The instant you press the power button, the crowd begins to roar and the bell rings while all you see is pitch black. Suddenly the renowned gap-toothed smile of Mike Tyson greets you informing that he awaits your challenge. Do you have what it takes to challenge Mike? Do not get discouraged when you see that you play as a scrawny 107 lb. kid from the Bronx, for Little Mac packs a lot of punches. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! is the ideal game for any boxing fan or gamer looking for some good quality fun.
Uppercuts, jabs, and dodging – although those are Little Mac’s primary moves, be prepared to defend against the omnipotent moves of your unearthly opponents. The game begins with easily defeated fighters and progresses to incomprehensively difficult and massive sized opponents. Each fighter has his trademark blows and secret weaknesses. It’s up to you to discover the rhythm to their defeat. Once you figure out the method, it is a matter of timing your button-smashing technique.
Although Little Mac doesn’t have nearly half the fancy moves his opponents bombard him with, he has a super uppercut punch that is unleashed once you press the start button after having obtained a star point. If you use this move often you increase your chances of winning a KO as opposed to working through an entire three rounds for a TKO.
Little Mac fights his way through the Minor Circuit challenging the less intimidating fighters from all over the world – the breakable Glass Joe, German Von Kaiser, and Piston Honda from Japan. After winning the championship he goes on to the Major Circuit to fight Don Flamenco from Spain, Hippo Island’s ruler King Hippo, Great Tiger from India, and the Turkish Bald Bull. Then at the World Circuit, you run into some of the previous fighters, except they are much stronger and surprise you with some new techniques. The order that you challenge them in is Piston Honda, Soda Popinski, Bald Bull, Don Flamenco, Mr. Sandman, and Super Macho Man. The long awaited battle against Mike Tyson is only seconds away. Very few are able to defeat Mike on the first try because it takes time to unveil his fighting technique to be able to counter his ferocious 8-12 consecutive punches. Be sure to jot down the code before challenging him since Punch Out!! allows you to enter a pass key at the title screen to continue where you left off. This saves you the excruciating pain of having to replay everything. This is extremely valuable since there is no saving or pausing throughout the game. But this only increases the adrenaline flow and your inability to let go of the controller.
The characters are illustrated very well. Their exaggerated jacked physiques make them out to be gargantuan beasts compared to poor little Mac. All characters have eccentric personalities that are portrayed through their detailed design – the Hippo King being the obese boxer who wears a crown, the Great Tiger wears a turban and decorates his corner with a premium quality tiger skin, and Don Flamenco dances a short tango with a rose in his mouth. Be prepared for culture stereotypes galore, but at least they are very well distributed and target just about everyone. These creative character personas liven up the game by adding more details to what would have been a boring sports game without them. Another visual contribution is the crowd in the background as the fighters go at it. They are constantly moving and cheering, where as in other games the absence of a crowd makes it seem as if the players are simply practicing. When a fighter achieves victory there are camera flashes all over and excessive dramatic gloating to destroy your amour propre.
One of the most significant scenes is where heavyset Doc, your personal trainer, number one devotee and self-esteem booster, is riding a bike while Mac follows in a fashionable pink jogging suit. The two ride and run along the river with a breathtaking view of New York City where you can pick out the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. You are rewarded with such a spectacular scene and heart-warming music for your efforts, which adds emotion to the story. You will also enjoy the cameo appearance by the superstar Mario as referee, besides Mike Tyson.
The music during the first ten seconds of the game sets the exciting fight mode you will feel all throughout the game. At the title screen you get a fist full of punch once you make your choice. Sounds are accurately in sync with all the moves in Punch Out!!. Some fighters get a unique and catchy jingle while they flaunt their stuff before the show begins. The constant big talk of theirs gets intimidating, especially when you’re knocked down. This is when the insane heart-racing music comes on and you immediately take up your crazy button-smashing stance to help Mac get up. After you commence breathing again you must continue the round with less life. Each punch and dodge has a significant sound. And apparently referee Mario suffers from the same condition Charlie Brown’s teacher did since he makes these awkward sounding pouts. Nonetheless, the music in Punch Out!! is distinct and exhilarating. It helps maintain the pumped up feel until the final challenge where you need all the enthusiasm you can get.
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is an all-time favorite and it is a great game to pick up and play anytime. Although the game does not unlock any new features, it is enticing and challenging. You can create your own challenges such as attempting to defeat Mike Tyson before the end of Round 2. The themes are humorous and the variety of players, difficulties, and techniques pose a good challenge to even the most veteran of players. Punch Out is not a two-player game due to the fighting layout, but it makes a great game to play with a group. Some can take on the task of beating certain fighters, while you have a designated “button smasher” that will simultaneously press the A & B buttons to rescue Little Mac, which can be a tiring job. This way you have the controller going around to everyone, and all can enjoy this fun boxing tournament. Punch Out’s easy-to-play controls, Rocky-inspired theme, and hectic action will have you playing for years to come.