The Sightless Fighter's Guide to Knockout Kings 2003, by Seediffusion!


Welcome to the Sightless Fighter's Guide to Knockout Kings 2003! This guide will explain everything you need to know in order to play the Nintendo GameCube's first boxing title, EA Sports Knockout Kings 2003, as effectively as possible as a blind gamer. In this guide, we will discuss things such as how to navigate the game's various menus, the game controls used for fighting, and an overview of the audio cues you will hear when playing Knockout Kings 2003. Note: I will not cover absolutely everything about Knockout Kings 2003 in this guide. There's simply too much stuff to cover. Plus, some of the menus are quite complex and contain a hell of a lot of options; we'd probably be hear all week if I was to go over them all.

In this section, we will run through a few of the menus you'll come across in Knockout Kings 2003. We won't cover all of them, we'll just cover the really important ones, the ones you're more likely to use the most.

Getting around

There are effectively 2 types of menu in Knockout Kings 2003. Those that can only be navigated by scrolling up and down, and those that can be navigated by scrolling up, down, left and right. Up/down menus will be referred to in this guide as type 1, while up/down/left/right menus will be referred to as type 2. Both type 1 and type 2 menus can either be navigated using the arrow buttons on the controller's D pad, or the control stick. However, regardless of menu type, there's one very important thing that all menus have in common, and all blind players should watch out for. That is, wrapping menus. A wrapping menu is essentially a menu that runs on forever. It doesn't have an infinite amount of items, but it won't stop after you reach the last item, it'll just loop back to the first. A non-wrapping menu simply won't let you navigate past the first or last option. Since a wrapping menu runs on forever, a blind person will never know whether they're on the very first or very last item because the navigation sound won't stop playing as there's no boundary to hit. This is why blind people must be so wary of these menus, as it could mean the difference between selecting the desired option, or pressing an arrow key too many times and choosing the complete wrong one. You'll know if you're successfully navigating a menu in Knockout Kings 2003 if you hear a click, click, click sound when scrolling around. Scrolling up has a high pitched click, scrolling left and right has a slightly lower pitched click, and scrolling down has an even lower pitched click. One last thing. In all menus, you use the A button to select an option, and the B button to go back.

The main menu is a type 1 menu, it can only be navigated up and down. To access this menu:

1. Slugfest

Slugfest, a new game mode introduced in Knockout Kings 2003 and the default option in the main menu, sees fighters battling it out with no rounds, time limits, judges or rules on illegal techniques, in a packed arena with the crowd hanging off the edge of their seats.

2. Exhibition

Down one from Slugfest mode is Exhibition mode, which is simply your bog standard twelve-round boxing match we're all used to. In exhibition mode, each round lasts 1 and a half minutes by default, and illegal techniques, such as elbow hits or punches below the belt, are disallowed and will see a fighter disqualified if used too many times.

3. Create Boxer

This is essentially a character customiser, and is used in the game's career mode. Basically, create a custom boxer with clothing, skin, hairstyle etc, and have them rise through the ranks as they defeat opponent after opponent, and retire at the end of it all. I haven't explored this feature, and I highly recommend you don't either. It's very complex, involving many different menu options, navigation levels etc.

4. Options

This allows you to control various aspects of game play, such as the length of rounds, whether commentators speak or not, and a few others. We'll cover the options menu further on in this section.

5. Memory Card

6. Inside EA sports

Choose your fighter

Both Slugfest mode and Exhibition mode allow you to choose a boxer to fight as. To access the menu to choose a fighter in Slugfest mode, scroll down once from the highlighted option, labelled Fight, and hit the A button. To access the menu in Exhibition mode, go down twice and hit A. You will enter into a type 2 menu that can be scrolled up, down, left and right. As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of different boxers to choose from in this menu, so we won't go into it in great detail. However, the default option in this menu is, of course, Muhammad Ali. So far, I've used Kazahiro Arikawa more than any other fighter. To highlight Arikawa, simply scroll right 7 times. Once you've explored the menu and chosen a fighter, press the A button to select that fighter. Once your desired boxer is chosen, if you're in Exhibition mode, you'll then be asked to choose an opponent. That is, the boxer you want to fight. Again, this is a type 2 menu. Once you've highlighted an option, press A to confirm your choice. Slugfest mode players don't get to pick an opponent, since the opponents are chosen by the game in a specific order. Unfortunately, the game will not announce the boxers you've selected, so you'll have to rely on a bit of menu exploration, trial and error, and in-fight commentary to determine if the options you selected were right or not. Once you've picked both your fighter and opponent (Exhibition mode), or just your fighter (Slugfest mode), You'll be returned to the game play menu, with Fight as the highlighted option. Simply hit A, and the background menu music will stop, the bell will sound, and the fight will begin! Please note: The fighter/opponent you choose will be the new default fighter/opponent for the rest of your game session. Keep this in mind when choosing a new fighter and/or opponent later on.

