Review by IceQueenZer0

"Protect your face and your ears at all times."

During the first 5 years of his career, Mike Tyson was a beast in the ring until he was momentarily tamed by James Buster Douglas who would later get his on game to help market the Genesis does what Nintendon't campaign. In 1987, Nintendo decided to give Iron Mike Tyson his own boxing based on an already released game though it was only in Japan for a few months. In fact, the Japan release at the time was a special gold cartridge given to lucky winners and Super Macho Man was the final boss for that game. Mike Tyson was added later for the US release and soon the real Japanese release.

Story
Little Mac is a scrawny little 17-year-old from Bronx, New York who is looking to become a boxer but no one wants to train him thinking he'll get the tar beat out of him every fight he gets. He was just about to give up when a man named Jerome "Doc" Lewis came along and took Little Mac under his wing and the two became best friends. He trains him to tiptop shape and soon he gets his first fight against a man whom all other trainers assumed that Little Mac will end up like. His name is Glass Joe with a measly 1W-99L record. Whoever this 1 win was against, must have taken a dive. Even if Mac wins, he still may end up like Glass Joe because the latter did manage to win 1 win and never again as did his protege Gabby Jay whom got his only win against him. Could Mac meet the same fate? That's up to you to determine. Mac's fate and reputation depends on your skills or lack of them.

Controls - 9
The Controls are very sensitive. Some opponents will fall for the tap up strategy called "gutter punches" where normally you have the control pad left alone to have the opponent blocking low when not attacking. If you hold up on the control pad, they will block high. If you tap up, you'll fool the opponent into blocking high and some opponents won't be able to recover in time to guard against a body shot that sometimes result in a free star and possibly other weaknesses.

The physics for punching are a little awkward but make sense in real life. You can't rapid punch your opponent even though it looks like you can but lets just say you decide to do a Tool Assisted Run and slowed the throttle down heavily. You'll notice that you that you cannot throw another punch until your fist comes back to it's original frame, I'm noting this because against Glass Joe, you need 20 punches total in order to get the first star with the necessary last punch being a non-counter punch. However, chances are he'll be knocked out with one punch. But, here is the interesting challenge. Try getting 20 unanswered blows before he taunts to get a star then knock him out with the star punch for good measure. Who knew that method would be used on the Wii? Chances are that you did it on the Wii first.

Another case of sensitivity is the fact that you can do a quick dodge by pressing the opposite direction the moment you dodge in a certain direction to get the jump on the opponent faster after a dodged punch faster. Avoid using that method on some opponents attacks like Super Macho Man's Multiple Clotheslines and Sandman's Triple Uppercut, just let it flow. Ducking is just for showing off as unlike the other Punch Out games, ducking is not even required in this game. All attacks can be dodged or blocked.

One thing I should probably warn you about is that if you get knocked down too many times without being TKO'd. The game has been programmed to let you stay down for the 10 count no matter how many times or how hard you try to get back up. This is so you won't think that the controls are not responding.

Graphics - 9.5
MTPO has some top of the line graphics. You get to see a lot of faces in the crowd. Even a cameraman whom assists you in your first fight against Bald Bull. When he does his Bull Charge, the cameraman will snap a photo before it is time to punch him in the gut. Each circuit has it's own color representation. Blue for Minor, Green for Major, and Turquoise for World Circuit to help you keep track of which circuit you are on as 3 of your opponents you will fight twice (Piston Honda, Bald Bull, and Don Flamenco). The best use of graphics is when you get to Mike Tyson. Nintendo did a good job of making the character look like him in every aspect and captured his power too but that's another part to review. The one thing I dislike is the cameltoe sported by Soda Popinski and Super Macho Man considering they are palette swaps. Matter of fact, King Hippo is the only boxer who is not a palette swap. Even Mike Tyson was palette swapped with Piston Honda.

Music/Sound - 10
The music and sounds really grow on you. Here's a fun fact though, some of the boxers have introduction themes that you've probably heard in real-life before like Glass Joe has the French National Anthem. Von Kaiser, Great Tiger, and Super Macho Man have Kill the Wabbit. Piston Honda has Sakura. Don Flamenco has Carmen. Soda Popinski has Yo Heave Ho (can't remember the actual song name).

The main theme itself is a rendition of Gillette Cavalcade of Sports which probably explains whey they didn't use that in the Wii version as they did with changing Honda's name to Hondo to avoid legal issues which during the 1980s not many companies worried about and got away with it.

