Review by Timmy Big Hands
"As good as boxing gets on the NES"
In the heyday of the NES if you wanted a good boxing game you were pretty much out of luck until Mike Tyson’s Punch-out came on the scene. Basically you are an underdog boxer named Little Mac (He’s 3’7 and 107 pounds!) with a strong uppercut who has to box his way up through the ranks. What really makes this boxing game stand out from the others is the amount of personality that goes into all the characters. Between each round the opposing boxer will speak his mind (Bald Bull: my barber didn't know when to quit, do you?), and you cornerman will give you some advice, ranging from useful ones like ''Keep you guard up!'', to the irritatingly useless ''Join the Nintendo Power club, Mac!'' The boxers themselves are pretty cool, you have Super Machoman with his constantly flexing pecs (eww), or Don Flamenco who dances with a rose in his teeth before every fight. Unfortunately, a few early boxers appear again later on due to space constraints.
In a fight you battle it out for 3 one-minute rounds or until someone goes down for 10 seconds, or if someone gets knocked down 3 times in one round. This is where one of the games flaws becomes apparent, the odds are heavily stacked in the opponents favor due to recovery. If Little Mac gets knocked down 3 times over the duration of the entire match (or sometimes 4) then he'll go down and stay down. Not only that, but the health he'll have left when he gets back up is mimimal. On the other hand, you can knock down your opponent 6 times without scoring a knockout, and each time he gets back up his health will be almost full. This is extremely frustrating because in fights where you're clearly dishing out more punishment you can still suffer total defeat.
Graphics (9/10): Who needs realism? The boxers are animated very well, and everything looks right. I don't really know what else to say.
Sound (5/10): Sonically this game is really lacking something. There's only a few songs total, one of which is the only one that plays during a fight. I've always found the NES' high-pitched sound annoying, and this game is a classic reason why.
Value (8/10): Although there is an average frustration level there (not nearly as high as other NES games, though), expect to be entertained for a long time. The boxers in the world circuit are tough, so expect to be playing for a while. Its worth a ROM download, and worth picking up used.
Gameplay (7/10): The problem here is the control, in my opinion. Little Mac can only sidestep for around a split second, so if you plan on dodging certain attacks you're have to plan perfectly. Also, in an attempt to raise difficulty the game uses the crappy controls and chesse attacks (Not even Mike Tyson knocks people out in one punch) to raise difficulty, instead of just bringing about genuinely challenging boxers. (Super punch-out does this beautifully, although the last 2 boxers in that game are somewhat guilty of that) Although there's that huge flaw, the fun factor, which is most important is there, making this game a good bit of nostaliga for boxing fans, and a must-play for any NES fans.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/01/01, Updated 02/01/01
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