Mike Tyson's Punch Out (NES) Review

By John Boyle 03.03.2006 13

Review for Mike Tyson

When it comes to games these days it seems that remakes are all the rage. Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, numerous Final Fantasy games and Super Mario 64 have all received remakes much to the joy of gamers. But ask any Nintendo gamer and they will ask for one remake and one remake alone. Mike Tyson's Punch Out. It was simple yet addictive with a strong graphical style and unique sense of humour and was a hit with NES owners way back in 1987. The question today though is how does this classic stand up to the test of time?

It feels odd revisiting Punch Out in today's hyper politically correct society because Punch Out is possibly the most politically incorrect game ever created, one look at the character roster confirms it. You have the German "Von Kaiser", the Japanese boxer "Piston Honda" and, of course, the Spaniard "Don Flamenco".

And yes, they are all extremely stereotypical. But don't worry, after 5 minutes you won't mind. If anything a wry smile will erupt on your face when Flamenco dances onto the mat to Spanish music. It is politically incorrect but in the right way, never insulting but always cutting. The perfect balance and it leads you in nicely to an extremely well constructed game.

Screenshot for Mike Tyson's Punch Out on NES

Graphics wise dismiss all thoughts of realistic graphics from your mind. This is big cartooney graphics and bright colours to make your eyes sing with pleasure. The sprites are quite well done actually with a decent amount of detail and clever animation. The referee is also extremely well created. It is Mario though so that's to be expected...
The controls are perfect; left moves you left, right moves you right, down shields your face and a and b throw right and left punches. That is all that you need. Now the point is to either knock out your opponent or win on a point count. To win you will need to hit the character, this is done by watching the routine of how the opponent fights and punch when vulnerable.

This can be done by dodging then punching quickly or by punching before they manage to hit you. The best way of punching before they hit you is by looking for an indicator as to when they will punch. This can be a raise of the eyebrows or a certain stance or something similar. You get a punch before they manage and you might get a star, which lets you get a very strong punch on them. Simple, isn't it!

Screenshot for Mike Tyson's Punch Out on NES

Well yes and no. Whilst simple to control the game can be freakishly hard even if you know every characters routines and indicators. Occasionally you will be too slow to get punches in and you will fail. No fault of yours but the computer will just be better. Then it's time to dust yourself off and try again. We can guarantee you that your fingers WILL move faster to beat the computer eventually. Practice does pay off in this game, and you will have to spend a lot of time practicing.

It's that balance of being simple yet treating you like an adult that makes it so accessible. With the Revolution and DS Nintendo are going for an inclusive gaming through the means of simplified controllers and you can see why with Punch Out. Within one minute of picking the 2 button bad up you are dodging punches and sending your opponent crashing to the mat whilst you whoop in an embarrassing Fox network esque manner.

Screenshot for Mike Tyson's Punch Out on NES

Strictly speaking the sound is awful for Punch Out. Compare it to the likes of Metroid and it seems to be in a different league. But upon further inspection Punch Out's music is actually perfect. It is essentially an arcade game and the biggest thing about it is its addictiveness, the music mirrors this perfectly. The main fight theme is one of those tunes that will stick in your head for days and the various character themes are both hideously stereotypical and brilliantly addictive. The sound effects do their job excellently and round off a surprise package in the sound department.

In today's gaming society of yearly ultra realistic sports games and incredibly complex control schemes it is refreshing to see that a simple cartooney sports game can stand the test of time and still look the part 18 years later. True, it can be politically correct and true it can make you cry with frustration as Honda beats you for the eightieth time. But once the tears are dried and your fingers have recovered you will pick up that rectangular pad and enter the ring again as you aim for that final fight with Mr Mike Tyson himself. So get your gloves on, enter the ring and fight for glory.

Screenshot for Mike Tyson's Punch Out on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

In an age of overly elaborate games it is pleasing to see such a simple game that wipes the floor with all of them. Bright graphics, simple controls and a difficulty level that will have your mind bleeding in frustration all adds up to a fantastic slice of Nintendo and indeed gaming history. Find a copy and play it, or play it in Animal Crossing or get it on the Virtual Console. You won't be disappointed.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Great review John. Shockingly I've never played this...I'll be getting it on Revolution's virtual console.

Yeah, definitely get it. A simply brilliant game.

It's bloody painfully hard! Wade Hixton's Counter Punch (I think that's what it's called...Smilie is in a similar vein, and there's always the brilliant Super Punch Out!! as well :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

You can play it on Animal Crossing, it's where I played it. It's pretty good :-D.

360 Gamertag: shiptoncraig
PSN: shiptoncraig
Steam: Guess what?

Yeah dire game. Noone buy or I'll hurt you

i played this at Oxford Street in HMV it was fun for a while then i got bored doing the same thing over and over and over and over....again is fun for about 15 mins then u get bored.
There is no way its worth the money i wouldnt pay

I see all these people insulting the Nintendo corporation because of the lack of mature content. Yet there is something about Nintendo (at least their games) that strikes a certain unadulterated feeling of joy!!!  Pokemon Y - 1048-9263-5562

...Wow. Just wow. I didn't expect it to be this bad. I still expected it to be bad, granted, but that trick system/game breaker stuff sounds bloody ridiculous. Also, it's a nutmeg, dammit!

Good review, John. :Smilie

I played the two player version on the Xbox in Tesco last night and I thought it was really fun, the 20 minutes we were playing flew right by. Maybe it could get tedious, and not be fun on it's on, but I'm not going to deny I had fun playing it.

It can get really tedious. As a pick up and play game it works with friends, but otherwise it's not a patch of the NBA Street series...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Exactly Raz, and patrly because Fifa Street doesn't take itself too seriously, whereas this desperately wants to be a cool, big name game.

Folks, wait til you hear John's spoken review of this...you'll laugh like I did - John mate, thought you were going to start shouting at EA!! :eek: :lol:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Looks awful. Shame its at number one.

My friend was going on about how great this game is...foooool.

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