makes his way from his debut to become a world champion. Players can choose from several different types of punches and defensive maneuvers, along with unique special attacks. The player revives their stamina during the round interval by pressing the button rapidly.
Furthermore differences between the arcade and home conversion include the ability to improve the boxer's stats. The boxer's abilities are determined by three different stats; punch, stamina, and speed. The player can improve these stats using the power points gained after each match. Performing well in matches allows the player to create more powerful boxers. The player can save their game progress by recording a password, and two players can face off against each other in the two-player mode. Though the game is rudimentary, it is possible to counter-punch, and missing with too many punches causes the boxer's stamina to decrease.
- Joystick: Use the joystick to guide your player around the ring. Although you can move in the player in any one of four directions, the boxers will always face each other, so attempting to move perpendicularly to one another will cause either fighter to rotate around the opponent.
- Jab: Press the jab button for a quick straight punch. Press the joystick in the direction of your opponent to do a dashing jab.
- Hook/Uppercut: Press this button for an attack that does more damage, but opens yourself up more to a counter attack. You will perform a hook if you are facing up or down, and you will perform an uppercut if you are facing left or right. Press the joystick in the direction of your opponent to perform a dashing hook or uppercut.
- Defense: Press the defense button to dodge or duck oncoming attacks. Timing is critical if you wish to avoid getting hit. Press this together with either punch button while you facing left or right and are just outside of arm's reach from your opponent to perform a low body blow.
Players are pit against one challenger after another as the player rises up the ranks of a boxing federation. Each fight lasts for an increasing number of rounds, starting with 4 and increasing up to 15 by the sixth match. Each round lasts for one minute (with the timer counting up from zero.) If neither player is knocked out by the end of the final round, the winner is chosen by decision based on which player has the greater number of hits. If the player gets knocked out, or if the player loses by decision at the end of the final round, the game is over and the player must enter another credit to continue. In rare cases, one boxer may actually punch another boxer out of the ring, resulting in an instant loss for the boxer who was sent flying.
Boxers begin the round with a level of stamina which depletes every time a boxer is hit by the opponent, or if the player throws punches too rapidly. Stamina determines how fast the boxer can throw punches, and how likely they are to stand up after being knocked out. If the player is knocked out in the blue portion of the meter, he will stand back up very quickly. If the player is knocked out in the yellow potion, he will stand back up late in the ten-count. If the player is knocked out in the red, they are unlikely to stand back up at all. If two boxers approach one another, they will clinch (or hug) one another, at which point some stamina is restored to both players. Between each round, the boxers return to their corner of the ring, at which time the player should tap any of the buttons as rapidly as possible to recover lost stamina. Prize money is accumulated by winning fights, and serves as the score when being considered for entry on the high score table.
Each fight has a certain amount of prize money that the player can earn if he is the winner. You will earn a bonus $1000 for every 10 successful hits that you land within a match. You can also earn $2000 for special punches that knock the opponent out in a special way. The player is occasionally given a chance to claim a bonus prize by accurately predicting which round he will knock the opponent out on select fights.
- : Use the direction pad to guide your player around the ring. Although you can move in the player in any one of four directions, the boxers will always face each other, so attempting to move perpendicularly to one another will cause either fighter to rotate around the opponent.
- : Press the A button to punch. Press it alone for a quick straight punch. Press the joystick in the direction of your opponent to perform a hook if you are facing up or down, or to perform an uppercut if you are facing left or right. Your fighter will dash towards the opponent if they are farther away than arm's length from one another.
- : Press the defense button to dodge or duck oncoming attacks. Timing is critical if you wish to avoid getting hit. Press this together with while you are facing left or right and are just outside of arm's reach from your opponent to perform a low body blow.
- : Press Start to begin a new game in the currently selected mode, or to pause the action in the middle of a bout.
- : Press Select to choose one of the six modes available from the title screen.
Before play can begin, a mode must be selected. The following modes of play are available:
- TRAINING: Use this mode to build up the number of power points that you have to distribute among your boxer's three stats. You must win a number of battles to earn points, and the number of points you earn increase as you continue.
- RANKING: Compete against other boxers in five ranks and three divisions (Rookie, U.S., and World). Winning in a fight will earn you a password that awards your player that ranking.
- TOURNAMENT: Up to eight players can compete in this mode. Press to include an additional player until the right number of players is reached. Then each player will have an opportunity to input his or her own password to restore their boxer. The tournament is an eight way elimination match.
- 2P.VS: Two players enter a competition consisting of five matches of five rounds each. After player one enters his or her password, press to allow the second player to enter their password if desired.
- WATCH1: In this mode, players can watch as 8 computer controlled fighters compete in a Tournament.
- WATCH2: In this mode, a player is given the ability to distribute 99 points to two fighters each over five matches. Press to alternate between the two fighters, and press to cycle through each match to assign the points. Then distribute the points before each bout in the usual manner.
Regardless of which mode is selected for play (with the exception of WATCH1 mode), you are given the opportunity distribute points to your boxer (although you are not required to do so.) When on the point distribution screen, use the direction pad to distribute points in the following manner:
With the exception of the point distribution system described above, game play proceeds in a very similar manner to the description provided for the arcade game play. There are only a few notable differences.
- The timer counts down from 59 seconds to 0 instead of up.
- The stamina bar is not broken down into three differently colored sections, but it still functions in the same manner.
- On occasion, a P may be thrown into the ring by the someone in the audience. Any player that succeeds in standing where the P lands will earn one free extra point to distribute among his stats, but only if he wins the bout.
- The same opponent may redistribute his own power points between fights. If you continue against the same opponent, be sure to note how his point distribution has changed and change your accordingly.
- In the MSX2 version, the entire ring is displayed since the MSX2 could not perform smooth scrolling very easily.