Review by Falsiloquos

"I wish I were Little Mac"

In the game Mike Tyson's Punchout, you star not as Mike Tyson, but as a little white guy named, appropriately, Little Mac. He is about half the size of most of the boxers, and looks like he couldn't box his way out of a kleenex box.

Little Mac has an astonishing array of moves, such as the uppercut, and the jab. Actually I think that's about it. That's really not that great if you think about it. He can also block, but that doesn't tend to help, as the other boxers just punch through his poor raised arms. His most useful move is to dodge out of the way, which given his size, is a very intelligent thing for him to do. He doesn't look like he could take very many punches before dying.

His trainer throughout all his fights is a portly black man. What his relation is to Little Mac is pure speculation.

Playing Punchout is a cathartic experience. You get to hit people bigger than you, and often, beat them up pretty severely. You really are the little guy finally getting back at all those people who didn't like you in high school, or the little guy getting even with his more talented coworkers who got raises over him. See how they like this Special Uppercut! Oh, you think you're big and bald and can bull over anyone you please? Take this stomache jab, and tell it to the mat!

The fighter design is the most thought provoking part of this game. Nintendo made some serious effort to make sure that every major world culture was included in some racist stereotype or another. There's the prissy-boy spaniard, the drunk russian, the martial artist japanese, the mystic indian, and the street tough Mike Tyson. All of which get to be beaten down by the little white guy.

However, since the graphics are so cartooney (or cartoonish) you probably never thought of it like that. The graphics are a double edged sword that way. On the one hand, they mitigate the effects of the Fighters being so outlandish, after all they're just cartoons. Cartoons are all naturally stereotypes, that's what makes them funny. The more off the wall, the better. But then it takes away something from a fighting game, when you feel like a 'toon. We all know that toons can't really be hurt.

This game also gets bonus points for having Mario as the Ref. He's the no nonsense sort of presence that you want officiating any boxing match.

I gave this game an 8 because it combines classical, simple gameplay, with a classical flawless idea.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/00, Updated 04/06/00


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