Wade Hixton's Counter Punch (GBA)
Review By: Jeff

You're standing in a room surrounded by a group of people riding an unending wave of adrenaline. In front of you is a burly individual staring you down with his dark beady eyes almost as if he's searching your soul to find the fear hidden within. His gaze soon widens and a tarnished checkerboard smile comes across his face as he motions at you to make a move. The crowds' attention turns to you now, and the thought of how fast you can run is making laps inside your mind. Sweat begins to pour as you take note of the ever-growing mass of people blocking the exit, which leaves you with only one option. Prepared for the worst you clench your fist, take a swing and black out as the sheer force of your opponents blow sends you down to the floor. After coming out of your coma, you look back on the incident and say, "I should have just stayed home and played Wade Hixton's Counter Punch".

While the name may suggest some sort of office supply simulator, Wade Hixton's Counter Punch is, in actuality, an arcade boxing game in the vein of Punch-Out!!. The game follows the adventures of Wade Hixton, a fresh out of the trailer park redneck, whose car has just broken down outside the desert town of Big Piney. In order to pay for the repairs, Wade will have to box the locals because having to wash dishes just doesn't translate well into a video game.

As stated earlier, this game plays just like Punch-Out!! and has you fighting eight unique characters each with special attacks based on their particular interest. For example, one boxer is a raver girl who holds glow sticks while she fights which allow you to see her punches when the lights go out. Others include a pimp, a gorilla and, like every boxing game before it, a fire breathing demon. After winning a fight, Wade's beeper will go off and a challenge will be made for him to except or decline such as dodging every punch for 30 seconds or seeing how many ears you can bite off in a minute.

Winning fights also brings in money, which you can use to teach Wade new moves or bribe someone to interfere with the fight. So if you ever wanted to punch someone in the nuts in a boxing game here's your chance as the classic "Lowblow" can be purchased pretty cheap from a local bum. While you may think your hot shit in a champagne glass as you beat up virtual heavyweights, you might want to consider giving someone a bribe to tip the scales in your favor. For a measly ten bucks you have the referee give a slow count, the ring girl distract your opponent or the mechanic smack them over the head with a wrench.

Visually, this game has got some nice...visuals. The cartoon graphics and animation accommodate the arcade style really well and each character is fleshed out with a distinct look perfectly matching their personality. The music is pretty good; offering a different track for each bout while the sound effects are, well, all right for a boxing game.

Tight controls, a nice sense of humor and an overall laid back feeling add up to one satisfying game. With a price tag of twenty dollars and a somewhat limited release, it can be pretty tough to track down a copy but it's definitely worth it if you need a break from simulation boxing games.

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