Sounds can also play a role in defensive message. Some distinct sounds include the Magic Rush where if you are blind or just not looking at the screen, you can still win by knowing what to listen for. You got to block 5 consecutive punches and Great Tiger gets dizzy from it. One punch will send him to the canvas afterwards. You'll know a punch was coming because of the sound of grenade being tossed telling you to block it. The Multiple Clothesline from SMM works like that too. Listen for the end of the BOING to dodge the next punch.

Gameplay - 10
The game gets difficult as you progress to the game. It starts from very easy to downright ridiculous towards the end as the opponents start to deal more damage to you.

Glass Joe goes down in as little as 1 punch if you time it right but if you're timing is off when you knock him down, he'll get up at 1 and anytime an opponent gets up at 1, an uppercut will knock them back down. He is so weak that you can beat him with an arm tied behind your back but only on the 1 punch KO. I do admire his stamina though. He can take up to 5 knockdowns before he's KO'd. Even most opponents later on don't survive that many knockdowns.

Von Kaiser though being the second opponent is even easier than Glass Joe, an uppercut while he's stunned and he gets scared and hits the canvas upon impact.

Piston Honda 1 provides the first actual challenge but you can take the fight to him as he's the first opponent where you can utilize the
gutter punches. Start the fight with you hands down and tap up to make him raise his gloves. Then start punching him in the gut for a star each hit up to 4 times though you only get to use up to 3 stars. When he jumps back, he will use his Honda Rush which will keep going until he knocks you down or until you defend up to 4 punches. If you manage to punch him before he starts his Rush then you will knock him down on impact. Because this is a Championship match, you can't win by decision.

Don Flamenco 1 is a total pushover. He will just taunt you until you make him block a punch and he'll respond with a Flamenco Punch (Uppercut). Dodge it and respond with a left-right-left-right-etc. combo and it'll continue till he falls. He'll get up and throw another Flamenco Punch. Dodge, rinse, and repeat and he'll stay down for the 10 count if the second knockdown came early enough. If you are good with timing, you can get a star punch by timing a delayed punch after dodging the Flamenco Punch. An uppercut knocks him to the canvas. When he gets up, hit him in the gut and dodge the next attack and uppercut him again to finish him off.

King Hippo is the only introduction theme that doesn't seem to have been derived from anywhere I know off. The only original theme I would say at this point. King Hippo can only be hit when his mouth is open. Wait for him to open his mouth and punch him and hit in the head and he'll expose his weak point which is his belly. Hit him 8 times each time. You only need to knock him down once to win. Dude is so fat, he can't get off of his carcass once he hits the floor. The only indication that he attempts to get up is that Mario sometimes pauses at 9 before counting to 10. If you time a punch just as he opens his mouth you can get a 9 punch belly combo in.

Great Tiger is the first opponent out of two that can't be KO'd (by hook and by crook, Tyson can KO'd). However, he has a flaw in his style that'll get him TKO'd in under a minute. Just remember that as long as you knock him down in less than a minute, he will always get up at the count of 1 and you know what happens there. The most devastating move he has is the Magic Rush which I explained earlier. Block 5 punches and hit him in the face and he goes flying. I'll be nice and give you the under a minute strategy. At the start, hit towards his head to make him block the high punch and he'll respond with a left jab. Time a delayed jab for a star. Do this three times and unleash three uppercuts on him. Get at least a couple more stars and knock him down before the 1:00 mark hits then he'll get up at 1. Uppercut him to send down again and make him get up again at 1 then finish him off. Even if you are short on stars by the time the 1:00 mark approaches, make sure the second knockdown happens before 1:00 and you can take your time getting a star once it passes since he rose at 1 and the next uppercut defeats him by TKO.

Bald Bull 1 is tough as nails but he too has a fatal flaw. Like Great Tiger he can't be KO'd but the fatal flaw is dictated by the number of hooks that he throws in a row. When he starts throwing them. If he throws two in succession, he'll throw rolling jabs. If he does three hooks in succession, he will start doing numerous uppercuts. He's the first opponent to regularly dodge uppercuts when you attempt to him with them when he is stunned. Von Kaiser actually dodges them too but he never lasts that long for you to see that. Ironically, he tend to get hit with them when he is not stunned because he is usually preparing a hook. His Bull Charge is nothing to be messed with. One punch from it and you go down. On the flipside, the same thing will happen if you counter it successfully and he hit floor. He'll keep attempting this Bull Charge till the round ends or one of you gets knocked down. Because this is a Championship match, you can't win by decision.

