(Super Nintendo)

Super Punch-Out!! (Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Super Punch-Out!! Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Brain over brawn

Whereas Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream is consistently considered to be one of the best games on the NES, console sequel Super Punch-Out!! seldom appears in the top 10 when recalling the best games on the SNES. Did the puzzle-fight formula not hold up as well for the second time around at home, or was 16-bit competition just that much more stiff?

Revisiting Super-Punch-Out!! on the Wii U eShop shows that quality isn’t the issue: the game floats with effortless ease around the ring and stings the opposition like an unholy hornet/wasp hybrid. Tough adversaries may have knocked the game out of the limelight but, just like series star Little Mac, this is one underdog not to be discounted.

Like its predecessor, the goal is simple: fight your way to the top title of the World Video Boxing Association. However, this game goes down its own structural path. Instead of swinging through all opponents in a row as on NES, there are four circuits with four opponents each to crush. Rounds are no longer a thing, either — matches have a three-minute limit in which to either smash an opponent hard enough that they stay down for the count or to knock them out three times. There are no ties or wins based on who has more health by the end of it.

Super Punch-Out!! is more of a puzzle game than a straight pugilistic one; in fact, trying to brute-force through to victory will likely end in tears and shouting. Each member of the 16-deep rogues gallery — mixing familiar faces with all new foes — has their own style of fighting, and careful observation will reveal their unique weaknesses. It’s possible to KO an opponent in a few hits if you know what you’re doing, so it pays to be patient and attentive rather than thoughtless and aggressive. When competing in the harder circuits, however, there is disappointingly little room for free-form fighting; it is next to impossible to KO a foe by simply dodging attacks and hammering away at them, so later victories require study, which can be frustrating. Judicious use of Virtual Console save states can reduce some of this frustration, and if you want to be cheeky about it you can always hop on the Internet Browser really quick for a guide — a luxury that would have saved our mid-90’s selves a lot of anguish.

Learning an opponent’s pattern will take a while if you do it the old-fashioned way — the foes are certainly no push-overs and can greatly punish one wrong move — but finally knowing when to dodge, jab and counter-punch at just the right time to wipe the floor with an opponent’s stupid smug face is immensely satisfying. If you’re prepared to commit, this rewarding of patience pushes the game’s replay value impressively high: “solving” each fighter will take a while, and once you’ve practiced enough in Time Attack mode you can aim for the quickest knock-out time on the local high score table. While Super Punch-Out!! doesn’t support two players, the high score table offers a competitive arena to see who really is the best around.

Mac’s moveset is simplistic, amounting to left and right jabs, hooks, and cardinal-direction dodges. Successfully getting a blow in fills the stamina meter, which takes the place of Punch-Out!!‘s star power-up — when full, Mac can dole out slower, more powerful knockout punches. Getting hit drains the stamina meter, making defence all the more important.

Super Punch-Out!! gets up close and personal by pulling the camera right up behind Mac, who is now somewhat transparent. Being closer to the action gives more weight and drama to each bout, making them more exciting to watch than from the NES game’s nosebleed seats. The closer view also gives a more pronounced view of each character, blowing out their already-exaggerated personalities and showing off the lovely sprite work put into each one.

Mario was seen moonlighting as the ref in the NES version of Punch-Out!!, but he’s nowhere to be found here. Well, that’s not entirely accurate — most of the voice acting was done by Charles Martinet, who two years later would go on to ya! and woohoo! his way as the voice of the Italian stallion in every Mario game from Super Mario 64 onward. So, no, Mario isn’t really missing here, even if he isn’t visibly counting down a knockout.

Conclusion

Super Punch-Out!! nails the sequel thing by keeping what works with a beloved formula while expanding in interesting new ways. And just like big brother, Super Punch-Out!! does not mess around. It will punish your missteps without hesitation, and those who are patient enough take it slow, learn when to strike and then do so methodically will be rewarded with the great satisfaction of having clocked what seemed an impossible opponent. Later fights require sticking to the script a bit too much and can reduce the illusion of strategy, but in the end the satisfaction of victory justifies the rigid means in which it is achieved.

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User Comments (38)

edhe

#1

edhe said:

I prefer this over Punch Out NES. It's easier, at least.

I do like the character design though.

sinalefa

#2

sinalefa said:

I prefer this one to the NES one, maybe because it was the first one I played. Since the characters have better animation, their tells are easier to spot.

Nice to see the mention of Charles Martinet. His voice work really gives personality to these fighters. I would have loved to see more of them in Punch Out for Wii.

Galactus

#3

Galactus said:

I still haven't beaten the Wii version because I refuse to play it without the Balance board and Wiimote. It is a feat of strength, reflexes, and pattern recognition. D-Pad is for wimps!

B3ND3R

#4

B3ND3R said:

My dad and I played the heck out of Super Punchout when it was new :) still have it and play it frequently.

Mrclaycoat

#6

Mrclaycoat said:

why did I not pick this up for free with my Club Nintendo points when I had the chance???

