So, I made this sweet thing last week that I’m super proud of, and it made me want to play Punch Out!! again. Because, honestly, when is it ever not a good idea to play Punch Out!!? Whoa… punctuation overload there…Anyway, a good buddy of mine and his wife came over and, for shits and giggles, we decided to play Punch Out!! on the Wii. We took turns kicking ass and passing the controller every time we won or lost a fight. We ended up beating everyone the first time through and having a lot of fun. Seriously, there’s nothing like talking shit to your friend’s wife because she lost to Glass Joe again!
Having played through the game for the 50th time, I thought maybe I should talk about how awesome it is. So I will. AND YOU’LL READ IT!
Developer: Next Level Games
Release Year: 2009
I chose to talk about the Wii version instead of the others in the series because it’s my favorite. Super Punch Out!! is next and the original on NES comes in last place. It seems weird that I’d prefer the newest version over the legendary original, and, though I freaking love the NES classic, its sequels refined the already perfect gameplay and added more graphically and mechanically.
I consider the Wii version to be the perfect amalgamation of the other games. It’s pretty much a reboot of the first game, and it adds the “hidden” ways to beat the boxers very quickly as first introduced in Super Punch Out!! I’m not talking about hitting Bald Bull at just the right moment. That was in the first game. I’m talking about counter punches: they try to hit low with a right, but you do it first, stunning them prematurely. Do it enough, and it’ll trigger a goofy animation, allowing you to KO anyone in the first round. It was my favorite thing about Super Punch Out!!, and it makes me happy to see it in this version.
Punch Out!! Wii also has all the characters from the original (minus Tyson/Mr. Dream) and it added Bear Hugger and Aran Ryan from Super Punch Out!! as well as Donkey Kong! Disco Kid’s there too, but I’ll let that slide because Aran Ryan is just so crazy and great. Because of him I tell everybody I hate on a daily basis that they’re “pretty like my sister!” I also inquiry if they have cheeseburgers in their gloves, regardless of whether or not they’re actually wearing gloves.
Those Irish sure do like foaming at the mouth.
Another great thing brought in from Super Punch Out!! was the Time Trial Mode where you can fight any boxer at any time. What makes the Wii version’s mode superior are the optional objectives you can complete as well, such as “Win without Dodging” or “KO in 1st round.” Achieving perfection and finding new ways to do things is the kind of thing I eat up, and it really brings focus to what Punch Out!! truly is: A Puzzle game.
This next jab’s the line piece, fat ass!
There’s so many other great things about this game. I’m utterly gay for the Bout Theme and listen to it all the time. I was pleasantly surprised to hear all its iterations in this game. The theme actually changes every fight to reflect your opponent’s nationality: Soda Popinski’s has a Russian choir, Aran Ryan’s has flutes, and Don Flamenco’s has those clicky things prevalent in traditional Spanish music. Those themes are great and all, but I feel Nintendo missed out by not including the best version of the Bout Theme by The Adventures Of Duane & BrandO.
I’ll file this in the “Greatest Things to Ever Happen” folder.
All your opponents are just fantastic as well. Despite being stereotypes, each still brings a hell of a lot of personality to the ring with their pre-match cut scenes, over-the-top actions, and infectiously quotable and hilarious catchphrases… if they speak English. The only negative critique I have about this game is the lack of subtitles for the non-English speaking boxers. Next Level Games really missed an opportunity to add more charm and hilarity to these boxers. But other than that, this game is damn-near perfect.
And how could one talk about the greatness of Punch Out!! without bringing up that American apple pie institution that is the Montage?
Yes, the montage. There are many variants to the formula, but the spirit of any montage is the same: show great improvement in as little screen time as possible, all while playing a kick ass song in the background! You got your Cleaning Montage (Revenge of the Nerds), your Dating Montage (Dirty Dancing), and – my personal favorite – the Training Montage (The Karate Kid, Rocky I – VI). Hell, the Training Montage is so effective even Fluttershy from My Little Pony gets one!
Don’t look at me like that! I have two daughters.
But Little Mac, he takes the cake when it comes to montages. He’s so badass that he gets FOUR to show everyone how hardcore he is. That’s about as many montages as Rocky gets in Rocky IV. And that was barely enough to take out one Russian. In the same amount of montages, Mac takes down a Russian and almost every other nation’s representative in the world! That’s mathematical proof that Little Mac could beat Rocky Balboa in the ring.
He’s coming for you, Rocky!
The last awesome thing I want to talk about is Title Defense Mode. After you beat everyone and become the champ, you have to face everyone again, effectively doubling play time. Superficially, it seems like a lazy way to prolong the game. Thankfully, the developers were all like, “Fuck that noise. Now it’s going to be hard as Hell!” And Hell must be pretty damn hard because shit just got real. I mean, did I really just lose to Glass Joe? Really!?
You know my friend’s wife never shut up about it.
If you haven’t played Punch Out!! on the Wii yet, then you should seriously reconsider gaming as your hobby because you’re doing it wrong. Punch Out!! exemplifies everything that’s spectacular about video games: the challenge; the reward; the charm; the simplicity; the depth; and, most importantly, the fun. This game is almost always in my Wii, and I go back to it on a monthly basis. Little Mac is one of my favorite video game characters, and – trust me when I say this – when you play this game and you get knocked down for the 3rd time in a round and all hope becomes visibly sapped from your body, you’ll become a Little Mac fan too when you see him get angry and continue to fight instead of hitting the floor. I honestly get goose bumps every time I see it. If I said I had a gaming role model, that honor would go to Little Mac.