-Perfect Music and sounds
-The game is rather short once you figure out how to play. But as difficulty increases it becomes much longer.
Back in 1987 the game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out hit the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it was a rousing success. Punch Out had a wide variety of characters from different backgrounds, and despite the game being fairly racist regarding the different ethnicities, it was fun in its own unique way for the time. Then we had a series of really poor sequels on the Super Nintendo, and while these might have played like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, the characters became cartoony, boring and unmemorable. Then in 2009, thanks to Next Level Games, we were given the game Punch Out!! for the Nintendo Wii, and it’s fantastic. It’s just as fun as Mike Tyson’s Punch Out and then some. It takes all the classic gameplay, and it recreates classic characters from the entire Punch Out franchise and gives them so much personality!
Graphics and Sounds
The graphics in this game are pretty good, at least for 2009 on a standard definition system. It’s the first Punch Out game to have 3D graphics and I have absolutely no complaints. It gives the characters a lot more definition then they used to. There are very few games where I actually notice the sounds or what I’m hearing makes an impact, but this was a rare occurrence where the music and the sound effects make a huge impact. The music itself pretty much consists of the main theme for Punch Out over and over again, but with each person you fight, it’s changed to be performed with an instrument native to the country of the person you’re fighting. As for the sound effects, you really hear every little punch you make, every dodge, every critical hit. Overall between the graphics and the sounds, it definitely comes off more cartoony than realistic but it’s completely appropriate and fits with the themes of the game.
There is absolutely no real story to follow in Punch Out, but the basic idea is that Little Mac, a 5’7″ racially ambiguous young adult from New York is training to become a boxer with his coach Doc Luis. That’s pretty much the extent of the story. As the game progresses you meet different characters each with their own fighting style (or in this case patterns). When you defeat the champion the credits roll and a new mode starts where you’re the defending champion and you have to fight all the characters again but now they’re much tougher.
One of the great bits about Punch Out is the very simple gameplay. Controls consist of dodging left, right, ducking or blocking, (though those last two are rarely used) then you can punch your opponent in the stomach or face depending on the situation. The game starts off really easy, you don’t have to do much more then punch and dodge really slow attacks, but the pace picks up really fast. Each character has his own pattern of fighting which is drastically different from the last, and by the end of the world champion circuit you really gotta work your butt off to deal even a sliver of damage.
As I’ve said previously, the characters are really what make this game fantastic. We have a very diverse cast of characters like Glass Joe from France, Piston Hondo who’s so Japanese it hurts (previously Piston Honda, but changed for obvious reasons), Soda Popinski from Russia (formerly Vodka Drunkinsky, changed for even more obvious reasons) and a plethora of other characters.
In older versions of Punch Out, these characters were clearly portrayed with racist intentions, and no real thought put into them. We would have Piston Hondo saying random Japanese words between matches. Now, each character has an introduction which gives us a real feel for the country they hail from. Now that’s not to say that Bear Hugger from Canada chugging maple syrup isn’t a stereotype, but it’s not exactly racist. Bear Hugger comes off as jolly and fun, I didn’t feel that any of these characters were being demeaned in anyway. To top it off, each character speaks in their native language (and strangely with no subtitles but to me that actually makes you notice the language even more). Piston Hondo went from random Japanese words to formally introducing himself in traditional Japanese, Glass Joe, while working off of the stereotype that the French are weak, shows determination by never giving up even after a 100 losses.
Until recently, you would have had a pretty hard time finding a reasonably priced copy of Punch Out!! for the Wii, but as of Thursday January 22, 2015, Punch Out!! has been added to the Nintendo WiiU eshop as a downloadable Wii title! It’s $20, but if you buy it within the first week of it’s release it’s half off!