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Video Game / Ready 2 Rumble Boxing

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"Somebody better call da doctor!"

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! LLLLLLET'S GETTTTT READY TO RRRRUMBLEEEEEE!!!
Michael Buffer

Ready 2 Rumble is a series of cartoony arcade boxing games released in 1999, starting with Ready 2 Rumble Boxing in 1999. Developed by the now defunct Point of View Inc. (except for Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution, which was developed by AKI Corporation USA) and published by Midway, the game was incredibly popular for the Sega Dreamcast console, even though it wasn't an exclusive.

The game was notorious for its "Rumble Meter" system, which, when taunting your opponent(only in the second game. Taunting in the first game did nothing.) or landing a heavy hit, gave you letters to let you initiate a Super Mode for the boxer of your choosing. It also featured famous ring announcer Michael Buffer to introduce the characters and say his well-known phrase "Let's get ready to rumble!" Finally, it had an in-depth Championship Mode in which you trained your boxer, competed in prize fights, and eventually earned your title.

A sequel, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, was released in 2000. It was then followed years later with a series reboot named Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution released in 2009, which removed all of the original characters and replaced them with celebrity parodies.

Has a character sheet under construction.

This game provides examples of...

  • Action Girl: Selene Strike, Lulu Valentine, and "The First Lady" (Hillary Clinton).
  • Acrofatic: Mama Tua weighs in at a staggering 400 pounds, and is still agile enough to pull off cartwheels.
  • Afro Asskicker: Afro Thunder and his contemporary Big Wallop.
  • All There in the Manual: All of the boxers have backstories that you wouldn't know about unless you read the instruction manual.
  • Aside Glance: It would be hard to name a character who hasn't done this in the series.
  • Badass Unintentional: Mama Tua, as she got involved in the boxing scene by accident. But it does show where her son Salua got his skills from.
  • Big Bad: Damien Black.
  • Big "NO!": The cornermen might yell one of these out if a character is getting dominated or beaten up.
  • Blood Knight: Jimmy and Johnny Blood, Rocket Samchay and Angel "Raging" Rivera.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Both Michael Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal are aware they're in a video game. However, several of Shaq's post-match quips have him completely shattering the fourth wall like he does backboards, while Jackson only had just one throwaway line:
    Jackson: Hey, I got into this game for a real match!
  • The Cameo: Round 2 features several celebrity boxers, including Bill and Hillary Clinton (referred to in-game as Mr. President and the First Lady, respectively) as well as Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jackson.
    • Afro Thunder later appeared as a secret character in TNA Impact, which was also developed by Midway before the company closed its doors for good.
  • Casualty in the Ring: Between games, Bruce Blade from the first game was killed in a match with Butcher Brown, after taking a full hit from Brown's trademark Devastator punch. This got Brown banned from boxing for two years prior to his appearance in the second game.
  • Combos: Each character have their own unique combos, highlighted by their swings changing color.
  • Continuity Reboot: Ready 2 Rumble Revolution, which ignored the past games, save for the presence of Michael Buffer, and replaced the original characters with celebrity parodies, save for Big Wallop, who is a Spiritual Successor to the original Afro Thunder.
  • Cute Bruiser: Selene Strike and Lulu Valentine.
  • Dance Battler: Afro Thunder, G.C. Thunder, and Michael Jackson all fall under type 2.
  • Expy: In no particular order:
    • Butcher Brown's looks and personality has a lot of similarities to Mike Tyson's.
    • Tank Thrasher is an unflattering version of David "Tank" Abbott, right down to dominating an unrespected, backwards sport (Abbott - street fighting, Thrasher - gator wrestling) and switching to a somewhat less unrespected sport (Abbott - MMA, Thrasher - boxing).