Expa0

#7

Expa0 said:

I quite enjoy this game, it doesn't have as much charm as punch-out Wii, but the gameplay is superior.

Frapp

#8

Frapp said:

The original dumps on the SNES sequel from a great height. More challenging gameplay, more charm and substantially better music. And it had Mike Tyson - one of gaming's hardest bosses.
The Wii game is really good, though. Especially with the Balance Board.

RupeeClock

#10

RupeeClock said:

Something that always stuck out to me about Super Punch Out was the box art, featuring three of the best boxers from the NES Punch Out, and not any of the new boxers.

The only boxers from Super Punch Out that were ever seen again were Bear Hugger and Aran Ryan, the rest didn't really hold up as well.

ChimeraKnight

#11

ChimeraKnight said:

I've played through this game so many times I don't even want to guess how many hours I've put into it. This game along with Mega Man X and Super Metroid were in constant rotation when I was growing up. Love this game and downloaded it as soon as it was made available even though I still have the SNES cart.

I like this version the best as it gives the player more freedom of when and how to throw out super-punches and has the ability that makes all your punches hit slightly harder, which can be triggered manually if you change the setting in the options. This one also has my favorite cast with Masked Muscle, Dragon Chan, Bob Charlie, Mad Clown, etc.

Punch-Out!! on the Wii might be nicer looking and have better animations, but this is still my favorite game in the series.

Game-Over

#12

Game-Over said:

Off topic but as a matter of interest is the Wii Classic Pro Controller still available in the shops, many Wii games and virtual console games can't be played properly or at all without one. Their seems to be no real point in even transferring old virtual consoles games to the Wii U without the old classic wii controller.

Turbo857

#13

Turbo857 said:

The Wii-make is my favorite by far and I prefer the motion control over the traditional way. It's really good with the balance board but I had trouble at Soda Popinski. Gotta try it again later. Super Punch-Out comes in second then the original.

But the rapid punches and strong hook to the gut from Super Punch-Out we're cool exclusive attacks.

cyrus_zuo

#14

cyrus_zuo said:

Love the NES one.
The Wii one is the only Nintendo made game I sold last gen. Hated the formula on replay and disliked that there was only one way to dodge most of the enemy attacks and so so many fake out tells.
I haven't tried the SNES one b/c I figure it will be like the Wii one.

element187

#16

element187 said:

@Galactus Punch out on Wii uses the balance board? Holy smokes I'm buying a copy.... Do you have to use a nunchuck or can you use a secondary Wiimote for your left hand?

element187

#17

element187 said:

I grew up with the NES game so that one gets my vote (never had a SNES, my parents didn't see what's so super about it that my NES could do)

ToxieDogg

#18

ToxieDogg said:

@element187 You have to use the nunchuck (just like with Wii Sports boxing) if you're playing motion controls style, although you can also play 'NES style' with a single remote turned on it's side using the D-Pad and buttons (as the basic controls are identical to NES Punch Out).

Whichever of the 2 control methods you use, you can still use the Balance Board to duck and dodge if you want. :)

Tasuki

#19

Tasuki said:

I have always preferred this game to the NES one. For one thing I was able to finish this one. I also like the graphics a whole lot more in this one. The only thing I didn't like about this one was how cheap they made some of the characters like Dragon Chan being able to kick or the old man with the stick I was like WTF, I want to use kicks and a stick too.

WaveBoy

#20

WaveBoy said:

@element187
Same here. But even so, I've always found the SNES version to fall a little short. I find dodging a little confusing this time around, due to the distance between characters, visuals and closed-in camera. And i was never too crazy over the game's flow either..It doesn't feel as zippity, kinetic or as intuitive as Punch-Out!! NES. And some of the characters got a little ridiculous, what, with their silly weapons and all. :P Still a 'good' game, but it aint got nothing on NES-Punch-Out!! or the latest Wii sequel/remake. And it was a jab to the junk when they didn't include the 'real' black haired little mac, or a few characters from the original....PLUS, where was the Mario referee? he added even more charm to the first. I don't know, the characters in the first P-O were just too great.... the moment Bald Bull hit the screen i remember being scared to the count chocolua tee' by his large menacing sprite. :P

Anyhoo, i still can't beat Super Punch-Out!!. The 2nd to the last brother is just too much for me. Super Punch-Out!! just complicates things and makes the later matches a complete confusing utrial & error guessing game with more complex manouevering for the worse at your disposal. zoink!

Oh, and Narcas Prince NEEDS to make a comback!
Untitled
"OWuh!"

Spanjard

#21

Spanjard said:

My brothers and I played this game all the time. When I think about SNES, I think about this gane, great memories.

3MonthBeef

#24

3MonthBeef said:

Great game. Got Nick Bruiser down in under a minute. But as another commenter noted the introduction of weapons and clearly unsanctioned boxing maneuvers was a bit ridiculous.

My favorite fights were against: Heiki Kagero, Aryan Ryan, Narciss Prince (his expression when he gets hit in the face is awesome. He's like the Vega of Punch-Out) and Nick Bruiser.

