3/02/2011

HBM Reviews: Punch-Out!!

"Keep it clean and come out boxing!"
Hey, Head-Bodites. Guess what? I've been replaying this game recently (had it since it came out) and realized I need to give it a little review. Mostly, I'm just feeling nostalgic with this game, despite this being my first Punch-Out game (I'm only 15, y'know), so let's get this thing rolling.

But first, a few things. I'm doing my reviews in a certain way. First, I go through the plot, then the characters, gameplay, music, and extras. Each of those gets a rating out of 10. I then give an overview and a rating out of 10 based on everything else. Simple, right? Okay, let's roll!

Plot:
Nigga stole my bike!
The plot is fairly straightforward. You play as Little Mac, a young man who, as you can tell from the name, is kinda small (not as small as the NES version, but still...), and trying the reach the top of the World Video Boxing Association championship, while being trained by former champion Doc Louis. Fairly simple, and that's one of the things I like about this game.

Rating: 8/10

Characters:
How the hell is he this buff, but only 107 lbs?
As I said before, we have Little Mac and Doc Louis. Like all Nintendo protagonists, Mac is basically mute, only grunting, laughing, and cheering. Doc Louis is another story. He does all the talking for Mac here, and is quite funny. He's a big fat guy who just can't stop talking about chocolate. I love these guys, they're just made for each other.

Now, on to the opponents. In the Minor Circuit, you have Glass Joe, the pussy Frenchman with a love for french bread and croissants, Von Kaiser, the German child boxing instructor who's traumatized from getting beating up by his students, Disco Kid*, the flamboyant, dancing (and later, 'Boxercising') black man, and King Hippo, the huge fatass whose weakness is literally his stomach. They're easy opponents, and their personalities are somewhat funny

In the Major Circuit, you fight Piston Hondo (originally Piston HondA), the Japanese man with the huge eyebrows, Bear Hugger, the fatass Canadian who drinks jugs of maple syrup like they're just shots, Great Tiger, the Indian magician who teleports everywhere, and Don Flamenco, the Spanish bullfighter and ladies-man. They're a little tougher, but not by that much. They're not really as humorous as the previous circuit.

Now, we're on the best circuit, the World Circuit. First up is Aran Ryan, the cheating, psychotic Irishman, Soda Popinski, the Russian who drinks *cough* 'soda' (yeah, right), Bald Bull, the near-hairless Turkish man with a short temper, Super Macho Man, the obnoxious Hollywood superstar bodybuilder who will RELEASE THE BOGUS on you, and the champ, Mr. Sandman, the intimidating black man who curb-stomped everyone else you beat. This is my favorite circuit. Everyone here is a nice challenge, the personalities are awesome. I just love these guys.

Also, the secret challenger in this game, Donkey Kong is a fightable opponent once you defeat him in Mac's Last Stand (which we'll cover in gameplay). He constantly taunts you, only has counterattacks, and has way too many star opportunities. He acts way too silly, but that's just part of his charm. Overall, the characters in this game, offensive as they may be, are hilarious and likable, in their own ways.

Rating: 9.5/10

Gameplay:
"Vive la France!"
Punch-Out!! has three styles of gameplay. First, there's motion-control a.k.a. Wiimote and Nunchuk. You swing the Wii Remote to punch with your right hand, and the nunchuk for your left. If you don't tilt the control stick, you hit the body, but if you tilt the control stick up, you attack the face. Tilt the control stick up to block, left and right to dodge, and down to duck. When you get stars, hold A and swing the Wii Remote (or Z and swing the Nunchuk) to use the Star Punch, which deals more damage with the more stars you have. When you knock the opponent down, swing the Wiimote and Nunchuk repeatedly as fast as you can to restore health. Do the same when knocked down to get back up.

Second is NES controls. In this style, you hold only the Wiimote, sideways, with your right hand holding the bottom and your left hand holding the top. Here, you use the 1 and 2 buttons for punching and recovering, the D-Pad for dodging and blocking, and the A button for star punches. The 3rd style of play has you use the Wii Balance Board to dodge and duck, but I've found it to be unreliable.

Now onto fights. Every fight has 3 rounds. You win the fight if you knock down the opponent a certain number of times, TKO them (knock them down 3 times in 1 round), run out of time and have more health and less knockdowns than them, or meet certain conditions (Like 3-Star punching Von Kaiser during his taunt). At certain opportunities (like taunts or just before attacks), if you attack your opponent in a certain way, you'll get a Star. You lose all your stars if you get hit, so try to avoid getting hit and rack up stars.

In between rounds, your opponent taunts you and Doc gives you advice (or a non-sequitor about chocolate). Once a fight, at these times, you can press the - button to make Doc eat a chocolate bar. This restores most of Mac's health, but like I said, can only be done once a fight, so use it sparingly.

Now onto the different modes. First, there's career mode, where you fight through the story of Punch-Out!! Once you defeat Mr. Sandman, you unlock Title Defense, a mode where you fight everyone again, but with twists that make them more difficult**. After you beat this mode, you go into Mac's Last Stand, where after you lose 3 fights, Mac retires and his career is over. In this mode, your opponent is either a random Title Defense opponent or Donkey Kong.

Next, there's exhibition mode. Here, if you haven't fought someone before, you can train against a holographic dummy of them without taking damage to learn their patterns. If you've beaten someone before, you can fight them again here, only with their own remix of the fight music, and 3 challenges.

Last, there's Head-To-Head mode. In this mode, 2 players fight each other. Normally, it's much slower paced than the actual game. But when someone gets enough Giga Mac juice from counterattacking the other player enough, they turn into Giga Mac, and it turns into a normal Punch Out fight for the other player. Otherwise, it's the same. So, while this game may be lacking in modes, it's still got good points in the gameplay.

7/10

Music:
EPIC RUSSIAN CHORUS FTW!
The music in this game... well, it's limited. While it may be good, it's mostly a remix of the same one song. Of course it's getting a couple points off for lack of music. There are about 18 different remixes of the fight theme alone. The most memorable is the Minor Circuit theme, which can basically be considered the theme song. In order of favorites for me, it'd have to go:

Aran Ryan
Mr. Sandman
Super Macho Man
Major Circuit Title Bout
Minor Circuit
Soda Popinski
Disco Kid
Bear Hugger
World Circuit
Major Circuit
Minor Circuit Title Bout
Glass Joe
Piston Hondo
Don Flamenco
Von Kaiser
Great Tiger
King Hippo
Bald Bull

Well, the music's all good, but kind lacking.

Rating: 7.5/10

Extras:
The main menu in all it's glory.
There aren't much extras. If you can beat at least 10 fights in Mac's Last Stand, you unlock Challenge Mode for Exhibition Mode. If you activate this at the start of a fight, all your opponent's attacks are One Hit Knockdowns/KOs. It can make for a fun challenge. Also, if you beat all the challenges for a character, you unlock that character's sound test. That's about it. Seriously lacking, but okay.

Rating: 6/10

Overview: So, this game is really good. The plot is simple, it's not too violent, nice challenges, great characters. The meh unlockables kinda throw off a point or two, but that doesn't matter. This game is great. It just might get a tad boring after a while.

Overall Game Rating: 7.6/10

Well, next post, we're going onto the Dissidia info again, because tomorrow, it comes out in Japan, and there's a new character for those who didn't already know! HBM, signing out!
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*Disco Kid is apparently a re-imagining of the character Kid Quick from the Arcade Punch-Out from the 1980s. Damn, he was annoying when I fought him (Kid Quick, that is...)!

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