    • Likewise, G.C. Thunder is an overly flamboyant version of Prince (the actual Prince was supposedly offered to be included in the game as a rival to Michael Jackson, but he declined).
    • Afro Thunder sounds nearly identical to comedian Chris Rock, and also has a passing resemblance to him as well.
      • In an In-Universe example, Big Wallop in Revolution is an expy of Afro Thunder, though his Soul Brotha traits are toned down.
    • J.R. Flurry's personality as well as his love for "urban" styled clothing and Totally Radical slang, is a near dead ringer for Vanilla Ice during his prime.
    • Robox Rese-4 is pretty much a boxing version of The Terminator.
    • Bruce Lee Clone: Jet "Iron" Chin. Ironically, while he's a Bruce Lee clone in terms of appearance and making Funny Bruce Lee Noises, his backstory of being a former stunt double for a famous Asian movie star makes him a Jackie Chan Expy.
    • Rumbleman is an obvious parody of the Hulk.
    • Nat Daddy was a Captain Ersatz version of Shaquille O'Neal (Nat Daddy = Shaq Daddy). When the real Shaq was slated to appear in Round 2, Nat's model was redesigned to properly match Shaq's body, and his move set was given to Shaq.
    • Freak E. Deke is a clone of Kemo Claw from the first game, right down to the unintelligible grunts and moveset.
    • Gino Stiletto is a parody of Rocky. They even share the same hometown (Philadelphia, PA). Funnily enough, though, his arms look just like Popeye's.
  • Forbidden Dangerous Technique: Butcher Brown's "The Devastator", a powerful knockout punch that implicitly killed Bruce Blade, and got him banned from boxing for two years prior to the second game.
  • Holiday Mode: The Dreamcast and PS2 versions of Round 2 had holiday-themed decorations accessible via cheat codes, and some characters also gained holiday-themed costumes if the internal clock is set to a certain date. These came in all flavors: New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's, Easternote , Independence, Halloween, Thanksgivingnote  and Christmas.
  • Husky Russkie: Boris "The Bear" Knokimov, although he's Croatian.
  • I Shall Taunt You: An important part of the second game's gameplay, as it helps fill your Rumble meter.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Hillary Clinton always takes the ring dressed in her tailleurs.
  • Legacy Character: There's quite a few:
    • Inverted with Mama Tua, the mother of Salua Tua from the first game, who became a wrestler.
    • G.C. Thunder was supposed to be this, but his cousin Afro Thunder came back from Hollywood...
    • Johnny Blood, the younger brother to original Rumble fighter Jimmy Blood.
  • Licensed Game: It's not immediately obvious, but the Ready 2 Rumble series as a whole is actually licensed, since Michael Buffer owns the trademark to the series and the catchphrase that inspired its title.
  • Magical Native American: Kemo Claw is implied to be one.
  • Mirror Match: The first game always used its full roster in the arcade and championship modes, so this would always happen at some point. With the exception of the GBA version, Round 2 has a bigger roster, and it's very rare to encounter the same character you're playing as.
  • Motion Capture: Notable for having Michael Jackson motion capture all of his own fighting moves, as well as his taunts.
  • New Jack Swing: The first two games' OSTs made heavy use of the NJS sound.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The third game in a nutshell. While the first two had many expies, as shown above, they weren't as overtly blatant (save for Rumbleman).
  • Older Than They Look: "Big" Willy Johnson looks roughly middle-aged, but is actually 108 years old (or so the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast versions says; the Playstation version gives him an age of 38).
    • This was retconned in Round 2, as his age is billed as 41 in that game. His age in the first game was probably a joke on the fact that his boxing style is that from early 20th century (the manual even states he wound up in the present through a space-time rift).
  • One-Hit Kill: In Round 2, getting your Rumble Meter to Level 3 lets you knock your opponent out of the arena and win instantly.
  • Orgasmic Combat: Considering how over the top the game is, this was inevitable. The worst offender in the series is Selene Strike.
  • Product Placement: Aside from Michael Buffer's own presence and catchphrase, the second games features logos from clothing companies such as Rocawear and Everlast.
  • Punny Name: Boris Knokimov.
