Punch-Out!! on the NES has plenty of fans. For some reason, though, a lot of them seem to be completely unaware that there’s a second game in the series available on home consoles – this is rather strange, because Super Punch-Out!! is easily as good, if not better than the NES original.
The main objective of the game is still the same. You have to fight your way through a number of boxers to become the champion of the WVBA (World Video Boxing Association); this time there are four circuits with four opponents each. Once all circuits are unlocked, you can play any you want any time. There is also a time attack mode, where you can practice against any of the 16 enemy boxers to understand their patterns.
The actual gameplay has taken both a step back (But not in the bad way) and a step forward – as in the two arcade Punch-Out!! titles, you view your boxer from behind. His sprite can be seen through, and you can clearly see your opponent in front of him; this gives you a much more “involved” feel than the NES game.
All the moves you could pull off in the previous three games are here again – dodging left/right, ducking, and both body blows and jabs. What’s new, however, is the very useful charging system – if you can land a series of hits on the opponent without getting hit yourself you’ll be able to perform super-strong punches and uppercuts which take off a great deal of the opponent’s health. You can also opt for a series of weaker but very fast punches.
The game has also done away with the multiple rounds you find in real boxing; each match only has a single round. As in Punch-Out!!, you can KO an opponent by hitting him so hard he stays down for 10 seconds, or TKO him by knocking him down thrice. If the timer (which counts up slower than in the NES game) reaches 3 minutes, you lose, so don’t screw around!
Super Punch-Out!! has a whopping 16 opponents, each with their own unique moveset. You’ll find familiar faces like Bald Bull and Super Macho Man, but most opponents are totally new, and some of them are even crazier than the characters in the previous entry – for example, there’s Bob Charlie, the Bob Marley look-a-like, and Masked Muscle, the Mexican luchador who tries to blind you by spitting in your eyes! Multiple other opponents also seem to forget the rules of boxing and attack with their feet, weapons and even their hair, so watch out.
Graphically this still looks great today – the characters all have plenty of animations which help their obvious stereotyping even more. Musically the game is also much improved; instead of having just one fight song like Punch-Out!! on the NES, there are now four different tracks – one for each circuit. Each opponent also has their own short theme song which plays before the match.
Super Punch-Out!! is a great sequel. It really only improves on what was already there, being careful not to screw anything up. If you liked the NES game you can do absolutely no wrong in downloading this.