Sunday, April 30, 2023

Arcade Boxing Game Review: Punch-Out!!

Most gamers know Punch-Out!! as the story of a small boxer named Little Mac who rises up the ranks against boxers way out of his weight range in order to become the champion.

However, Punch-Out!! didn't begin on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It originated in the arcades with a third-person boxing game with an unnamed boxer. The goofy boxers from different countries originated here, However, it only has one circuit with only six boxers, most of whom returned in the NES classic. These boxers are Glass Joe, the French boxer who lives up to his name, Japan's Piston Hurricane, Turkey's Bald Bull, America's Kid Quick, Italy's Pizza Pasta, and the American champion, Mr. Sandman.

The original Famicom Punch-Out!! lacked the Mike Tyson, or Mr. Dream, fight just like the arcade original. It also began with Glass Joe and ended with Mr. Sandman. Piston Hurricane and Bald Bull also returned. However, Italy didn't get representation in the NES game and the United States of America had to settle with just Mr. Sandman.

The game is a bit hard to get into for fans of the NES game and the Wii game since the third-person view that looks through the body of the unnamed boxer is a very different gameplay representation. The boxer is also the same height as his opponents, making the boxing mechanics vastly different. Once you get used to the different gameplay styles, the goofiness of the game still shines through. There are no Doc Louis intermissions, however. He originated in the NES game and added some extra goofiness to the franchise.

Punch-Out!! for arcades is an important milestone as the start of the well-regarded Punch-Out!! series. However, it is very different from the more well-known NES game. So, if you began your Punch-Out!! gaming with that title, or the Wii sequel, then it will take a while to get used to the differences. When you do, however, it is a fun boxing game with the unique goofiness for which the Punch-Out!! series is known. The arcade version is now available through Hamster's Arcade Archives series on Nintendo Switch, so it has never been easier to play.

Final Verdict: 
3½ out of 5

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