Foes of Ali is a boxing video game that was developed by Gray Matter Studios and published by EA Sports in 1995. It was released exclusively for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer console. It was one of the first boxing games to render matches using 3D graphics. Thus, boxers in the game could be shown to move 360 degrees around the ring in a more convincing fashion than had previously been possible using 2D sprites. The gameplay bears many similarities to that featured in 4D Sports Boxing.
The game features Muhammad Ali, as well nine of his real life opponents: George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Jimmy Ellis, Bob Foster, Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and Chuck Wepner. The most notable of Ali's opponents not to be included are Larry Holmes and George Foreman.
There are three game modes: 'exhibition', 'tournament', and 'career'. In 'exhibition' mode, the player can choose to fight as any boxer in the game, against any boxer in the game. It is possible to assign control of either boxer to a player or the 3DO. In 'tournament' mode, one or two players fight their way through a tournament of boxers from the game. In 'career' mode, the player plays as Ali, and fights each of the other fighters in the game, in the same order that Ali did during his career. For the early fights in this mode, Ali is known by his original name, which he used during these fights in real life (Cassius Clay). Before each fight, a photo of the original fight is displayed, and an audio segment voiced by Tim Gammon outlines what happened.
The game simulates a wide variety of boxing punches; jabs, hooks, and uppercuts can be thrown (and faked) with either hand. Defensive techniques consist of blocking, clinching and leaning. Fatigue is not simulated; that is, throwing punches or moving about the ring does not cause a boxer to tire. However, receiving large quantities of punishment does cause a boxer to slow down, both in terms of movement and punching speed.
Though throwing large volumes of punches does not affect a boxer's punching or movement in any way, it does negatively affect his ability to withstand punches. A fighter is significantly easier to knock out if they have already thrown large numbers of punches.
Although there is the option to turn off TKO based stoppages, this option has no effect. If a fighter's face is beaten into enough of a bloody mess, fights will be stopped regardless of whether it is selected or not. However, regardless of whether the option is turned on or not, the game does not consider other factors when judging whether to stop a fight. As a result, it is possible for one boxer to pummel another for 15 rounds with no punches being thrown in response. Subsequently, unlike in real boxing matches, it is not uncommon to have rounds scored 10-6 or lower. By knocking an opponent down around 10 times, it is even possible to win rounds by a 10-0 margin.
The boxers in the game reflect characteristics of the real-life fighters who they are based upon. For example, Henry Cooper, who had a tendency to get cut easily in real life, receives cuts after taking fewer punches than other fighters. Similarly, reflecting the fact that George Chuvalo was renowned for his ability to take punches (he was not once knocked down in his career), it is physically impossible to knock him down in the game (even if the player continuously punches him in the stomach for 15 rounds).
Foes of Ali is one of the few 3D fighting games to have been released for the 3DO, due to the limited capabilities of the system. For example, this is evident in the way boxers fall down; due to memory restrictions, they would not fall down instantly after being hit. Instead, they would momentarily sway back and forth, as the 3DO loaded in the necessary information to show them falling to the floor.
Pre-rendered sequences show a ring announcer introducing the start of the fight or announcing the outcome (only the ring announcer is seen/ heard during such scenes). Like most boxing games, a referee is not seen during the matches.
It is possible to injure your opponent's face in a variety of ways that lead to visible damage effects such as a bloody nose or black eyes. Decals are used to simulate blood effects on the ring floor- such blood remains for the duration of the fight. The amount of blood that comes out of fighters' faces can be set to 'none', 'normal', and 'gallons'. On the 'gallons' setting, it is not unlikely to see most of the ring becoming splattered with blood during a fight.
The game allows the player to choose from 21 camera angles, including first person views (similar to that seen in 4D Sports Boxing). When playing the game using the first-person view, damage to the eyes affects the view in appropriate ways; for example, if a boxer's eye takes enough damage so that it becomes swollen shut, that side of the view will be replaced by blackness. The view will also flash back when the player takes a hard shot, or red when they are hit by a punch that makes their face bleed. Taking substantial numbers of punches to the head will even result in simulated double vision. Other camera views include a bird's-eye view and a free-roaming camera that can be positioned at an angle and distance of the player's choosing.
The crowd surrounding the fight is poorly detailed, and is unconvincing when seen up-close. Depending on the action in the ring, the crowd responds with different speech effects; for example, someone might shout "Good shot!" when a punch is landed, or "Fight, you bum!" if there is little action taking place. There is also some limited commentary by Tim Gammon.
Foes of Ali had a mixed reception. Though it has been described as the most accurate representation of boxing for its time, it received mediocre review scores. Edge (UK) awarded the game 4 out of 10, saying "Bung this motley collection of elements together - slow fighters, a finicky punch and block system, clumsy graphics - and you have one shabby game". GameRankings has it rated at 63%.
- Cheat codes at Gamefaqs.
- Detailed review at Digital Press Online.
- Detailed review at 3DO4LIFE.
- Review at Videogamecritic.