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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Retro Review Tuesday: Super Punch-Out !!

As I did Mike Tyson's Punch-out!! last week, I felt Super Punch-put!! was a logical next choice. The only issue is that until very late in life I didn't own super punch out and other than when I was in college and starved for vintage goodness I've never really liked playing on an emulator. So once again I tapped my incredibly awesome brother (author of the Contra III review) to write this one as he's spent many more hours on it than I have.


I can personally say that when I first heard of another Punch-Out!! game (besides Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!), I was rather excited. My older sister (owner of this blog, of course) first introduced it to me via SNES emulator on my dad's old Windows 95. My earliest memory of playing this game is losing to the very first fighter as a result of being unable to locate the emulator's controls (I hadn't quite had the revelation that the controls the game was showing me probably didn't match the emulator). Having gotten over that obstacle, I proceeded to play this new Punch-Out!! with an obsessive passion. In spite the fact that the gameplay would bear little resemblance to the classic NES predecessor and was so ridiculous that it makes all too much sense that the word "boxing" never appears once in this game.


As stated above, Super Punch-Out!! is a nearly complete overhaul from its NES predecessor. The one thing that does carry over to this version, is the comic relief that is the characters. You can still count on a punch to the belly to yield the most fantastic facial expression ever and the knockdown animations don't disappoint. (although none of them are quite as lovely as counting a Bull Charge, or downing Von Kaiser with a body blow) Unlike the 3-round matches of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! which, if spent, would end in a decision, Super Punch-Out!! Gives you just one 3-minute round, which elapses in real-time. However, there are no decisions. If you run out of time, tough shit, you lose.

Also new to this game is profile creation, eliminating the need for passwords. Your win record, time records for the specific fighters and total score for a circuit are recorded. You are allowed to play in new Time Attack Mode, freely choosing to fight whoever you wish from a list of fighters you've already defeated in the regular Championship Mode.

Like the old game, you advance your way through the circuits (Minor, Major, World, and Special)by defeating the current circuit's Champion , the three returning fighters from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! who star in this sequel: Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, and Super Macho Man, all take on the role of the Champion of their circuit.

When you initially start Championship Mode, you create your profile, choosing your own name (8 character count). You then save it, and proceed to the beginning of your journey to victory, selecting the circuit you wish to challenge.(minor circut when you start off of course) The special circuit is only available if you've got a loss record of zero in the three preceding circuits. This does not mean you cannot lose, ever. If you complete the Minor, Major, and World circuit and the Special circuit isn't available to you (its name will be displayed but you cannot select it), all you have to do is return to the circuits where you have losses and run through them, again, without losing any matches.
You will be introduced to your next challenge by an introduction screen, displaying your opponent's mug, name, record, weight, and age. Push start, and the fight begins.

The same basic layout applies here as in the old game, you and your adversary pretty much stand toe-to-toe the entire time, with a little more in-ring movement than before. Many of the fighters dance around the ring before some special maneuver. You yourself, have the ability to dodge attacks (left and right on the D-pad), duck (down), and guard your face (up) and abdomen (Default - push nothing). Some attacks can only be avoided by a specific defensive maneuver (For example, Super MachoMan's Spin Punch can only be avoided by ducking, not dodging or blocking). Your offensive moves include left and right jabs to the head, body blows, and an amped up Super Punch attack that, unlike Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, is not limited, but rather, is always available once the Special Meter is filled via making contact with your opponent. You can use these attacks as much as you want until you are struck, which will drain much of your Special Meter. Your Special attacks include a powerful right hook to the jaw, an equally devastating left hook to the gut, and, by tapping the Special Attack button, you can unleash a fast and furious left-right combo to the face or stomach that can range from 2 to even 10 consecutive blows. For added creativity, knocking somebody down with a Special Attack will yield a more aggressive knockdown animation. If you are pummeling your opponent hard enough and constant enough, you just might render him into a defenseless dazed state, giving you a golden opportunity to finish them off. Almost all fighters have a daze state, and every daze state has a small window of time to land a Super Punch for an instant knockdown (some of these can be distinguished from normal knockdowns by their alternate knockdown animation).


Your Character: Often said to be little Mac, but throughout the game he remains nameless, his only resemblance to Little Mac being his green boxing gloves.
Signature Move: Super Punch/KO Punch(star punches in the NES version) - Whatever you want to call this, it's the weapon of mass hurt

Gabby Jay: A 56-year-old Frenchmen, this Glass Joe clone mirrors the win-loss record of his NES counterpart at 1-99. Getting beat by him is pretty much only excusable by not knowing the controls...and even then...(hangs head in shame).
Signature Move: Gabby's Rage - Decades of humiliation and defeat in the ring will occasionally get Jay's blood boiling, prompting trash-talk and a mean punch to the gut.

Bear Hugger: A huge but certainly not jolly Canadian, this behemoth will often goad you into taking a shot at his seemingly invincible and enormous belly.
Signature Move: Face Bash - Generally used as a counter attack after blocking a potention punch to the face, this manuver entails Bear Hugger spreading out his arms not unlike a bear about to pull you into its maw, and slams his gloves together, squishing your face like a berry.

Piston Hurricane: A throwback to the Arcade version of Punch-Out!! (Or so I am told), Piston Hurricane specializes in fancy footwork, and quick fists (relative to his early appearance in the game).
Signature Move: Hurricane Rush: A flurry of blows alternating to the face and body.

