Sunday, November 9, 2008

Retro Review: Punch-Out!!

It has been 20 years since Punch-Out!! came to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but this year the game was re-released for the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console, bringing its main character Little Mac out of retirement and back into the ring. I took this classic game for another spin as I wanted to see if the game could stand the test of time and still be enjoyable for this generation of gamers.
When Punch-Out!! loads up, you’ll find out right away that it has a new title. Out is the original title of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! and in is the new title of Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream. Mike Tyson’s name will no longer be a part of the title because of a contract dispute back in the 90’s.
So, instead of fighting Tyson, you’re fighting Mr. Dream in the ultimate championship contest. Mr. Dream is the complete opposite of Tyson, and when I played against him, I still wish I was fighting Tyson he’s that good.
I was extremely young when I originally played the game, and it was harder for me to remember how to specifically to defeat each character.
Punch-Out!!, for those who don’t know, is a boxing game that follows the career of 17-year-old Little Mac. You take on the role of Mac and your ultimate desire is to become the next big boxing champion. To get to that point, you have to work your way through numerous characters that each have a specific way of punching them out. It’s called Punch-Out!! for a reason.
The other boxers you face start from easy to tough. You will start with a character named Glass Joe, who is a pushover, as he barely hits back and continue all the way to Mr. Dream who is far from a pushover.
The question here is if the game is still fun when playing it for the first time in years. The answer to that question is simple yes. The game holds up after all this time. The game design is solid, the characters are interesting, and the theme music will once again be stuck in your head. Which proves that Nintendo knows how to develop a game and develop it in a way where it can stand the test of time.
One thing I will admit is that the game’s soundtrack does not have a lot of variety, so get used to hear the same thing over and over.
The graphics are very impressive for its time. This is a game running on a system that supports very few bits, yet, you have wonderful, large and colorful character animation that holds up extremely well for the NES.
Diving back into the game, besides from just boxing, there is still some golden lines. Your boxing mentor, Doc, will give you hints on how to beat certain characters. The most annoying part about Punch-Out!! and Doc’s pointers, however, is when he decides to not give you any pointers, but to tell you to join the Nintendo Fun Club today.
Here I am getting beaten to a pulp and all he can say is to join a club that most likely doesn’t even exist anymore. It annoyed me years ago, and does the same today. Nintendo, please tell Doc to get new tips.
With the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console, younger gamers can now download this game and other gems from the 80’s and be frustrated with it, like we all were back in the day.
One thing that still remains in the game is its unforgivable game play. Newcomers will be bested by the game’s unforgiving challenges, and will have to get used to be sent back
down the ranks and start over.
Some may be turned off by the infamous challenge Punch-Out!! poses, but this is simply the best boxing game ever made, period. No graphic upgrades or slow motion punches can ever beat the feeling you receive when you load up Punch-Out!!
The controls are still tight and the game play is still hard and addictive, something so many games nowadays fall short of.
Even though it is several years since the game was released, and even with the removal of Mike Tyson, it is still the gold standard of boxing games.

9 OUT OF 10.


Postman said...

Dude you must have been like 1 year old when Punch Out came out. I'm 28 and I barely remember it. We were too poor to get a Nintendo but played it all the time at a friend's house. Absolutely love that game.

Anonymous said...

I agree, that is an all time favorite game.


Caleb Wickman