Review by EPoetker

"One day, Mr. Sandman shall feel the force of my wrath!"

OKAY, OKAY, I'll admit, I kinda suck at this game. But still...Mr. Sandman is really hard...sniff...ahh, never mind. Mike Tyson's Punch-out(changed to Punch-out when the aforementioned boxer got KO'ed by Buster Douglas and accused of rape) is the first and last in the field of boxing games. Sure, now we have games like Knockout Kings 2000, with rendered images of all the greats in boxing history, but somehow, games like those have never yet approached the essential charm of this title. It's the cartoony look, I KNOW it is!

GRAPHICS: Good enough for you to see your opponent telegraphing his moves by blinking his eyes. And really, for the early generation Nintendo console, this wasn't half bad. In fact, this was probably the first time you could see well-proportioned(albeit cartoonish) humanlike figures up close. Animations are done very well, from the popping eyes when Mac scores a hit, to the crazy way King Hippo falls when you KO him. Lots of fun stuff to watch...

and lots of cool SOUNDS to hear! The next time I knock someone down in a fight, I'm going to listen for that inevitable squeal! Ahh...maybe not. But to be nice to my opponent, I'll make the ''weeeeeweeewwweeeewww!'' sound when I hit the floor. Music...only a few themes play, but they're generally good, with the sort of ''Rocky'' feel to them(that is, if you removed about half the instruments and digitized the rest...) This is, again, the early NES, where all extraneous concepts had to be removed to make way for

GAMEPLAY! Really, this was cool. You couldn't move around the ring(not enough graphical memory to show the backs of the fighters, evidently) but you could block, dodge right, and dodge left. You could also choose whether to punch left or right, high or low, and every so often, by pressing start, you could do a ''Super punch'' that sent your opponent reeling if it connected. IF it connected. That was the thing, you had to wait for openings to land your moves; you couldn't just mash buttons and expect to win. (My strategy at first, Von Kaiser wasted me, then I wised up.) Even when you know the controls, however, it gets REALLY hard near the end. Like I said, I can't even get past Mr. Sandman. Fortunately, there's a password feature for the truly dedicated. Trust me, KOing Mike Tyson is an accomplishment as worthy as beating Battletoads. But you'll still probably have a LOT of fun on this game, due to the many fights and all the little secret fighting methods you can use to get one-hit knockdowns. Buy it if you possibly can, because the ''twitch'' movements you have to make to REALLY succeed can mess up your keyboard if you emulate too much. (Of course, if you have a gamepad, this point is moot.)

Nintendo Logic: Besides the obvious advertising (''Join the Nintendo Fun Club today, Mac!'') and the rather dangerous messages(all 15-year olds are somehow capable of beating up on boxers two to three times their size) and also the rather stupid training program(jog along in a pink suit while Doc follows on his bike) this game was about as logical as can be assumed. If I were the referee, I'd proabably look the other way when King Hippo was hit in the crotch too. That lousy island mob boss was working for Bowser, I just know it!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/02/00, Updated 04/02/00

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