As a fan of beat ’em ups, Punch-Out!! surely is my favourite game of all time? Nope. It is a classic though. Classic as in you can reference it to most gamers and they know what it is and how difficult it can be.
The title has changed a few times. It was originally an arcade game – I remember playing it. The boxer was a wired framed version, not the one seen on the NES, but by the time it came to the home console, it was renamed Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! It was a risk to rename the game as nobody heard of this chap – a former Olympic synchronised swimmer from Yemen.
In the Mike Tyson version, the end boss was Mike Tyson. However, in Punch-Out!!, you don’t fight him. Instead, it’s Super Macho Man. No, not him of WWF/WWE fame. I know this because I beat the game, right? Nope. YouTube was my accomplice and I just fast-forwarded to the bit I wanted to find out. This game was quite tough.
Yes, it’s an old game, but it applies the fundamentals of boxing. Jab, jab, hook but more importantly, block or dodge. I don’t do this much in games. You’d think I was a boxer and took a few too many to the head but I just like to attack in fighting games. When there’s a strategy, I tend to fold a bit.
Boxing isn’t really one of my favourite sports. As a martial arts fan, I prefer the UFC titles and the elements of boxing in that are pretty cool. The best boxing game I played at the time though was an EA title – Fight Night Round 4. It’s in the game. It also still looks just as good when I first played it.
Equally appealing was a game called Best of the Best: Championship Karate. It was more kickboxing but had a lot of decent moves in it. My experience was the Amiga but I also had it on the SNES. Another variation of the title was Panza Kickboxing – which was a more accurate title.
But by far, my favourite boxing game (that I can think of at the time of writing this 18:30) was Ready 2 Rumble Boxing on the Sega Dreamcast. Yes, I’m referring to the Dreamcast again on a post on the NES.
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing was fantastic. The graphic style was cartoon-like and each character had their own unique personalities – often witty. It’s been in my collection on two occasions: the first was when it came out and I bought that and the sequel. The second was after I sold my Dreamcast the second time and started buying up my library again. Well, on my third Dreamcast now, I’m looking to purchase but as time goes by, it’s harder and harder to get a decent copy.
The main character was arguably a chap called Afro Thunder. He resembled Prince Naseem Hamed (when he was good) and talked like a character out of a ’70s film. Afro Thunder wasn’t the only one – “Big” Willy Johnson from England and Jet “Iron” Chin from China were just a few of the stereotypes. They were all good, however. My favourite was “Raging” Rivera. Just so you know.
Controls were upper and lower hits and block. Each successive punch that connected would award you a letter than spelt out ‘rumble’. Complete the word and you could then launch a flurry of attacks which often resulted in a knockout. Looking back at it, there was so much about it that was ’90’s and to my mind’s eye, it hasn’t dated so much.
Back to Punch-Out!! on the NES Online. Yeah, it’s a boxing game and it does have a bit of nostalgia for me to play again after some time. I prefer the arcade version but for a console version that was released in the late ’80s, it’s the best boxing game with this title.