With heavy competition from Wii Fit, can Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout be a contender?
Thanks to the extraordinary success of Wii Fit, a new market for fitness and exercise games has flourished on the Wii. Last year Ubisoft released My Fitness Coach and Majesco released Jillian Michael’s Fitness Ultimatum. EA is also releasing EA Sports Active. Now we have Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout, and thankfully it holds up pretty well against the competition.
Comparisons to Wii Fit are inevitable. The first thing you should know is that while both titles preach healthy living and fitness, they focus on different aspects of exercise. Wii Fit is all about posture, flexibility, and balance through relaxing Yoga exercises and light aerobics. On the other hand, Gold’s Gym is about making your heart pump through rigorous boxing training sessions.
Like Wii Fit, when you first start Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout you are asked to make a profile in which you input your weight, height, and on-screen avatar. Up to eight players can create profiles on one game save. Once this process is done you select your trainer and preferred control method, and start your first boxing lesson. After a control tutorial you are taken to the main menu, where you decide where you want to go next.
The first option you’ll see is Shape Boxing. This is where you’ll go through rhythm boxing lessons of various skill levels. Everything from the rules and basics of Gold’s Gym to advanced boxing lessons can be found here. Each section has up to six lessons; each lesson tells you the duration of the exercise, the difficulty rating, and approximately how many calories you will burn before you start. When you complete the tests the game rates your performance by giving you your body’s age. All of the lessons are unlocked from the start, and you can choose which one you want to participate in. There is one last difficulty setting that can be unlocked.
Next is Boxing Examination. Once you feel that you have mastered the boxing lessons you can go to this mode and participate in each test. Each test is unlocked as you successfully complete the previous one.
The fun continues with Exercise mode. This mode has various mini-games that vary a bit from the boxing lessons, but keep the fundamentals of fitness intact. Rhythm, quick punching, and dodging and weaving are covered here. In this mode you can also use the Wii Balance Board for additional exercises.
Finally there is the “My Data” option. As the name states, this is where you keep track of your records, change your character data, and even buy clothes for your character. Borrowing a page from Wii Fit’s playbook, each day is tracked by the number of punches you threw during each session, and the accomplishments you have achieved each day.
Gold’s Gym allows you to either use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck or two Wii Remotes. While both control setups work great, the game works best with two Wii Remotes. The game does a great job of detecting the timing and rhythm of your punches. The game also lets you choose a song before each lesson. Many tracks are offered, including Eye of the Tiger from the movie Rocky. You can also alter the volume of the track if you want more music or to hear the voice of the trainer more clearly.
All of this makes Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout a very robust and well-documented fitness title. The presentation of the game’s exercises rival that of Wii Fit, thanks to its trainers always shouting commands while helping you keep the rhythm. You will almost never feel lost or confused when handling even the most complicated session. Best of all, when you start a day in Gold’s Gym you have the option of choosing a light session to warm up, or selecting the A La Carte mode, which lets you select which exercises you want to perform for the day.
An important factor in any exercise program (whether it’s through fitness games like this one or real life training) is that it provides enough positive reinforcement to encourage the player to keep at it, yet allows enough flexibility to let the player exercise his or her own way. Gold’s Gym excels at both. As previously mentioned, the trainers are always barking commands as well as motivating you to follow the rhythm, and you can choose which exercise to do each day.
One advantage Gold’s Gym has over Wii Fit is that all of the exercises and lessons are easy to learn, allowing any player of any skill to participate. Not everyone can complete the yoga and strength training lessons in Wii Fit, and it can be very demanding regarding how you perform an exercise. If you can punch, dodge, and weave, then you can play any of the lessons that Gold’s Gym offers.
That said, there are a few minor flaws. Dodging and weaving takes a while to master, due to the game using the movement of the Wii Remote(s) to detect what the player is doing. The additional mini-games need to be unlocked, something that some players don't like about Wii Fit and might not appreciate in Gold’s Gym. Sadly there’s no head to head mode for 2 players. Finally, while the game offers some exercises that use the Balance Board, they are the same exercises seen in Wii Fit’s strength training, making them somewhat redundant since in when you get the Balance Board you also get Wii Fit with it.
Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout might seem like a wannabe riding off the success of Wii Fit, or worse, be considered by some as a shameless shovelware title. But if you give the game a chance you will discover that, even when it borrows ideas from Wii Fit, it does enough on its own to make it a compelling package that complements Wii Fit very well. If you’ve played Wii Fit a lot and want to discover something different, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout is definitely worth a look.