3/29 – Toughman Contest

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Today’s Video Game of the Day is the EA Sports boxing game, Toughman Contest. Developed by High Score Productions and Visual Concepts, Toughman Contest released on the Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive outside of the US, and the Sega 32X.

Toughman Contest is a boxing game based on the real-life amateur boxing competition by the same name. The game features Eric “Butterbean” Esch as the cover fighter for the box art and title screen, as well as the final fighter of the game. The game’s aesthetic is remarkably similar to the original arcade version of Punch Out, with the camera existing behind a wire-frame version of the main character. Instead of the cartoony appearance of enemies in that series, Toughman Contest goes for a more realistic look for opponents, to reflect the more realistic approach to boxing.

Players win by either knocking out their opponent, achieving a technical knockout or winning by decision at the end of three rounds. Unlike traditional fighting games, Toughman Contest plays more like a puzzle game where each opponent follows certain strategies. The key to victory lies in finding out when an opponent is vulnerable and hitting them during that time. The player can block and dodge while figuring out their opponents moves. In between rounds, players have a number of options such as seeing other fights occurring this round of the tournament or getting advice from your coach about how to proceed.

Toughman Contest was received well by critics at the time. The 32X version was generally better received, citing improved graphics, although both versions were considered good entries in the genre. Electronic Gaming Monthly even compared it to Super Punch Out, declaring Toughman Contest to be the better game.

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