Saturday, November 23, 2019

Seconds Out

Wanna be a Tyson Fury?

Do you remember a game called Frank Bruno's Boxing on the ZX Spectrum? Well, it looks like the folk over at Tynesoft did when they released Seconds Out in 1988. As in the Speccy game, we're in a boxing ring fighting ugly dudes and the action is viewed ringside from behind our noble challenger. Yup, it's original alright!

We are Marco, a challenger who must complete against five increasingly difficult champions from around the world. His first bout breaks us in gently against Joe Weed who lives up to his name and is pretty easy to knock out. The second is much harder, closely shadowing you and can easily block your punches. The third is rather odd and that's saying something for this peculiar boxing game: it's a lame fella who wears glasses and can headbutt. (I believe there are two more champions: an American and a Russian. Just don't ask me if I can reach that far!!)

First up is Joe Weed, an easy opponent! But Jonesy is harder, although he seems shocked to lose!

Punching people with a joystick?

Controls are initially odd but the one-button ST does well after a few practices. Moving left/right is easy, but slow, and we can guard ourselves using up/down with a little sway thrown in for good measure - if absolutely pointless. With the fire button pressed, we can punch with either arm as we float around that ring looking to sting. Well...

Energy levels are displayed along the top of the screen: decreasing with each hit taken and increasing when dealing out damage/resting. Also, a throbbing boxer's "KO" glove will indicate when your opponent is weak enough for a knock-out. That is the time to hit up/fire to perform the special ability, a swift right hook!!

Each round lasts for 1:30 seconds but oddly feels longer against the tougher guys who cannot easily be knocked out. Between rounds, we are slumped in the corner with our coach who helps to recover lost energy - something I didn't realise until after I made my recording. That'll teach me not to read the manual... Doh!!

Don't be a fool like me!! Waggle that joystick and put that old man to some good use ;o)

Graphics & Sounds

Graphically, this ain't anywhere near what the ST is capable of but it does feature lots of comical aspects - like Mike "Hammerhead" Hagman!! Also, the see-through wireframe idea works well but is spoiled by us having a pixelated head. Animations are okay and the crowd make very few movements so look rather bored.

Audio has been forgotten with no music and the near-static crowd are completely silent for such an event.


Watch out for this dirty Jeff Minter fighter. Even when I'm knocked out, he still tries to headbutt me!!

The CryptO'pinion?

This game has massive drawbacks, like speed. There isn't any. These athletes are the slowest I've ever seen! But never will you feel like you're participating in a big event with the motionless and silent crowd. Also, the gameplay itself is very short and obviously linear in structure, so I'm sure better players could complete it in under an hour... Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee? Hardly, it's like walking barefoot in slutch with a broken leg!!

That being said, Seconds Out is still quite enjoyable and everyone needs to witness that Glaswegian and his idiotic headbutts! Overall, an average sports game, that needed to be much quicker, flashier and a lot noisier.

Those who fancy sparring with Marco can find the Super Pack floppies on AtariMania.


  1. This game confirms my theory. Atari ST is the best platform to play 8bit games;)
    - Starquake
    - Where Time Stood Still
    - Buggy Boy

    1. Well, you're kinda right there mate. There are some ace 8-bit conversions on the ST which really did work and then there's some that didn't - CHUCKIE EGG 2. Ironically, this is perhaps my favourite Spectrum game too and they destroyed everything great about it on the ST/Amiga. Destroyed it. :(

  2. This game despite some weaknesses is a surprising clone of punch out. Your boxer moves well but sometimes it's difficult to distinguish the fighters.

    1. Yeah, I don't know why his head isn't wireframe like the body. Doesn't make any sense (to me) that one... It's not a brilliant game but I suppose it's worth booting up - if youre bored one afternoon ;-)

  3. Have you tried 4d boxing? i think it was one of the first pc games i tried after ST. Its amazing. Otherwise id suggest Panza Kick Boxing for a real boxing challenge on the ST. Or IK+ ofcourse :-)

    1. Panza looks awesome!! Unlike my mega late reply!

  4. Indeed, this headbutting chap was a pain to beat, took me quite a few tries back in the days ! After this guy, there was tough guy, american I think (although he looked very much like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV), that was very hard to defeat (quick and strong punch). And the final boss was this russian fella that was an absolute beast, kicking the s### out of you in no time. Never got him.

    1. Yeah, there's not really that many fighters but they are so hard after the first one. Arghhhh!