Piston Honda 2 sees Honda step his game up. He comes out with faster jabs and fake uppercut. Like Glass Joe, he has a major fatal flaw that will get him KO'd with 1 punch if timed right and he always attempts his fateful move around the 1:00 or 2:00 mark each round. If he timed right, he goes down and stays down. If not timed right, he'll yield a star and do the Hondo Rush anyway.

Soda Popinski got his name because his arcade counterpart was not to kid friendly with the name Vodka Drunkenski. He fights with devastating uppercuts and quick hooks and surprise jabs. He fights in a southpaw stance. This guy make take a lot of damage initially but in the first round he becomes another fatal flaw victim. Hold down to block and usually during an uppercut attempt, he'll freeze and this will allow you to hit him in the gut. This is his downfall as an uppercut will knock him down from this point. The first 2 uppercuts he'll give you for free when he is stunned but he'll dodge them from the 3rd uppercut on when he's stunned. To get the final uppercut in, do the uppercut block trick twice in a row and throw an uppercut. You'll nail him when he goes for a hook or a jab. The jab might still get you if you don't do it quick enough and you trade hits.

Bald Bull 2 learned some new tricks. It's impossible to knock him down with a normal punch as he will regain his health. Only a star punch or a countered Bull Charge will knock him down. Speaking of Bull Charge, now he will shorten the charge if he misses the first one then switch back and forth between regular and short. He also gets up at 9 all the time.

Don Flamenco 2 sees Don add jabs to his repertoire and his hooks which he rarely used in the first fight are lightning quick. There is a small pattern at the start. He'll use 3 jabs and then hook and repeat the process for a minute and a half then start taunting for the rest of the round which you must hit at him to make him respond with a Flamenco Punch. Unlike the first fight, it may take more that one blocked punch to provoke him. When you are out of hearts, he'll use those super quick jabs so beware of those.

Mr. Sandman is the hardest opponent next to Tyson. He'll start with Rolling Jabs and become another fatal flaw victim courtesy of the Nightmare Punches on your part. Throw a jab to make him dodge and respond with a hook. Hit him in the face, him in the gut once or twice then delay the last punch when you see him move oh so slightly to do more damage on the final punch because it's like hitting him with a normal punch. His most dangerous move can also be his downfall if you avoid it completely. The move is the Nightmare Rush which consists of 3 quick uppercuts. You know it's coming if he stops dodging you punches. The window of opportunity to dodge is minimal but doing so will let you hit him in the face then hit him with up to 15 body shots if doesn't hit the floor yet. You can't win this fight by decision no matter how much tar you knocked out of him.

Super Macho Man is ready to release the bogus on you. It's weird that he is 23 but has gray hair but his in game sprite is black due to limitations. Gutters are his biggest enemy here. He has quick hooks and uppercuts but the moves to worry about are the clothesline and the Multi-clothesline. The former is unpredictable as to when he unleashes it but he'll stand still before he does it and allow for lots of gutter punches. The latter he'll only use after he gets up from a knockdown and 1 hit will knock you down. He does from 2-12 maybe more spins with it and the most hated part about it is that the clock will stop moving while he is doing it so you can't even be saved by the bell. Because this is a Championship match, you can't win by decision. On the gold JP release, he's the last boss.

Kid Dynamite Mike Tyson is the last boss of the game. He is super brutal. The biggest challenge is to survive the first minute and a half of the first round which he will throw uppercuts that knockdown on impact. However, if you block one at full power, you'll survive but be without any health. Once you survive, he can't throw no 1-hit knockdown uppercuts for the rest of the fight and will do jabs for the rest of the round. Tyson starts to weaken but stays tough through the rest of the fight. He has a Tyson Rush similar to the Honda rush except he'll blink his eyes before attacking. Hit him at the right time and he goes down otherwise he'll yield a star. If you time things right, you can TKO him in 1 round. Better timing of punches will result in a 3rd round KO. He won't be having any ears for breakfast anytime soon.

Overall - 9
This is one of NES best games ever and it's worth playing. You might also recognize it as just plain Punch-Out with Mike Tyson replaced by Mr. Dream which is a white-man version of him but strategy remains all the same. This game will definitely a game that will keep you on your toes as you try to figure the puzzle to this game but it is well worth the time and trouble


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/25/12

Game Release: Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (US, 10/31/87)


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