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In the game the player controls Rocky Balboa on his journey from a club fighter, facing opponents like Spider Rico, until his championship bout against Apollo Creed and beyond. The game sticks closely to the movies with all characters being at least mentioned in the movies. In at least the PAL markets the PS2 and Xbox versions of the game were packaged alongside the original Rocky DVD release. A sequel was also made called Rocky Legends.
The gameplay mirrors that of any other sixth generation boxing game and below.
In "Story Mode" the player takes control of Rocky Balboa fighting many opponents either new or actually existent within the film series. Regular boxing match rules apply to any fight, winning can depend on how many punches the player has landed or if his/her opponent has been knocked down and not got up within a ten second time limit. The maximum amount of rounds in a match is 15 and a round may last for a maximum of 180 seconds. The Story Mode also includes training mini games which may increase the player's statistics. Each individual mini game increases an individual statistic, for instance:
Punching Mitts: Strength Speed Bag: Speed Skipping: Stamina Sit ups: Determination Heavy Bag: Movement
Other modes include "Exhibition Match", "Sparring" mode and "Knockout Tournament".
However, the game contained many glitches that made it notorious amongst videogame fans. These included; Characters descending through the floor, characters eyes moving to outside their faces, jaws disappearing, the crowds turning to planes of colour and characters failing to appear. The most well known glitch however was one involving the character Clubber Lang in which he would enter the ring with his arms and feet locked 90 degrees upwards.
Audio and video content used from the film series
The game's intro movie features film footage edited from the five movies showing the main boxers and ends with an advert for the Rocky DVD. The remaining five cutscenes feature CGI footage using the in-game character models and original film audio recreating segments from the films. The song "Gonna Fly Now" is the only one from the movie series featured in the game.