Hats off to EA Sports for having the courage to try something different with their latest boxing title.
FIGHT NIGHT 2004
Format: PS2, Xbox
Publisher: EA Sports
Genre: Boxing simulation
Gone is the frenetic button-mashing of Knockout Kings, and in comes a revolutionary "total control" punching system that affords the game less bluster and more brains.
With a flick of your right joypad, you can jab, hook or uppercut your way to boxing immortality.
But be careful as you go in search of that knockout blow, because defence is a serious art form in this game and a good opponent will pick you off if you have not mastered it.
The first-time player starts off at the bottom of the ladder.
Having created a pugilist in your own image - you can choose everything from face shape to body tattoos and muscle definition - you are sent out into the big bad world of boxing bruisers without a dime to your name.
As you win fights, you earn cash and - crucially - climb the rankings.
Money buys you "bling" accessories like a new outfit for the prettiest member of your entourage or a firework display to accompany your ring entrance.
Ranking positions, meanwhile, open up new fight venues - culminating in Madison Square Garden and the Las Vegas hotels - as those higher in the pecking order challenge you.
When you break into the top 10 of your weight division, you get the privilege of fighting true champions like Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Fight Night 2004's graphics are stunning -from the entrance scenes, to the ring action and, particularly, in the animated knockout sequences.
Watching a tough foe crumple to the canvas after you have caught him with a left-right-left combo is deeply satisfying.
And the soundtrack is suitably err . . . punchy, headlined by P-Diddy's Victory.
But the game does have drawbacks.
The road to the top is a long one and things become repetitive long before you get the chance to glove up against "The Greatest".
And training - which is essential to boost your power, stamina and chin - becomes a real chore.
Fight Night 2004 would also be well served by more career management options because, in its current form, your boxer drifts somewhat aimlessly from fight to fight.
That said, the positives outweight the negatives.
EA Sports has not quite delivered a knockout, but this series is heading in the right direction. Let's call Fight Night 2004 a plucky points victory.