Review by BrandonJ33

"Little Mac lays down the smack."

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out was one of the most popular NES games in its day. It deserves all of the credit it received. The player takes control of Little Mac, and believe me... he's LITTLE compared to the other fighters. You'll have to make your way up the ranks, winning a few titles, until you face Mike Tyson in the game's final fight. Throughout the game, you'll fight a total of 11 different characters (correct me if I'm wrong). Some fighters will reappear later in the game, along with new strategies on how to beat you.

Character design and animation are, in my opinion, the best on the NES. Your opponents are LARGE and all contain a range of different punches. Some fighters you encounter will have special moves they like to unleash. Bald bull has his bull charge and Super Macho Man uses his whirlwind of punches in order to try and knock you out.

*Punch-Out* isn't your traditional boxing game. Action takes place from a fixed spot in the ring. Little mac will take up the bottom part of the view, while his opponent will be a yard or so in front of him. Mac has 5 different punches at his disposal. He can throw both left and right-handed punches to two areas: body and head. The fifth, and most powerful punch, is the star punch. Sometimes in the game, if you hit an opponent at just the right time, you'll receive a star icon. If you hit the ''start'' button, Mac will unload the most powerful upper-cut in his arsenal. For added dramatic and comedic value, Little Mac has to jump in the air every times he wants to land a head shot. Pretty neat.

The Macster can do more than just punch! He can dodge punches by moving to both the right and back, and to the left and back. He can also duck and plainly put his gloves up to block. If you block too many punches, your character will turn another color (tire) and you won't be able to punch for a few seconds.

Players' personalities all differ from one another. The first fighter you face, Glass Joe, has an astonishing record of 1-98 (I think). You can tell by his character model and wimpyness that he's been through many fights. You know he's going down. Other fighters, like Super Macho Man, are as tough as they come and it shows. The Macho one is so arrogant that he flexes his pecks before the first round of the fight. All of the fighters are fun to put a whoopin on and aren't plain ol' pallete swipes.

All fights are 3-rounders. You win these fights by either getting a TKO (three knock-downs in one round), acheiving a KO (knock-out), or procuring a decision. In order to be awarded the decision, you must have earned a certain number of points (5000?).

The basic life-bar system is used to measure a knock-down. If the bar is filled up, then the player will go down to the canvas. There is one occasion in the game where you must use a star punch to knock a fighter down, but I don't want to spoil anything for you.

Before fights and in-between rounds, a screen is displayed with a camera shot of each fighter; Mac and whoever he's facing. Your opponents like to talk trash to you, but don't let it get to your head. If you've really taken a whipping in a round, you can get your trainer, Doc, to ''work on'' you at the end of a round. By hitting ''select,'' he will perform his magic. When you go back into the ring for the next round, some of your life bar will be regained.

Little Mac can only take but so much damage. Get knocked down more than two times in a fight and you won't be able to get back up. Some of your opponents, however, can taste the mat as many as 5 times or so until they finally stay down for the ten-count. The immensely obese King Hippo can only take one knock-down. He's so fat that he can't get back up!

Other little ''fun-things'' in the game... Mario makes an appearance in the game as the referee. Mac jogs in New York City behind Doc on his bicycle. What's so special about this? Little Mac is wearing a pink jumpsuit. He can STILL throw a helluva star punch, though.

Graphics 10/10

What haven't I said already? Players are animated extremely well. They're nice and large! The graphics add very much character to this game. Did I mention that the players are nice and large? Oh, yeah. I did. Another ''cooly'' is how your opponents are in a close-up view before rounds. This is neat stuff.

Sound/Music 10/10

When you turn the cartridge on, the screen will remain blank. During this time you will hear ''the bell'' ring with cheers in the background. After this, a corny intro song is played and a logo screen with a smiling Mike Tyson appears. Isn't he just a sweetie? When your opponents make their way to center ring, music plays to accompany them. There is rarely a dull moment as far as sound goes. Music plays during the round. When Mac gets knocked down, you must frantically press the buttons to get him back up while some ''frantic'' music plays. More neat stuff.

Gameplay 10/10

What hasn't been mentioned already? Oh yeah. Control is remarkably responsive and completely ''slug-free.'' All the punches, dodges, and blocks are pulled off with impeccable ease.

SUMMARY

The graphics are great. The sounds are great. The game is great. *Mike Tyson's Punch-Out* is a must-have for NES owners. How rare are excellent games that are endorsed by legendary humanitarians? OK, that question was a joke, but I did give the game a ''10'' didn't I? There's also a version of *Punch-Out* available, minus Mike Tyson. Due to his, er... troubles... Nintendo couldn't get, and probably didn't want, his seal of approval when they manufactured more copies of the game. It's exactly the same game, with a final character that emulates Tyson's style exactly. It's simply named *Punch-out!*

BEST FEATURE- Most everything
WORST FEATURE- No 2-player mode

(4/00)




Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/21/00, Updated 04/21/00


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