The Final Round, released in Japan as Hard Puncher, is a boxing arcade game released by Konami in 1988. A player selects one of two different boxers, and they fight another boxer in a three-round bout. If the player wins, he moves on to the next opponent, climbing the KBA (Konami Boxing Association) rankings along the way. If he loses, he can insert another coin for another chance (rematch). Fights can be won by either knockout, technical knockout or the judges’ decision.
When a one-player game is started, one of two different boxers can be selected by pressing the one or two player button. The player then allocates 100 points between three different skills (Speed, Power, and Stamina). A high “Speed” level makes a boxer move and punch faster. A high “Power” level makes a boxer cause more damage when punching, and a high “Stamina” level makes a boxer endure more damage and recover more energy after being knocked down.
When a two-player game is started, both boxers allocate their points and fight against each other. The winner stays, while the loser may get a rematch by inserting another coin. During a normal game, a second player can buy-in and challenge at any time (except during “training sessions”).
The player uses the joystick to move around the ring, as well as three buttons: face punch, body punch, and block punch. During a bout, the block punch button protects the player’s fighter from enemy attacks and switches the character’s guard between face and body each time it’s pressed. The two punch buttons may be used alternately to pull out combinations or a special, more powerful “Super Punch”.
If the player is knocked down, they must shake the joystick and press the buttons repeatedly to refill a bar and get back to their feet. Failing to do so will result in a Knockout loss. If any fighter is knocked down three times in a round, a TKO (Technical Knockout) will occur. These are highlighted with a special animation of the defeated boxer crumbling to the canvas. If all three rounds are fought, the judges decide the winner by decision. Each opponent has his own, unique fighting style with strengths and weaknesses.
Every two bouts, players are given the choice of entering a “training session” to earn more skill points or skip these sessions entirely. The “Speed” session consists of punching green dummies appearing from eight different positions. The “Power” session consists of punching small volleyballs tossed from both left and right, high and low. The “Stamina” session consists of jumping a spinning rod of increasing speed.
When the player defeats the World Champion, a special winning animation will play with a congratulatory message. The credits roll, and the game ends. The total fight time and final score are displayed on screen. Depending on the player’s total time at the end of the game, the winning animation and message change, effectively serving as multiple endings.
- Jabbin’ Jim (Player 1)
Modeled after Sylvester Stallone’s role as Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise as well as Lance Bean from the Contra franchise. Known as Rocky Smith in the Japanese version.
- Gentleman Joe (Player 2)
Modeled after Bill Rizer who is also from the Contra franchise. Known as Joe Vulcan in the Japanese version.
- Knockout Nick (KBA Rank: #7)
A lookalike of Mr. T’s role as Clubber Lang from the film Rocky III (1982), but slow and weak. Known as Mr. Mohican in the Japanese version.
- Red Falco (KBA Rank: #6)
Seasoned boxer from England, his name is a play on “Red Falcon” from the Contra game series.
- Mad Mongol (KBA Rank: #5)
Mongolian slugger skilled in fast flurries.
- Iron Drago (KBA Rank: #4)
A tough Soviet fighter, based on Dolph Lundgren’s role as Ivan Drago from the film Rocky IV.
- Steel Fist Fritz (KBA Rank: #3)
Powerful boxer from Italy. Named Mark Rentz in the Japanese version.
- Bronx Bruiser (KBA Rank: #2)
Fast and unpredictable Brazilian fighter. Named Avege Hidev in the Japanese version.
- Harlem Hit Man (KBA Rank: #1)
Murderous hitter of unknown origins. Named Marvin Cobra in the Japanese version.
- Black Stallion (KBA Champion)
Based on Mike Tyson, he’s durable, strong and very fast.