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Punch-Out! (NES) artwork

Punch-Out! (NES) review

"The Mike Tyson version is just a tad bit better though, due to the fact that is has Mad Mike instead of the generic Mr. Dream. However, you can't go wrong with either version."

It's just not Punch-Out without Mike Tyson.

That's the simple rule. This game is exactly similar to Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, except that Mike Tyson was removed due to his ''legal issues'' with a woman inside of a hotel room. Nintendo was worried about backlash, so they changed the final boxer from Mike Tyson to Mr. Dream. Everything else in the game is kept similar.

Why they made the switch is not really clear. Punch-Out is a boxing game. Boxing isn't exactly known as a sport with a clean, prestigous reputation. After all, you beat the crap out of another guy. Sales actually took a hit because people weren't as willing to pay for a game with Mr. Dream instead of Iron Mike Tyson. And after the ear-biting incidents, the original game became even more popular.

Neverthless, despite the censorship, Punch-Out with Mr. Dream is still an excellent game. It manages to provide fun and playability to a genre that is mostly full of really bad simulations. Punch-Out is successful because it rebuffs traditional boxing and offers an arcade style boxing experience that any gamer can enjoy, not just boxing fans.

You play the role of Little Mac, a young, inspiring boxer. Now, let's just ignore the fact that even though he's around 5'0'' and 140 pounds, and white, that he allgedly survived and came out of Queens, New York. It's your job as Little Mac to fight your weight up the ranks of boxing. It's a little bit unrealistic, since Little Mac doesn't seem to have a weight division, and routinely goes against people who are over two hundred pounds...

The boxing in Punch-Out is kept simple. The left and right keys dodge left and right, the A button throws a left punch to the body, and the B button throws a right. Holding the up key while doing any of this throws a punch to the jaw. Dodging quickly will allow you to gain an uppercut, a more powerful punch to the face, executed by pressing select.

All of this becomes second nature after the first few throwaway bouts against the dregs of the Minor Circuit. After winning the Minor Circuit, you move up to the Major, then finally World. Each circuit boasts new, more elaborate boxers to battle against. They range from Glass Joe, a boxer who's never won, to King Hippo, an immense giant who doesn't even feel most of your punches.

Each boxer has a distinct style and way of fighting that you must exploit to defeat him. Most of these involving dodging their attacks, then counter attacking with either a flurry of body blows or jabs to the face. Recognizing patterns is a vital key to success.

Punch-Out has a sliding scale of difficulty. The early stages are extremely easy to beat, and I'd be surprised if somebody couldn't beat Glass Joe. The game becomes steadily harder as you progress through the circuits. Enemy punches hit with more force, and they're harder to dodge and attack. The game culminates with Mike Ty- errr Mr. Dream, a punch with one punch knockout power and almost unbeatable defense.

Graphically, Punch-Out features nice, large characters. The animation is nearly flawless, and the attention to detail is outstanding. Each character has their own unique mannerisms, right down to facial expressions. All in all, a fantastic job is done with the graphics.

Musically, Punch-Out features one theme throughout most of the game. It's pretty damn catchy, although it will become reptitive after a few games. The sound effects are oustanding though, as the thud of gloves on gloves can be heard with each punch.

Overall, Punch-Out is an outstanding game, no matter which version you get. The Mike Tyson version is just a tad bit better though, due to the fact that is has Mad Mike instead of the generic Mr. Dream. However, you can't go wrong with either version.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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