+ One of the most memorable bosses in gaming history
+ Awesome original boxers
+ Great gameplay, password enabled
- Play it enough and it can be beaten quickly
- This version with Mike Tyson will likely never be released again…
In 1987 Nintendo released their arcade hit Punch-Out!! on the NES. Like all arcade to home conversions at the time, the game was changed to accommodate the systems capabilities. First, Nintendo completely redid the games graphics – Instead of using a wire frame body for your Boxer, Nintendo dropped the perspective down a little so players could fully see themselves as well as their opponents. This instantly made Punch-Out a more accessible.
(The voice sound effects of the arcade are missing on the NES – no more ”body blow, body blow!” or “knock him out! knock him out!”. At least Tyson’s Punch Out!! has music during fights and could be finished at home – the arcade version went on forever with no final boss.)
The Second major change Nintendo made was giving your boxer a name, which for some reason, he happened to be lacking in the arcade version. Due to your boxer’s small size, Nintendo went with the name “Little Mac”, who soon after the games release went on to become another star in Nintendo’s already incredible galaxy of characters. Mac didn’t do it all himself though, he had the help of his trainer Doc Louis and a long list of wacky and memorable opponents to face off against. At the top of that list – none other then the current Heavy Weight Champion of the World, Mike Tyson.
The story goes, Nintendo of America’s founder and former president Minoru Arakawa attended a boxing match featuring Mike Tyson. He was so impressed by the fighters power and skill, he had to have his name and likeness attached to the upcoming port of Punch-Out!! coming to the NES. He believed Iron Mike’s name would help the game sell and lets just say, he made the right choice.
There is no question about it, adding Iron Mike to the game, at a time when he was most popular and simply destroying opponents in the ring – mixed with the NES’s own increasing popularity, was the right recipe for success. Even people who didn’t like boxing wanted to their shot at the champ. However Tyson ended up being a bonus to the game’s fantastic gameplay.
Mac only has five moves – left and right body-blows, left and right jabs and a special “star uppercut”. On the defensive side of things, Mac can dodge left and right, duck (press Down) and block (press Up). Every one of Mac’s opponents fight incredibly different, except for three repeat fights near the end of the game. As Mac makes his way up the ranks, each opponent will increase in difficulty, all have patterns of punches and some, potent special moves. As you move through the circuits, memorization of their individual patterns is a must as some specials will knock you out instantly. Of course, the game’s perfect control makes dodging or blocking ”annoyance free” most of the time..
(Take a look at the freakish humanoid Mario referee drawn below, on the now official cover of Punch-Out!! on the right, yikes! I’ll take the guy that looks nothing like Mario on the left, thanks!)
In 1991 Nintendo’s licensing deal with Mike Tyson was over. Nintendo did not renew the license - no “specific” reason was given for their choice however Tyson was no longer Boxing’s Heavy Weight Champion in 1991. From ’91 on, Mike Tyson’s name was dropped from the game which would now be know simply as Punch-Out!! Nintendo replaced Iron Mike with the very lame Arnold Schwarzenegger look alike, Mr. Dream. Dream was basically a white Mike Tyson with a different head on top. He had all the same moves as Tyson, he could still knock you out with a single uppercut in the first 1:30 seconds of round one, but somehow couldn’t strike fear into the hearts of gamers the way the Punch-Out!!’s original boss did – even before the ear incident.
Check out the video below for a better look at ALL of the crazy Boxers - their special moves and some of the pattens you’ll have to memorize to help Little Mac up the ranks in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Overall below…
To this day Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is undisputedly the most famous boxing game of all time, and for good reason. It looks and plays great and its long list of characters and their special moves are some of the most memorable you’ll ever face off against. If you haven’t played Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! yet, you must – and try and reach Iron Mike yourself, don’t use “the code”, and your sure to see all the brilliance Nintendo packs inside each, three minute round. “Now let’s keep it clean and come out Boxing!”