Kirk

#25

Kirk said:

This was a great game for the SNES.

I loved the Wii version too but it just lacked a little something, don't know what off the top of my head exactly but something*, to really be a true classic imo.

*Maybe it just needed full entrances for each the fighters or something, rather than a couple of static images before a fight, to make the game feel a bit more fleshed out for the modern era. The colors on the actual ring (at least in the early fights) and crowd were also far too dark, dull and monotone (so it made the fights feel a bit empty with just the fighters visible for the most part), don't know why they decided that would be better, and the menu design throughout the game was also pretty bland and boring too.

WaveBoy

#26

WaveBoy said:

@Kirk
I agree in regards to Punch-Out!! wii.. ultimately it played great, but the earlier darker colored rings were a downer, Mario didn't return as the referee, the presentation overall was god awful(The music makes me want to hurl)and i personally didn't like the in-game musical rendition they used on the original 8-bit chip tune. You can definitely feel that this has western written all over it. Oh, and i wasn't a big fan of Little Mac's character model either. It doesn't have that nintendo quality to it and comes off as almost WayForward-like. I was hoping for the visuals/characters to look more bizarre, unproportioned and more animated. Not the look i was hoping for. Wjat we got instead were terrible cookie cutter generic plain designs stolen from Wayforwards junk box.

Untitled

Untitled
Bald Bull looks just awful here....

Heck, i would of prefered him to look more like this. :P
Untitled

The Cutscene/voice over interaction between Mac & Doc Louise wasn't necessary. Wasn't exactly the Punch-Out!! i was hoping for, but it stayed to true to the orgiinal's winning gameplay and played extremely well. I'm proud to say that i beat Title Defense(seeing the fighters return with no tricks up their sleeves including King Hipp's sewer lid taped to his belly were really neat) but I could never take down Donkey Kong. :p

Turbo857

#27

Turbo857 said:

@CountWavula

You didn't like the artwork for the Bald Bull or Lil Mac in Punch Out! for Wii??? I think they come a LONG WAY from the 8-bit spites of the NES. Little Mac actually looks like a fighter instead of some skinny dwarf. They just made the size proportions between the Mac and his opponents more practical. If Lil Mac makes his highly anticipated arrival into Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS he should have this look from the Wii version.

Personally I love the game's music and think it was genius the way the game's traditional theme plays to different instruments depending on who you fight.

I thought the Mac & Doc cut scenes were pretty funny sometimes and Doc eating a chocolate bar is always classic. I just wish they used subtitles for the fighters that didn't speak English.

Ah well, different strokes for different folks. I still haven't beaten Donkey Kong either.

sinalefa

#28

sinalefa said:

@Kirk

I actually liked the early rings because they are empty. It makes you feel like you are a low ranked boxer no one cares about, and as you improve in the ranks, the venues are bigger, better and livelier. The boxers do have animations before a fight, and when the second and third round starts.

Not to mention the brilliant idea of adding a New Game Plus of sorts with the Title Defense Mode, not only making more damaging enemies but adding new attacks and patterns.

Something I did not like was only having two returning opponents from the SNES game and only a new fighter.

ReigningSemtex

#30

ReigningSemtex said:

I much prefer super punch out to the nes original and punch out wii. I still play super punch out regularly so I will be buying this its a great game

Kirk

#31

Kirk said:

@sinalefa

The title defense mode was a brilliant idea but I think the brighter and more colorful rings of the SNES version, with a much more visible crowd too (regardless of the size of the crowd, which could still be smaller or bigger based on the venue), just worked better. When talking about them having stuff before fights I mean full walk-ons like they have in real life with the fighters walking down through the crowd and climbing into the ring and stuff. Probably could add something similar after the fights too, so it's like each fight has a bit more meat to it overall in terms of presentation and story etc. I think that would have rounded out the experience and made it all feel a bit more "rewarding" and "complete" too, if you get what I mean.

Kirk

#32

Kirk said:

@CountWavula

I agree with most of what you said but I like the doc stuff and actually would have liked more stuff like this before and after fights etc but more in relation to intro walks through the crowd for each fighter and stuff. Also, I think the models were generally pretty good but the in-game characters did have that slightly "shiny" "plastic" look to them that detracted from the generally nice "toon" style just a little bit. Get rid of the slightly dated "rendered" remnants from the models and I'd really like the toon style overall.

I really think they should make another game in the series, expanding upon what was already there and fixing any of the little niggles etc. I'd certainly be up for that.

Game-Over

#35

Game-Over said:

Thanks for ur comment Blizzaga but from what i've heard the Wii U pro controller can't be used on Wii games. I'l just have to find a Wii classic controller somewhere.

Tender_Cutlet

#37

Tender_Cutlet said:

Super Punch Out is a top five game on the SNES. Punch Out Wii isn't a top 20 game on a system with a FAR weaker library.

In summary:
SNES = "Right on!"
NES = "Got him!"
Wii = "Too close!"

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