Setting options

To activate the options menu, bring up the main menu, scroll down 3, and press the A button. You will be presented with a type 2 menu containing 7 items. Scroll up and down to navigate between the options, and left and right to adjust the highlighted option.

1. Difficulty

This option, of course, determines the difficulty of fights. This option can either be set to Amateur, Rookie, Pro, or Champion. Rookie is the default setting. Higher difficulties indicate faster, more brutal AI opponents that are harder to knock down and defeat.

2. Time

Down one from difficulty is time. There are 2 time settings: double time (default) and realtime. In double time, each round lasts 90 seconds. In realtime, this is extended to 3 minutes. Since realtime has significantly longer rounds, it is much easier to achieve a technical knockout (TKO) which requires that a fighter be knocked down 3 times in a single round.

3. Auto KO recovery

This setting is on by default. If turned off, your fighter will not automatically rise to their feet after being knocked down. Instead, you will stay down for the whole 10 seconds, and your opponent will win the match by knockout. This setting does not affect your opponent, they'll continue to get back up when knocked down, unless you give them enough of a beating that they stay down for the full count of 10.

4. Rumble

Put simply, this setting toggles controller vibrations. I advise you to leave this on, as it is by default, so you know exactly when you're taking a beating and how much danger you're in.

5. Speech

This setting controls whether commentary, ring announcements, counting etc is heard or not. It is on by default, and I recommend you leave it that way for obvious reasons. Also, the commentary can really help when gaging how both you and your opponent are performing in a match.

6. Music volume

Controls the volume of the background menu music. Scroll left to turn the volume down, and right to turn it up.

7. SFX volume

Controls the volume of in-game sound effects. Again, scroll left to reduce the volume, and right to increase it.

Applying settings

If you're satisfied with your settings, simply press the A button to save them. You will be returned to the main menu, with Slugfest as the highlighted option.

A quick final note

After a fight, in either Slugfest or Exhibition mode, you will automatically return to the main menu with Slugfest mode highlighted.

Fight controls

Here are the different input commands you can use in a fight. These controls aren't as complex and involved as they are in previous Knockout Kings releases, however, as a result, they are more accessible and easier to learn, get used to, and remember.

Sound cues

While Knockout Kings 2003 doesn't have talking menus, in-game text to speech etc, there are a number of immersive audio cues which, in my view, do an excellent job of making the game as accessible as possible for blind players.

As mentioned in the menus section, you will hear a short click, click, click sound as you navigate through the different menus. You can tell which direction you're scrolling based on the pitch of these clicks. Pressing A and B in menus also have their own respective sounds


Though the constant commentary might seem annoying, it can be really useful in gaging how either you or your opponent is faring during a fight. For example, you might hear 'Arikawa looks hurt'!, or 'Holyfield does not look too good'! The more often you hear these types of commentary, the closer either fighter is to a knockdown. In Slugfest mode, you will either hear the commentator shout at you for taking a beating/not fighting well, or praising you for your awesome boxing abilities.

Power meter, Slugfest mode

The more abuse you give your opponent in Slugfest mode, the higher your power meter will be. This is indicated by both a random sound on the left side of the stereo field and the commentator telling you to increase the meter for more power. The commentator will also advise you on the best time to perform your fighter's special punch. I'm not sure if there's a cue for special punches themselves, as I've seemingly never been able to get them to work. You may also hear a sound on the right side of the stereo field, followed by a gunshot. This is bad, as it means your opponent has just launched a special attack on you, sending your risk of a knockdown sky high!


When a fighter is knocked down, you will first hear a few very loud gunshots. You may also hear heartbeats, camera clicks, and various other sound effects before the boxer falls to the mat with a loud, satisfying thud! You'll know when you've been knocked down when you start to hear your heartbeat along with the somewhat lowered pitch of the count to 10. When your opponent is down, the count will be at normal pitch, and you won't hear a heartbeat during the count.

Ready for rumble!

Knockout Kings 2003 makes use of the rumble mechanics of the GameCube controller to provide a sense of engagement and immersion, but it also serves as an accessibility feature for not only the blind, but the deaf/hard of hearing also. For instance, when your opponent hits you, you will feel a short vibration from the controller. Pretty generic stuff. One noteworthy way in which rumble is used as an accessibility feature is with your fighter's health bar. When your fighter's health is running low and he's about to fall, you will start to feel a very slow, small, soft pulse from the controller. As your health gets lower, this pulse will gradually grow stronger and faster until you are finally knocked to the ground. It's as though you're feeling your fighter's heartbeat as all the energy is beaten out of him. This can be quite hard to notice in more fast-paced fights, but if you pay very close attention, you will surely notice it.


I hope this guide has helped you to understand the workings of the truly fantastic boxing game that is Knockout Kings 2003, and to be the most successful blind fighter you can possibly be. If you'd like to contact me, you can do so in the following ways.


I used AI tools to help me write this guide, namely image descriptions through GPT4, which costs money to keep using. I also have a couple of personal costs to cover. If you appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into this guide, and would like to support me financially, here are a few ways you can do so.