  • Put on a Bus: Tank Thrasher, "Furious" Faz Motar, Jimmy Blood, Nat Daddy and Damien Black disappear without explanation between games. Claw and Stiletto simply retired for good considering their roles as mentors, Salua Tua dropped out of boxing to continue his previous sport — sumo wrestling — in Hawaii, and Bruce Blade was killed in a match with Butcher Brown.
  • Race Lift: Lulu Valentine was African American in the first game. In Round 2, she was changed to be Caucasian.
  • Red Boxing Gloves: Naturally, although not everyone wears them.
  • Ring Out: Activating your Rumble meter at its highest level will allow you to uppercut your opponent clean out of the ring, giving you an automatic K.O. victory.
    • Shown Their Work: In real life boxing, leaving the ring for any reason is an automatic DQ. Midway took this rule and turned it into an automatic knockout if you hit your opponent with a full Rumble meter.
  • Roar Before Beating: Adding nicely to his Maori New Zealander heritage and reputation as a Screaming Warrior, one of Jimmy Blood's win-poses in the original game involves him beating his chest repeatedly in this fashion, before yelling angrily.
  • Screaming Warrior: Jimmy Blood — a Maori New Zealander — from the original has a taunt and Victory Pose consisting of him screaming really loudly.
    • Two of Michael Jackson's taunts also have him doing his infamous battle scream.
  • Shows Damage: As the fight goes on, the contenders' faces get covered with bruises. Sometimes they even lose teeth.
  • Soul Brotha: Both Thunder cousins fall under this.
  • Spiritual Successor: EA Sports' Facebreaker, which came out two years after the third game. The Rumble series itself was a 3D one to Punch-Out!!, which was ironically revived the same year Revolution came out.
    • The series was also one of many sports games developed and/or released by Midway using the "fast-paced gameplay, loose adherence to the rules" style of NBA Jam.
  • Statuesque Stunner and Amazonian Beauty: Selene Strike. 6'3", a Buxom Beauty Standard figure, and can go a full 12 rounds with all the ranked male heavyweights in the games.
  • Super Mode: When you activate your Rumble Meter, which makes your attacks faster and doesn't let you tire out when you attack.
  • Surfer Dude: Freedom Brock from Round 2.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Michael Jackson, in-universe. He can deal a lot of damage, and he's one of the quickest fighters on the Round 2 roster, as well as one of the strongest.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Some of the beefier characters, such as Butcher Brown and Damien Black.
  • Use Your Head: Butcher Brown has a headbutt move. And since the rules are pretty loose in this game (no disqualifications, for example), he can get away with it.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: Each of the three console versions of the first game have an exclusive character: Jimmy Blood on the Dreamcast, Gino Stiletto on the Playstation and J.R. Flurry on the Nintendo 64. Also happens to quite a few characters from Round 2 who had to be excised from the fifth-gen versions due to the Playstation and N64's limitations.
  • Victory Pose: Whenever a character wins (obviously). Some characters, such as Afro Thunder and Michael Jackson, do a Victory Dance instead of a pose.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Michael Jackson, surprisingly. Many think Midway used a soundalike, but according to the head director of the game, that's his actual voice you're hearing when he speaks. Due to contractual issues, however, he's not credited as a voice actor.
  • The Voiceless: Kemo Claw from the original and Freak E. Deke in the sequel. They grunt, and make other unintelligible noises, but never speak. Freak E. Deke speaks but its hard to understand him.
  • World of Badass: Par for the course for a boxing sim, but you don't see 5'2 female fighters launching guys twice their size ten feet in the air in any other boxing game like this.
  • World of Ham: That's just putting it mildly.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Round 2 takes place three years after the original game, yet some of the returning characters are either aged up double that, or, as mentioned above, their original ages were retconned. Michael Jackson was a strange example, as the Nintendo 64 version of the game bills him at 25 years old (he was actually 42 at the timenote ), while the other ports did not bill his age at all.