#424 – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (a.k.a. Punch-Out!!)

Swing and a hit!
What’s that ref up to?
Mr. Dream replaces Mike Tyson. The world mourns.
Well done, Little Mac.




GENRE: Arcade sports

RELEASE DATE: October 1987

Dozens of boxing games have power gloved their way through console gaming over the years, but the Punch-Out!! series bests them all. It’s the perfect mix of humor, timing exercises, and an amazing sense of accomplishment. The ridiculous stereotypical boxers never fail to make me chuckle (Soda Popinski? More like Vodka Drunkenski, amirite brahs!), and learning, or in my case, re-learning how to beat opponents is never less than thrilling. Taking down Mike Tyson/Mr. Dream after many, many failed attempts might even go down as one of the greatest moments in anyone’s catalogue of gaming memories. Other boxing games might be more realistic and feature an array of options, but only Punch-Out!! can KO a player’s heart with underdog determination.

Mac gets his hustle on.

You are Little Mac, a shrimpy minor league boxer with aspirations of greatness. Only his coach, a former heavyweight puncher named Doc Louis, believes in Little Mac. What Mac lacks in both size and strength (some of his opponents shoes are as big as Little Mac himself – just check out Piston Honda when he’s laying down!), he makes up for in courage and a discernment that allows him to read other player’s weaknesses. The best time to attack is almost always after your opponent’s main move. Your opponent will always blink during their main attack, indicating that the time is nigh for Mac to dodge the oncoming punch, and then blindside his opponent. Both Mac and his opponent have a stamina meter, which decrease every time they’re hit. Mac alone has a heart meter that enables him to throw his signature uppercuts, but should his hearts deplete, he will only be able to dodge, not punch. Once Mac dodges a few attacks, his hearts come back, but Mac himself is still weakened. After this point, it won’t take much to put him down, so proceed with caution. Should Mac be knocked down, he can get back up by repeatedly pressing ‘A,’ but only three times. After thirteen exhausting and challenging bouts (I hate you, Bald Bull, and your later counterpart, Crazy Bull), Mac faces the fight of his life, M. Tyson/Mr. Dream. Avoid the dreaded Dynamite Punches and a winner is you!

I believe we’ve found trouble.

Some of the less devoted might see Punch-Out!! as nothing more than memorizing, and reacting to, a series of timed moves. Such a statement is understandable, but it fails to comprehend the rush that comes from taking on each fighter. For a relatively simple arcade game, Punch-Out!! has a surprising amount of depth and replay value. Like the NES’ best games, it’s easy to pick up and play, and difficult to master. May we as gamers continue to learn from its greatness.


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8 replies on “#424 – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (a.k.a. Punch-Out!!)”

This game has more vivid memories for me than any other. Figuring out how to beat King Hippo. Beating Bald Bull. Beating the exhausting Sandman and Macho Man. It probably took me three years to beat Tyson; man what a thrill. He’s still hard today. I can probably only beat him about one out of five times even today.

My first memory of Punch Out was the code 607-407-3070. Some years later I beat Macho over and over writing each code on a piece of paper to finally get 961-263-7938. 99-0 looked so cool at the end lol.

Still so fun to play today. Watched youtube videos and learned strategies I’d never heard of as a kid.

Just reading this review I could hear the fight music and sounds. Very memorable for so many reasons.

The SNES version was just fantastic.


I always thought his trainer looked like Reginald VelJohnson…or Carl Winslow for those who may know him better from his most famous role. You know! The cop from Die Hard! Anyway, great game and laughed until I cried when I saw a schoolmate play it for the first time and lose to Glass Joe.

My favorite NES game of all time! Everyone who ever played much NES played one or both of these games. Just a classic masterpiece in video game history. Finally beating this game after years of practice, and many a broken controller, was one of the greatest accomplishments of my gaming life (right up there with beating Battletoads). It’s one of those games that I have never stopped playing, and will always have the code 007-373-5963 burned in my memory. Join the Nintendo Fun Club today!

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