Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Just cause he did some stupid stuff doesn't mean you change the game on him!"

In the graces of good sports games, there aren’t very many that can compete or live up to what Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is. Featuring the bad boy of boxing, Mike Tyson puts you in the role of Little Mac, a contender who is looking to take over the championship and has a long hard road ahead! Facing off against some of the most interesting fighters known to boxing games, you’ll find that strategy and paying attention to what your opponent does in the ring is key to making it to the next match. Through trial and error, you’ll also find that you can use special moves and counter attack anything that comes your way, making yourself into a seemingly invincible boxer with some pretty incredible moves! Several stages of difficulty come your way along with some humor and our favorite fat plumber as the referee to make a very impressive and also legendary NES game.

The game play is as complex as it is simple when in the ring and fighting against your opponent. The different characters that you come up against all work a different way and they give clues to just how and when you should attack or defend! This is key to winning the later matches, and even in the first couple of matches, you’ll have to learn how to defend and when to attack and knock down your opponent. In between rounds, you’ll have several different chances to listen to advice on how to defeat your opponent if you’re losing the match and regain some lost stamina. Stamina in the fights is key in which you’ll have to rely more on your duck and dodge than actually blocking the punches. Too many blocks and you’ll end up unable to block, therefore on the receiving end of a serious ass whipping!

Other various parts of the game require you to counter attack or watch your opponent to hit them when they are about to punch. This gives you stars in which you can use to wind up and deliver a heavy blow that will knock your opponent flat on their back and give you the win! When someone attacks you, stick and move and as long as you don’t get in the crossfire of several special attack blows, you’ll make it through the match without much difficulty. Your main concern is to avoid the special attacks and try not to take too much damage in the process or you’ll go down for the count and lose the match, forcing a rematch to take place. This can be particularly frustrating when you’re fighting for the belt and have to start at the beginning of the class to work your way up again!

The control is easy to learn and very easy to use. You have a right and left punch that corresponds with the A and B button on your NES controller. To dodge left or right, you use the directional pad and to block high and low, you press up and down respectively. In all reality, it is the easiest thing that you can learn to do, but timing is ultimately important and there are cases where your fingers will have to be faster than your eyes in order to succeed! Special punches only come up and should only be used when you’ve gotten your opponent dizzy with successful attacks, but use them sparingly as they are limited in the form of stars that you collect through successful counter attacks.

Visually, the game is eye candy to look at for the NES. The original Punch Out was created in 1987, and even with the age of the game, it still has bright color, impressive character design and plenty of speed that will make your mouth water! The special attacks that your opponents use are also something to be mentioned, with the amount of pure speed and visual effect that they give off. Prime examples of this is the fight with Honda, in which he seems to almost sneak and come forward with a heavy barrage of punches. Other examples of the visual special effects are with Tiger and his teleportation punches in which he completely blinks out and then re-phases every so often to throw a heavy-duty punch! Visuals like this and the way that they are done are hard to come by in an NES game, even midway into its life.

Audio wise, the game has one music track to listen to throughout the boxing matches, and there isn’t much variation on the music track as you proceed. There is an interesting one that appears during the training screens in which you receive your password so that you can continue later and it really does offer an uplifting pace to the game itself! The music isn’t there much and remains in the background through much of the fights so don’t be looking to hear something extremely exceptional. The sound effects range from heavy thudding punches landing to the sneaking appearance of special moves coming from your opponents. I must say that there is nothing like having Soda Popinski start laughing at you once he’s beat your ass, and it really is humiliating when you boil it down, do try not to hear, eh?

Overall, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is a wonderful game for the NES is was only replaced after Tyson screwed up in the real world. Based on the success of the game, the second release of Punch Out was just as well received, but was missing that flare that only Mike Tyson had. With several different characters that you can go up against that all have a personality of their own, and make sure to tell you as much, the game play is about as solid as it comes! The visuals are super and while the sound effects are low and rather limited in what they have to offer, there isn’t much to complain about for a game this old. Add in the fact that you have strategy and action as well as a password feature to continue your progress, and you’re looking at one hell of a game! For NES owner’s who are looking to collect classic games that have plenty to offer, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out shouldn’t be passed over.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/26/01, Updated 11/26/01

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