Punch-Out!!,[a] originally titled Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!,[b] is a 1987 boxing video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Part of the Punch-Out!! series, it is an adaptation of the arcade video games Punch-Out!! (1984) and Super Punch-Out!! (1984). Differences from the arcades include the addition of undisputed world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson as the final boss. It received critical acclaim, and is retrospectively considered one of the greatest video games of all time.
|Platform(s)||Nintendo Entertainment System|
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Punch-Out!! features Little Mac, fighting his way up through ranks of the World Video Boxing Association. After facing a series of colorful fictional opponents in three main circuits, and the hidden Another World Circuit, the goal is to win a final "Dream Fight" against a highly skilled boxer. In the Gold Version, the final boss is Super Macho Man, who was also the final opponent in Super Punch-Out!!. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! features Mike Tyson, the real-life World Heavyweight Champion at the time. After the license to use Tyson expired, he was replaced by the fictional Mr. Dream.
Little Mac has a limited repertoire compared to most of his opponents. His punches are limited to left and right jabs, left and right body blows, and a powerful uppercut. The uppercut can only be used once the player earns a star, which is typically accomplished by counter-punching the opponent directly before or after certain attacks are launched. The player can acquire up to three stars. To perform the uppercut, the player needs to press the start button once a star is earned. To defend, Mac can dodge left or right, duck, and block punches by putting up his guard.
Little Mac has a heart counter, which decreases upon being hit, blocking a punch, or throwing a punch that the opponent dodges or blocks. When the counter decreases to zero, Little Mac temporarily turns different shades of pink and appears tired/exhausted, leaving the player unable to attack but still able to dodge, duck, and block. At this point, Mac can regain some hearts (and his normal color palette) only by avoiding the opponent's punches. He immediately loses all of his hearts upon being knocked down, but can regain some by getting up.
A bout can end by knockout (KO), if a fighter is unable to get up within ten seconds after being knocked down; by technical knockout (TKO), if a fighter is knocked down three times in one round; or by decision, if the bout lasts three full rounds without a clear winner. In order to win by decision, the player must accumulate a certain point total by punching the opponent. Some bouts cannot be won in this manner and will automatically result in a loss for the player if the opponent is not knocked out. Mac can only get up three times during any one bout (or two times if he is fighting Mr. Sandman or Super Macho Man); if he is knocked down again, he will be unable to rise and thus lose by knockout.
When Mac loses his first bout to a ranked opponent, he will have a chance to fight a rematch. However, if he loses a Title Bout, he will fall in the rankings – one place for the Minor or Major Circuits, two places for the World Circuit. Losing a rematch causes him to fall one place (unless he is already at the bottom of his circuit), forcing him to fight his way back up. A third loss, or a loss in the Dream Fight, ends the game.
Little Mac faces a total of 14 opponents: three in the Minor Circuit, four in the Major Circuit, six in the World Circuit, and Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream. All character sprites except King Hippo are reused for two characters each, with changes made to colors, head, or special moves. Mario has a cameo as the referee.
The opponents include these:
- Glass Joe, a French boxer born in Paris. He is the first fighter the player faces in the game and the Minor Circuit.
- Von Kaiser, a German boxer born in Berlin. He is the second opponent in the Minor Circuit.
- Piston Honda, a Japanese boxer born in Tokyo. He is the professional champion of the Minor Circuit, and the player will face him again as the first opponent in the World Circuit.
- Don Flamenco, a former bull fighter and boxer from Madrid, Spain. Don is the first fighter from the Major Circuit, and the player will face him again as the fourth fighter in the World Circuit. He is much more difficult in his second fight; in the first fight, as long as the player avoids his punches and alternates punches to the face, he can continue to punch Don until he falls.
- King Hippo, an overweight fighter from the fictional Hippo Island, located in the South Pacific. He is the second fighter from the Major Circuit and is the largest fighter the player will face. King Hippo can only be hit on his gigantic belly, and the player needs to wait for him to telegraph his signature punch to begin attacking; a punch to the head will cause Hippo to block, but his slow reaction time will allow for a few punches to the midsection. Once the player lands enough punches, Hippo will fall backwards and get counted out.
- Great Tiger, an Indian boxer born in Mumbai, who uses magic to teleport and trick the player; this also works against him, as teleporting makes him dizzy and the player can knock him down with one punch while he is in this state. Tiger is the third fighter from the Major Circuit.
- Bald Bull, a Turkish fighter born in Istanbul. He has an movement called the Bull Charge where he will backtrack and then advance on the player with a punch with enough force to knock him down. However, the Bull Charge leaves Bald Bull's midsection vulnerable and a well-timed body shot will drop him to the canvas. He is champion of the Major Circuit, and the player will face him a second time in the World Circuit after defeating Soda Popinski.
- Soda Popinski, a Soviet-Russian boxer born in Moscow who enjoys drinking soda. Originally named "Vodka Drunkenski". The player faces him after defeating Piston Honda the second time.
- Mr. Sandman, an American boxer from Philadelphia. He is the top contender in the World Circuit, and the player will face him after defeating Don Flamenco for the second time.
- Super Macho Man, an American boxer from Hollywood, California who is the World Circuit champion.
- Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream, the final boss.
Punch-Out!! was developed by Nintendo Research & Development No. 3. Genyo Takeda (the producer of the Punch-Out!! arcade games), was the director of the NES game. Because the NES is not as powerful as the arcade hardware, they could not recreate the arcade graphics. Instead of making the playable boxer wire-framed or transparent in order to see the opponent, they made the playable boxer smaller and named him Little Mac, a 17-year-old boxer weighing about 107 pounds. The behavior of each opposing boxer follows a set pattern requiring trial and error and memorization to defeat them.
The theme song for Punch Out!! is "Look Sharp-Be Sharp", composed by Mahlon Merrick. It originated with the radio and TV program Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (1942–1960), with a variety of sports and eventually focusing more on boxing. It was featured in the 1980 boxing film, Raging Bull.
Before the public release of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, Nintendo released it in a gold-colored Famicom cartridge titled Punch-Out!! in Japan, without Mike Tyson, as a prize for participating in the Famicom Disk System's Famicom Golf: U.S. Course tournament held in September 1987. 10,000 units were produced—half were given as high score prizes, and the rest were given as a lottery prize. Its final opponent is Super Macho Man, who is also the final opponent in the arcade game Super Punch-Out!!.
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!Edit
Around the time the Gold Version was released for a NES Open Tournament Golf competition, Nintendo of America's founder and former president Minoru Arakawa attended a boxing match featuring future heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Arakawa became so astonished with the athlete's "power and skill" that he was inspired to use his likeness in the upcoming game. Tyson was rumored to have been paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. This transaction was something of a risk for Nintendo, as it occurred before Tyson won the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship from Trevor Berbick on November 22, 1986, which greatly increased the profit for the game. Nintendo re-released Punch-Out!! in Japan.
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! was re-branded simply as Punch-Out!!, and re-released in the U.S. and Europe in 1990 and 1991, respectively. When Nintendo's license had expired with Mike Tyson, his likeness was replaced by a fictional character named Mr. Dream. His visual likeness and undefeated record are based on Rocky Marciano. This version of the game is used in all Virtual Console releases, Animal Crossing, the NES Classic Edition, and on Nintendo Switch Online (which Mike Tyson contested).
In Animal Crossing for the GameCube, it is one of the rarer unlockable NES games. Punch-Out!! (released as Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream in English to distinguish from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!) was released on Wii's Virtual Console service on March 30, 2007, in Europe and Australia, on April 3, 2007, in Japan, and on April 16, 2007, in North America. Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream was released on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console on February 1, 2012, in Japan, on March 1, 2012, in Europe and Australia, March 8, 2012, in North America; on the Wii U's Virtual Console service in North America, Europe, and Australia on March 20, 2013, and in Japan on June 5, 2013; and on the North American and PAL region versions of the NES Classic Edition on November 11, 2016. It was released on Nintendo Switch Online on April 10, 2019.
Punch-Out!! was well received by critics. In 1989, Computer and Video Games magazine said the NES version of "the great boxing arcade game" had "big, brilliantly drawn and animated sprites, a brilliant control method and utterly superlative gameplay", making it "definitely THE best boxing game available on any machine". ACE magazine in 1989 listed it as the second highest-rated NES game, after Super Mario Bros. They stated it bashes "the proverbial s@*t out of any other home boxing game on any other console or computer" and it proves "that even if Nintendo's hardware may be technologically naff, they can still squeeze an excellent game onto a cartridge".
A GameSpot reader poll ranked it as the 6th greatest NES game. Nintendo Power magazine ranked it as the 17th best game for a Nintendo system in its Top 200 Games list. In August 2008, Nintendo Power listed it as the sixth best NES game, praising it for putting arcade-style fun over realism. Historian Steve L. Kent called it the second major game of 1987. Author Nathan Lockard cited the graphics, violence, controls, and the variety for making it a "true classic" and one of the best NES games. In 2005, Punch-Out!! is on GameSpot's list of the greatest games of all time. Editor Shawn Laib of Den of Geek ranked it 7th out of the 15 Best NES Games of All Time, and Esquire's Dom Nero and Cameron Sherrill ranked it fifth.
GamesRadar ranked it the 11th best NES game ever made, calling it a "brilliant puzzle game [disguised] as a sports game". Game Informer ranked Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! as its 14th favorite game ever in 2001. The staff noted that no boxing game since has been as "beloved". IGN named it the 7th best NES game. Official Nintendo Magazine ranked the game 74th in a list of greatest Nintendo games. Punch Out!! has an active speedrunning community. For several years, the record for each fight in the game was held by Matt Turk.
Power Punch IIEdit
After the release of Punch-Out!!, Krome Studios Melbourne began developing an official sequel starring Mike Tyson with manager Don King. Originally titled Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch, it was supposed to take the series into outer space where Tyson would participate in an intergalactic boxing tournament against various space aliens. Production was immediately troubled following Tyson's 1991 incarceration for the alleged rape of Desiree Washington. Beam changed the Tyson character's name to Mark Tyler and modified King and slightly changed the character graphics. Nintendo refused to publish it due to lack of quality. Eventually, ASC Games published it as Power Punch II, as the first Power Punch game.
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