Punch-Out!!

The latest entry in the Punch-Out series
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Violence: Bloodless combat against other boxers, opponents suffer mild injuries, knock-out punches are seen in slow motion.

Fantasy Magic: One opponent uses magic to fight, cutscenes show boxers drawing power from the elements or in a meditative pose.

Scantily Clad Women: Cutscene shows women in bikinis or low-cut outfits.

Crude Humor: Some boxers are disgusting in appearance or behavior.

People love the idea of the little guy making it big in just about every way. We always cheer for the underdog and hope they make it to the top. Punch-Out!! brings us the smallest little guy around. Why do you think they call your character Little Mac? For those who remember this remake of an old game, not much has changed, except the faces you see and smash in your hopes of making it all the to the top.

Plot

In just about every Punch-Out title, you assume of the role of Little Mac, an up-and-coming boxer with big dreams. This doesn’t change. One again, Little Mac is aiming for the World Championship, and the prize belt that goes along with it. The only thing standing in Mac’s way is an array of colorful and, at times, ridiculous fighters, some way bigger than others. But Mac doesn’t falter at the challenge, so he takes them all on one-by-one. With his trainer, Doc Louis supporting him, Mac begins in the Minor Circuit and hopes to work his way towards wearing the champion’s belt.

Gameplay

Punch-Out!! doesn’t go anywhere, except to a bigger and brighter boxing ring. The game takes place in a 3-D, cel-shaded environment, as limited as it is. The game has two real modes, Career and Exhibition. Career is where the real story takes place. You begin in the Minor Circuit. With the exception of the World Circuit, each circuit has four fighters. You take them on one at a time in three-round, three-minute matches. If you beat the fighter, you move on to the next one. If you beat the champion fighter, you move on to the next circuit.

You play with either the Wii Remote and Nunchuck or just the Wii Remote which you hold like a controller. If you have a Wii Balance Board, you can use that to dodge oncoming punches; if not, you just use whatever control setup you have. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It’s not. To win each bout, you’ll need a mixture of timing and reflexes. Each opponent will usually give an indication of what they’re going to do. You have to learn what those indications are and how to avoid the attack. If you do, you’ll most likely be able to stun the opponent and hit them a few times. Most opponents won’t give you an opening otherwise, so that’s important.

You also have to watch your stamina meter, a small heart-shaped meter near the top of the screen. This shows how many punches Mac can throw. Missing punches or having your punches blocked will deplete the meter and if it empties, you’ll have to dodge an attack before Mac can punch again. You also have to watch your health meter and a counter that shows how many times you’ve been knocked down. If you get knocked down three times, a TKO, the match is over.

Sometimes if you hit an opponent at a certain time, you get a star. If you have at least one, you can perform a much more powerful Star Punch.

Offensive Content

Mild Violence

Punch-Out!!, as the name suggests, revolves around boxing, but is pretty clean in this area. The game looks like a cartoon, so all of the violence is likewise very cartoon-like. You throw punches, but there’s no blood. The worst that happens is some fighters get big, red knots on their heads, some have black eyes, marks on their stomachs, and some are seen with missing teeth. When Mac takes a lot of hits, he’ll get a small bruise, and if he’s really hurting, they’ll be a big, white bandage on him too.

A lot of knock-out moves are done in slow motion and they look painful, but the fighter is unharmed afterwards, just face-down on the mat. Mac’s special Star Punch also is a bit cringe worthy as he punches with a lot more force.

Fantasy Magic

One boxer, Great Tiger, mixes a bit of magic with his moves. He is shown appearing and disappearing in a puff of smoke and can create a shadowy-clone of himself to distract you.

Each fighter has an opening scene before their fight starts. In one, we see a Japanese fighter sitting in a meditation pose, and while not magical, it is certainly spiritual in nature.

Scantily Clad Women

In one opening scene we see some women in low-cut gowns and in another we see a few in bikinis.

Crude Humor

Some of the fighters are a little disgusting, in particular the morbidly obese King Hippo (fitting name). You also have to knock down his pants. His opening scene shows also shows him in the process of stuffing his face. The other slightly gross fighter is Super Macho Man, who looks a bit like an old man in a very brief swimsuit. He flexes his chest muscles in front of the camera and then turns to flex his rear end, which did seem a little disgusting.

Commendable Content

Despite the fighting theme present, there are some pretty good moments. For one, all the fights are pretty clean. You don’t hit people with metal chairs, poles, or really underhanded moves. Considering the more intense fighting games available, this one is really mild. You also get some encouragement from your trainer. I’d say there’s also the idea that even the little rookie can take on the very large champ.

Conclusion

Everybody loves the idea of the little guy going up against a giant-sized problem. They love it even more if the little guy wins. Punch-Out!! presents just that scenario. I’ll admit, I did get the idea that no matter if you’re as little as the main character, you can take on the biggest of them. And it’s nice to see games in this genre as clean as Punch-Out!!

But still, some may object to the game’s violent nature. Let’s face it, fighting for fame is a lot different than fighting to save the world or that usual imperiled princess. The use of magic may be enough to raise an eyebrow as well. But if none of these are an issue, I recommend this title for fans of the original Punch-Out and those who’re looking for an entry into the series.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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