Turn Back The Clock

Punch Out

Distributed by: Nintendo

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano

     And, ladies and gentlemen, this is one of those reviews that I truly love, one of those reviews that allow me an excuse to revisit my past.  You see, when my lovely sister-in-law decided to do some spring cleaning a few years ago, one of the things she decided she no longer had room for was her old Nintendo game system.  I took it, of course, but was disappointed to learn that she did not have—among her collection of games—Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.  Well, the other day, my not-so-lovely brother-in-law, unearthed his old 1980's Punch Out game and he offered it to me.  I was ecstatic.  It wasn’t the same game I played as a kid, but I figured it would be close enough.

     As it turned out, Punch Out was much closer to Mike Tyson’s Punch Out than I thought.  In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s the exact same game, sans Iron Mike at the end.  Being that Punch Out was for the old Nintendo System, 8 bits and all—or sometimes available for computers if you download a decent emulator—there’s not much in the way of graphics and the story is simple. 

     You are Little Mac, a struggling boxer who’s always the underdog.  You’re short, you’re pale, you’re color-scheme challenged, but you have heart and a really good trainer.  With your trainers help you fight your way through the minor circuit, toppling Piston Honda to win the title, then the major circuit and finally the world circuit, where you will face Super Macho Man

     Some of the bouts are easy, even if you hadn’t spent the better part of the mid-eighties developing calluses on your thumbs while shouting, “Go Little Mac!” at your television screen.  Some aren’t so easy, requiring an eye for patterns, tell signs and quick reflexes.  Make no mistake, the higher up the ladder you go, the more costly each mistake becomes. 

     Punch Out is one of those games that was good when you were a kid—challenging and fun—and great as an adult because it reminds you of all those fun days and nights when gaming was new.  It amazed me how difficult the game was even at my age, even knowing most of the tricks to beating most of the fighters.  Unfortunately, the game is—as most are—too short.  However, the silver lining is that when you beat the game, it cycles over again, using familiar faces, faster combos and altered moves.  It’s not rocket science, but it does keep the challenges coming.   

     So go dig out that old 8-bit paperweight, dust off that cartridge, and enjoy; I did. 


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