Your welcome is the traditional chimes of any boxing match while the screen is black. A few moments later, the Gilette Cavalcade of Sports song begins to play. Punch Out!! promises the presence of one of the biggest and most controversial stars in sports. The promise is immediately fulfilled and shows us the 8-bit version of Dynamite Boy: Michael Gerard Tyson, who tells you that he expects you to challenge him and serves as a cover letter for this port of the hugely successful arcade title of the same name.
Punch Out !! It came out because Nintendo decided to apply the old advice to make lemonade if you get lemons. They had arcade monitors to spare and made the wise decision to use them in another title. To get the most out of the excess resources the game had 2 screens, in the purest Nintendo DS style: the top one showed statistics and data, while the bottom one we controlled an unknown fighter who didn't even reach a name. It was simply called Challenger, like the space shuttle. Taking advantage of the popularity of sport in the United States, Nintendo did not think twice and launched the first version of this franchise that, without being the most outstanding of the company, occupies an important place. I knew about the arcade version a long time after the NES one and I definitely stick with the second one. I just don't feel comfortable controlling a character made of green wire mesh, plus the referee counts so fast it seems like he wants to go to the bathroom. As if that were not enough, there is a narrator who says what fist you are hitting with and it is most annoying.
With the arrival of home consoles, it was necessary for the big hit to reach the NES. Not only that, but it would have to be done with great fanfare. With an expensive advertising campaign spearheaded by Tyson, the first 8-bit version officially called Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! hit the shelves in 1987.
FROM BEGGAR TO WORLD CHAMPION
One of the first things that attracted me to this title was using a small character who climbs the mountain until he reaches the top. The stories of the boy or girl who starts with nothing and triumphs against all odds are very inspiring. I immediately identified with Little Mac, a young man with a lot of energy and a hunger for victory; Wow, the classic underdog we all love. His stature is short but his dreams are high, so he is willing to face any opponent no matter how strong or threatening he is, even if he has to take his feet off the ground to land an uppercut. His mentor is Doc Louis, an ex-boxer who in every fight gives him advice and motivates him to keep going even with his face like a hamburger.
There are different ways to dance this waltz. Each opponent gives you different signals just before landing a blow, so you must be very careful to dodge it and take advantage of the concussion to connect. It can be a flick of the eyebrows, the sparkle of a diamond, or a twist of gloves. Dodging and hitting is the most basic and obvious technique in the game. ¿It sounds easy? Well it is not. Your reflexes must be feline and you must practice a lot to memorize each pattern and send everyone to the mat before you are the one to bite the dust. What I like about playing with this scheme is that you are more confident, just waiting to be attacked to respond, but there is another much more fun way to play: I call it accelerated mode. It consists of cornering your opponent by doing everything possible so that he cannot even deliver all the blows he wants. It's the best way to get stars quickly, although if you make a mistake or don't follow the sequence properly, your speedrun will go down the drain. In the first fights it is easy to apply this mechanic, but as you progress, each star has a better flavor than the previous one.
Each of your opponents has a special charm. One of the strangest is King Hippo, the only fighter who has only one way to be defeated: punch him in the belly until he knocks him down so that he never stops again. I remember that the first opponent that cost me a lot of work was Bald Bull, especially with the famous Bull Charge with which he can knock you down with a single blow. Despite that, even the biggest and toughest guy has a weak point, a front door that, if you find it, can lead to a very satisfying victory. As it happens in real sport: practice and trial and error are essential to dominate each fight. Another important obstacle for me was Mr. Sandman, since you have to hit him in the face and then in the abdomen. His blows are devastating, but when I finally understood what he was about, I lost my fear. That's life, isn't it? Super Macho Man intimidates you with his name and his dancing pecs and when you fight him you realize how powerful he is. It has a special move (I say pinwheel) with which it can pulverize you if you don't dodge it correctly. Even in this case you can apply the accelerated mode and finish with it without problems.
What I think of the game after playing
Punch-Out!!! is the arcade spirit of a series that turns the wiimote and the nunchuk into real boxing gloves. It's exquisitely challenging, desperately fun, and wildly addictive. From the simplicity, the developers of Next Level Games, together with the supervision of Miyamoto himself, give us the resurrection of a franchise that maintains its identity but without forgetting to adapt them to the possibilities of the present.