It would be far too easy to say that Linel's latest offering takes more than a slight leaf from the Rocky movie. Music by Bill Conti, it says on the intro screen. Bet you can't guess what they used for an intro soundtrack? The intro sequence is, as even with Linel products, impressive with a sampled master of ceremonies introduction.
To start off with, you aren't the champ. The idea is to become the champ. Easy enough. You start life as a bum (that's tramp to us English folk), fighting in the streets, resplendent in your pro-boxing gear. Win a couple of fights, and you get spotted by a manager, who signs you up and automatically puts you onto the professional circuit - after a bit of training of course.
Training is made up of three events. First is the skipping rope, where you have to make the boxer jump in time with the rope. Then there's the sandbag, where a sparring partner will show you a punch or two, and you have to match his punches. Finally, there's the speedball, where you have to waggle the joystick in time with the boxer's hands, keeping up a steady rhythm.
The Champ is polished, it's amazingly professional and full of brilliant little touches. The referee counts out the knockdowns, the boxers fight realistically, the soundtrack is brilliant, and the graphics are amazing.
However The Champ takes a dive in the first because of its poor gameplay. For a start, half the punches only seem to work half the time and secondly, the game is far too easy. What sort of challenge is there if your opponent keeps on falling? Boxing is a tough game to simulate and Linel haven't overcome that.
And that's what stops The Champ from being a champ. It plays so badly that suddenly all the sparkly bits don't seem to sparkly anymore.