Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! — Slightly Late Game Reviews

Posted by | October 27, 2008

The breathlessly named Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! is a boxing game released for the Nintendo Entertainment System out in the heady days of 1987. Designed as a port of the popular Punch Out!! arcade game, it took advantage of one of the first celebrity tie-ins on that console. Of course, none of that means a crispy damn because you’re waiting for the cannibalism joke.

Fine.

In this game you take on the role of Little Mac, a half-baked boxer looking to sit at the table with the big boys. Standing in his way is a buffet of flavourful characters, all cooking up their own special ways to eat Mac for lunch. You must chew your way up through the Minor Circuit, Major Circuit, and World Circuit to face the champion, Mike Tyson.

The boxers in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! are double-stacked monsters with huge sprites on the screen, especially in comparison to the bite-sized Litte Mac. This was a real shock back in the day, since few games served up characters more than a dozen pixels high. It was a brand new experience to come into a game with meaty opponents throwing punches with fists big enough to smash Mario’s sprite into a thin Italian pate.

The game is also perfectly capable of feeding you a knuckle sandwich. The early opponents are easy enough to carve up, but later boxers like the beefy Bald Bull can grill you with their special moves. Most of those moves will send you to mat in one shot, and if you taste canvas three times in a bout, you’ll be thrown out like yesterday’s leftovers. The most challenging thing about Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! is there’s no menu of strategy guides out there, no carefully prepared selection of secrets plucked directly from the developer. If you want to get good at this game, you’ll just have to play it and digest the lessons of experience. The FAQs and guides that do exist are the byproducts of hard work and a hunger to discover just what’s at the candy center of this game.

Because of its challenge, bright graphics, and deliciously unique characters, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! has been a special order at the top of every list of the best Nintendo games for the old NES system. If you haven’t played this game, rush out right now to hunt it down, grab a bag of Soylent Green, sit yourself in front of the TV, and try to take a bite out of Mike Tyson.

Because if you don’t, he’ll eat your children.


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