I was in the mood to play a boxing game a few days ago. The desire to play boxing games comes so rarely that I had to indulge it. So I checked out the games I had. It’s when I saw it.
Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Wii.
I purchased this gem three years ago on a whim. The Punch-Out series held a special place in my heart so there was no way I could pass this one by. I beat the game when I got it and didn’t give it a second thought until I held it again in my hand.
Before going on, I should emphasize one important detail. Punch-Out!! is not for everyone. Nintendo designed this primarily for old school fans of the series. If you are looking for a truly challenging boxing game, this game is not for you. The opponents fight using very predictable patterns, just like the original NES version of the game. I cannot emphasize that enough. On a fundamental level, the challenge is exactly like the original Punch-Out. The challenge of the game rests in learning these patterns to beat the opponent as quickly as possible without getting hit. It could get boring really quickly if this wasn’t what you were looking for in a game.
That didn’t bug me in the slightest. I knew going in that it would play pretty much like the previous two games. Heck, I was looking forward to it. It was one of the reasons why I purchased the game. I could get back and fight my old opponents: Glass Joe, Piston Hondo, Sandman, King Hippo, Great Tiger, Aran Ryan, Super Macho Man, and an assortment of other boxers from both games. Nintendo also inserted in new boxers: Disco Kid and Donkey Kong. Do you know that feeling of when you pick up a beloved game from your past, and it played just like you last remembered it: Punch-Out did that for me. It felt familiar; like playing with old friends.
There are two ways of playing the game: the NES controller setup or boxing with the Wii nunchucks. My first playthrough used the NES controller setup. Believe me, it was a blast from the past. It played 100% exactly like the original Punch-Out in every way, except there were far better graphics and Little Mac can defend his title. Nintendo added in little fun things into the game like knocking croissants out of Glass Joe or knocking King Hippo clear out of the ring when K.O.ing him. My second playthrough, I used the Wii nunchucks. Imagine the feeling of actually boxing against them all. It felt exactly like that. When I punched, I could lose myself in the game and feel like I was in the ring and winning titles.
The Wii nunchucks interface wasn’t perfect. Every time I threw a left punch, Little Mac threw two punches in a row if I didn’t pull my fist back fast enough. This wasn’t a problem on the Minor and Major circuit, but was a real hindrance on the World Circuit when exact timing was vital. It became quite frustrating after awhile.
There were a few additions to the game that helped it stand out when compared to the previous Punch-Outs. First, Little Mac was required to defend his World Title against every opponent he beat in the game, from Glass Joe through Sandman. Everyone is far more difficult in this playthrough, having new tricks as well as new patterns to learn. When I played through it, I bore witness to Glass Joe: World Champion. Yes, I got knocked out by Glass Joe on my first title defense. Dude was tough, and cheated a lot… he wore practice headgear making any head shots against him impossible. I had to find a way to knock off the headgear first, and then beat him into a pulp.
Challenge mode was another fun dimension to the game. I was able to go back to challenge any opponent I previously beat. Each opponent had a different challenge, like needing to find all the ways to get a star from an opponent or beating someone with only five punches. Accomplishing any of these challenges required me to learn the patterns of my opponent. I had a blast going through them all!
I recommend trying to find this game and picking it up if you have the chance. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends, or if you want a game you can easily pick up and getting into.
- Wii U Virtual Console Now Live In US (mynintendonews.com)