Bald Bull: The turkish brute is back, now hailing as the Minor Circuit Champ.
Signature Move: Bull Charge - Just like the classic game, Bald Bull will back up, get onto his haunches, and bounce (charge) at you, delivering a devastating uppercut once he reaches you that puts you on the mat without question.

Bob Charlie: Obviously not a Bob Marley clone, this dreadlocked ring-dancer will keep you off balance as he "shucks and jives."
Signature Move: Feel the Rhythm - Bob initiated this maneuver with a soulful dance, and will then decide whether to just jump back into the fight, or close his dance number with a heavy, spinning uppercut.

Dragon Chan: Everybody knows that every Asian is a martial arts expert, sportsthe last name "Chan." Beware of this one. As far as he's concerned, fists are but one weapon of the human arsenal.
Signature Move: Flying Kick - A maneuver which is completed with an instant knockdown, Chan will jump onto the ropes to the right, bounce to the ropes on the left, and fire himself back to you, nearly taking your head off with his mighty, silk-slippered foot.

Masked Muscle - Mexicans cheat. That's just what they do, right? This fighter (whom is a Soda Popinski clone) will use any trick necessary to win the match, so stay on your toes.
Signature Move: Spit-In-Your-Eye - This shameless brawler frequently attempt to spit in your eye, temporarily rendering you partially blind, and unable to attack.

Mr. Sandman: The heavy-fisted Sandman returns as the Major Circuit Champion to put you to sleep, once and for all.
Signature Move: Sandman's Uppercut Rush - Homage to his old self in the NES game, Sandman once again calls upon this now much easier to avoid maneuver, throwing three big uppercuts in a row.

Aran Ryan: This big-nosed Irishman boasts a tolerance to pain, and angers if struck hard enough.
Signature Move: Grab Him It looks as dirty as it sounds.

Heike Kagero: A very young and profoundly effeminate Japanese man, donning small bits of pink face paint (or makeup...), 19-year-old Heike utilizes many unorthodox maneuvers and dances to keep you guessing his next move.
Signature Move: Hair Whip - Putting his long, luxurious hair to good (further) use, Heike Kegaro violently swings his deadly locks in a two-hit combo, rather difficult to evade the first one or two (or ten) times you see it.

Mad Clown - Basically a more difficult Bear Hugger in a Clown Get-up, Mad Clown is a mean Italian entertainer , seeming to want his opponents to see the humor in their beating.
Signature Move: Juggling Juggernaut - Out of nowhere, this near-400 pounder surprises you with a backflip, and then proceed to juggle some red balls, which are then hurled at you from different directions. After this, another astonishing flip, into a devastating face-smashing, abruptly taking your down to the canvas.

Super Machoman - Once again the Champ of the World Circuit, the self-obsessed Super Macho Man flexes before your match, and flexes some more, as he waits for you to get up.
Signature Move: Super Spin Punch - Unlike the less (although certainly not low) damaging, single version of this move, Macho Man will give a big windup, and then throw as many consecutive spin-punches as he pleases, all with the ability to put you down in one.

Narcis Prince - Your initial bout in the punishing Special Circuit is with this self-centered little pillock. Obsessed with his own looks, striking Prince in his face will send him into a blind rage.
Signature Move: Rage of the Prince - During this state, Narcis Prince his very fast and aggressive, in contrast to his pre-rage style which consists mainly of showboating and playing.

Hoy Quarlow: --Right at about this point is where you begin to realize there never really was a referee. The counting and declarations of knockouts were mostly likely the services of an over-involved spectator, trying to salvage some order in the ridiculous sports federation known as the WVBA.---The 92-year-old Hoy Quarlow has two moves that resemble anything close to a legal punch. The rest of the time, he's smacking your around with a big stick. Let's not play around with a fancy term like "Cane" or Staff," it's a big stick. The only alternate to the two punches and endless Stick maneuvers would be the occasional kick to the face. So with all of this in mind, pay no mind to this old bastard's introductory commentary of "Please, take it easy on a poor old man...." In no strained about of time, you'll be ready to pound this prune-face right through the canvas.
Signature Move: None- What F***ing Signature Move does he need, he's got a big stick.

Rick Bruiser: An enigmatic, heavy hitting giant featuring no known age or place of origin, he is the brother of the Special Circuit Champ. And he is determined to convince everybody, especially his opponents that he is truly the best, despite his brother's Championship Title, using a variety of special maneuvers, including 3-hit combos, pounding elbows, and paralysis of your fists.
Signature Move: Earthquake - Rick jumps into the air, and smashes back to the mat, temporarily immobilizing you.

Nick Bruiser: The Special Circuit Champion. Nick Bruiser is the most enigmatic, silent, heaviest-fisted opponent you've met yet, and every knockdown you suffer by his golden glove will send you into a body-spin before you inevitably hit the ground. Every punch from him equates to the strongest attack of many past adversaries. Bruiser's expressionless visage will remain unchanged as he stares at your beaten and lifeless body for the undoubtedly dozens of matches to follow.
Signature Move: I-Don't-Know-What-This-Is-But-It-Knocks-You-Down-Right-Away-So-Don't-Get-Hit-By-It I don't know what this is, but it knocks you down right away so don't get hit by it.


Even if you're not a boxing fan, or a follower of any sport, the silly cartoonish nature of Super Punch-Out is sure to have you determined to see all there is to see within. Classic Punch-Out!! players will thoroughly enjoy it just as much as players new to the series. If you get the chance,as it is a rare game, give Super Punch-Out a try. It's a fun one.


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