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Review:: Punch-Out!! (2009)

In Game Reviews on May 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Way back when in 1987 a game was released that would become widely known as one of the most addicting and fun video game experiences of all time. That game was Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!. While the title may lull the gamer into thinking that this is just a typical boxing game, the gameplay would quickly convince the player otherwise. In MTPO, underdog Little-Mac was pitted against some of the most outrageous characters in gaming history. Guys like Piston Honda, Bald Bull, and Soda Popinski wil certainly go down in history with the likes of Mario and Zelda. Even though most (or at least most of the people I know) have never successfully KO’ed Tyson, that didn’t come close to stop the game from being one of the best of all time.

Flash forward to 1994, Little Mac returns in Super Punch-Out!! for the Super Nintendo gaming console. This game offered the same classic gameplay that was adored in the original. Players were introduced to a whole new cast of characters with guys like Bear Hugger, Aran Ryan, and Dragon Chan. Also included in the game were old favorites such as Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, and Soda Popinski. The game was successful in keeping the appeal of the original game and also successful in giving the gamers a fresh experience.  Though the game was well received, it would be 15 years until Little-Mac laced up his boots again.

So here we are, 15 years down the line, and finally graced with another Punch-Out!! game. It goes without saying that this was long overdue. Two consoles have came and gone leaving the gaming community in a Punch-Out!! drought (oh man, a rhyme!).  For me, the announcement of this game was the only news that came from E3 last year that was worthy of drawing excitement. But as with most things, it’s easy to build something up just to eventually be crushed with disappointment. Would that occur with this newest installment of Punch-Out!!?

No. Not at all. Not one bit. Without geeking out too much, for me, this game is perfect. It’s everything a video game should be. This game flashes back to the 1987 game, giving you a fun and addicting experience that will have you feeling like you’re back under the NES. The game contains the same appeal as the two before it, nothing is lost in the transition. All of the old fighters that you fought in the original return. Also returning is Aran Ryan and Bear Hugger from Super Punch-Out!!.

The controls are also perfect. The game controls just like the NES version. Sure you could chose to use the WiiMote’s motion capabilities and the Wii Balance Board, but this game is just not meant to be played that way. As soon as I started playing this game, I flashed back to the moment when I first played the original. Like I said, I don’t want to go on and on like a fanboy, but I can stress how great the controls are.

The graphics are also very nice for this game. The cartoon-like charm is still here. While graphics probably aren’t the first concern when dealing with Punch-Out!!, it goes without saying that there’s nothing wrong in that department. The “cutscenes” before each fight are a great touch in making the game even more enjoyable. Also a nice addition is the animations of the fighters entering the ring and in between rounds. And for those wondering, yes, Doc still offers up his advice after each round.

The “story” here is just like the other Punch-Out!! games. Nothing has changed at all and that’s not a problem. As I said, this game nods at a time when the games didn’t have to be playable movies and 40 hour behemoths to be considered great. There is certainly a high degree of replay value with this game. As I said, you’ll find yourself addicted. This is a game that will have you up in the wee hours of the morning repeating “just one more time” to yourself over and over.

I also want to point out the Exhibition mode in the game. This is a great little mode that will help you keep your fighting skills sharp and your record perfect. As you progress in the game, you can unlock boxers as you go. This is extremely beneficial for practicing before your next big fight because you can learn the patterns of each fighter without worrying about taking damage. It decreases the challenge immensely by fighting a boxer numerous times before fighting them for real.

While most say I “hate everything” that hopefully can be laid to rest here. I absolutely love this game. It definitely warrants my Wii purchase. It’s a perfect game that every Wii owner should have. I honestly expect this game to be my game of the year when we approach the end of 2009.

Final score: A+ – Perfect

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