Thursday, January 4, 2024

Creed 1.5 Let's Get Ready to Vortex!

What if...
After the First Creed Film, when Adonis was a Light Heavyweight contender, he fell into a time tunnel and the only way to return was to live through the life and fights of his mentor- Rocky Balboa?

That's a much cooler question than 
"What if, Jeff played video games all night instead of actually writing content?" 
isn't it?

Adonis begins his journey by finding himself in a squalid Philadelphia gym, replacing Spider Rico, and about to face a much younger version of Rocky than he is familiar with. Sadly, the person documenting this journey was also enjoying a rum and root beer, meaning some of the photos may be a tad blurry.

Donny can't fully match the Italian Stallion's power, but greatly outclasses him in speed and maneuverability, knocking down his former mentor in the third, and out in by the fourth.

Now invited in Rocky's place for a chance at the heavyweight title, (and since there is no Philadelphia or Los Angeles arenas in the game) its Creed Versus Creed in Madison Square Garden!

Apollo has a lot more speed than Balboa, requiring Adonis to fight more carefully, and concentrate on slipping punches and throwing in groups of body shots when he could. It took one more round than the Rocky fight, but Adonis knocked out his father in five using those tactics.

Clubber Lang was faced next on his home turf of Chicago in the Aragon Ballroom. Donnie was up against a devastating power puncher a full weight class above him

Creed took a couple of stunning shots early on. His light heavyweight status meant he couldn't trick Lang into gassing himself instantly and take him out with a thundering counter in only a round or two. Adonis did outpoint Lang every round, finally wearing him out in the fourth. 

After soundly defending his belt, Adonis Creed talks his father out of accepting a challenge from the Russian champion, the terrifying Ivan Drago. Donny goes in Apollo's place and the spectacle of their clash is held in a massive arena.

After ducking, dodging, counterpunching, and getting regularly slammed for seven rounds, Donnie mounted a comeback in the second half, once more combining the speed of his father and body blows of his coach. He finally wears the Siberian Express out, and sends him to the canvas after eleven grueling rounds. 

Out in the street isn't an option in the game, therefore Adonis had to teach his wayward pupil, Tommy Gunn, a bare knuckled lesson in a Mexican Plaza.

Gunn landed a couple powerful hooks to start things off, but proved much easier to avoid the blows of than the other heavyweights, leaving him a quick victim to counterpunches early on. Donnie floored him with little difficulty in two. 
Aside- I know it is the real Tommy "The Duke" Morrison in the game, but I really feel like the programmers based him on his film performance. I saw the guy fight back in the day, he wasn't stellar but he was way better than this.

In a flashy Vegas locale, Adonis Creed took on his mentor's comeback opponent. However, the time travel experience kept Creed from aging as he passed through the bouts before this meeting.

Both fighters have a similar lighter and faster build and fighting style, and early on there was much give and take. However, Creed is able to land more consistently than Mason Dixon, wearing him down and flooring "The Line" in the seventh round.


After those fights I was intrigued by the idea of testing out an even smaller, lighter, and faster fighter against those movie style, bomb punch throwing, heavyweights.

Therefore, I put the incredibly speedy hands of middleweight class Sugar Ray Leonard against the Rocky Gauntlet. Every fight was pretty much the same: Sugar Ray using his speed to stay out of the way of the bigger but slower opponents, dodging and countering with sets of super fast combos, and eventually wearing out the bigger men as their series of missed haymakers drained their batteries. It did make for a fun evening. 

There were two exceptions to all the bouts looking similar.

The first time through the Gauntlet, Apollo Creed was simply too fast to dodge like Sugar Ray did with the other fighters. Eventually one of The Master of Disaster's thundering hooks would catch the side of Ray's head, and he'd crumple to the canvas without hope of rising.

With a bit of practice (and more than a few crumples) the strategy evolved of Leonard using far more dancing out of range and back again, than dodging individual punches.

It took five rounds of running and back pedaling, interspersed with occasional pinpoint accuracy counters, followed by two more rounds of very careful dodging and weaving to get in position to land combinations. Apollo Creed finally fell multiple times, including once he couldn't rise from, in the seventh round.

What inspired trying again (after several failures) against Apollo, was the match facing the monstrously large, fast, and powerful Ivan Drago. Knowing full well one punch from the Siberian Express could have cold cocked Sugar Ray at any point, no matter how tired Drago was, caution was the only available tactic. However, also knowing how accurate Drago is, and how much stamina he has, meant Leonard would need to throw and land a sizeable amount of punches throughout the match to have any chance of emerging victorious. Running and ducking wasn't an option as Drago was not going to wear himself out, or be easily outscored. Ray needed to remain close enough to land flurries between his larger opponent's punches, and remain agile enough to be constantly ready to move out of the way, either by dodging or dancing.

Sugar Ray began to win rounds by the ninth of this epic clash. Drago dropped for good in the second to last scheduled round of the fifteen round event, but by that point Sugar Ray was on track to take the final two and score an unheard of victory by points over the huge Soviet.
The result was that the fight was an ESPN classic based on the in game point system I still have yet to figure out. Not only that, but it was the highest score I'd ever earned.

That's more than enough for this outing into my shirking my writing duties, normal posts (or what passes for normal around here) resume next week.

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