I’m not really the biggest video game sports fan around although I do remember playing quite a bit of them growing up. Throughout all that time however I’ve honestly never played Punch Out. A game that in my experience has been talked about across the web with high enthusiasm and fondness. A game that has received multiple releases from the arcades to the NES/Famicom to the virtual console across the Wii, 3DS and Wii U. The main character of the game known as Little Mac also appears in Super Smash Bros on the 3DS and Wii U as well as his own amiibo.
Punch Out puts players in the shoes and boxing gloves of a young man from the Bronx, New York, known as Little Mac. Little Mac is tasked with the challenge of fighting his way through a number of opponent boxers eventually reaching the champion of the World Video Boxing Association and becoming champion himself. However if players are to help Little Mac in his quest to be the best than you will need to learn to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee
Little Mac is equipped with a set of skills that aid him in his quest to be the best. Included in this set are left and right jabs which I found highly useful when you’ve successfully dodged an opponents hook punch, unleashing a barrage of jabs on the opponent grants you that well needed head start or catch up you might need if you’ve started off with a thrashing or just received one from the opponent. The other skills include left and right body punches and my favorite, an uppercut. Little Mac is also capable of dodging left or right to quickly avoid opponents jabs, hooks and sometimes special attacks as well as block a few punches by putting up his guard. Don’t let your guard down though as I found out the hard way that Little Mac is a lightweight in a heavyweight battleground.
Upon starting the game I took on an opponent named Glass Joe and lost the fight. Of course this was just the first match and after a rematch I came out on top. I soon learnt that if I’m to succeed I need to learn each opponents strategy and moves before formulating a winning plan myself. Each opponent has their own set of moves, power attacks and stances. Whereas one opponent taunts you and waits for you to strike first before unleashing a powerful uppercut, another dances around the ring before throwing a set of right and left power jabs your way making it difficult to dodge. I noticed that with each opponent being so different I hit a roadblock every time I faced a new opponent granting me that feeling of addiction wanting to keep moving forward to the next opponent.
All in all this sports boxing title felt more like an action strategy game. The music in the game is superb and so catchy that I found myself humming it throughout the day after playing it. The animations are quirky and comical at times keeping the player entertained and the controls are surprisingly responsive especially when Little Mac is jabbing from left to right. I finally understand and fully support the hype around this Blast from the Past and now can finally say with confidence that Little Mac and myself are now the undisputed champions.