It’s time to look at the original Punch-Out game. It’s always good to see where these various Super Smash Bros fighters originally came from. I played through the remake version for the Wii a while back so now it’s time to see if the original holds up. I’d definitely say that it does although some of the opponents are pretty crazy. Good luck taking them down without the rewind feature. The special abilities are pretty creative and couple that with the story and you’ve got yourself a pretty fun NES game.
The goal of course is to get Little Mac to the title of World Champion. To do that you will have to battle your way through 3-4 different circuits and really start to take names. Each match has 3 rounds and you need to either beat the opponent with a really solid counter hit or drain all of his health 3 times. Keep in mind that you will need to do this before the 3 minutes are up or else it will go to time and the referee always picks the defending fighter. That means the deck is stacked against Little Mac, but that’s just the way he likes it. When things are at their bleakest is when he steps up and shows the world what’s up.
The controls are pretty simple. You can punch with your left or your fight, you can do a high punch with either, and you can dodge side to side. There’s also an option to block by holding down. Don’t just start punching all crazy like though or you’ll run out of hearts which leaves you stunned for quite a long time. That’s a good way to lose a fight but there aren’t really any other benefits to doing that. You want to keep the opponents honest, but not at the expense of the match. What you want to do is wait for the opponent to launch a move and then counter with one of your own. Sometimes that means attacking right before the opponent connects or dodging and then attacking. You’ll have to find out through trial and error here.
I will say that the toughest super attack to deal with in my opinion is the tornado of doom. The villain spins around in a circle really quickly and attacks you around 5 times or sometimes even more. You have to block each hit by blocking and then letting go real quick. The tough part is that this still deals damage so if you were already pretty low then you will not survive such a combo. Sometimes ironically the best thing to do is let the opponent KO you because it will end their super attack a lot sooner and this way you will still have some time left on the board. The timer is actually your biggest enemy here and you should make sure you don’t forget that.
One thing that helps to make the game feel a lot more thorough than some of the others that have popped up is how your coach gives you little tips and quotes between rounds. The villains also talk a bit which is cool because it gives the game more of a plot beyond the ole “defeat them all” kind of moments. This feels more like a first party Nintendo game and I can see why people loved Nintendo from the start. Their games just did seem to have an extra dimension of effort and content behind them that the rivals just didn’t have. You couldn’t get that Nintendo seal of quality on just about anything. Punch-Out is one game out of many that really benefited from this.
Overall, Punch-Out!! is a really fun game. As with most of the other titles here at the time there isn’t a lot to do, but the gameplay is fun which is what counts. You can probably clear all of the levels in under 2 hours but it’ll have been a fun two hours. Factor in that you can play this game for free on the Nintendo Switch Online and you are in for a pretty great time. I’m definitely up for a new installment on the Switch someday.