Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Punch-Out!! Wii U Virtual Console

Until July 2013 Nintendo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Famicom by releasing "classic" titles for the new Wii U Virtual Console. As an added bonus, you can get these games for 30 cents during the first 30 days of each title's release. This month's release is Punch-Out!!. Is it a champion or a ham and egger? Find out after the jump.

The lack of endorsement and dual date title screen indicate this is not Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

Although the 30th anniversary of the Famicom began with a mundane whimper called Balloon Fight, we get a knockout this month. Punch-Out!! is synonymous with the NES era alongside Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Legend of Zelda, Tetris, and Kid Icarus. It seems like everyone who owned an NES also had a copy of Punch-Out!! and anyone in the schoolyard or mall who could beat the game was considered a local hero.

Watch Little Mac go from chump to champ

What made Punch-Out!! such a hit? Back in the day the allure of fighting Iron Mike Tyson was definitely a plus, but it is the unique gameplay and roster that truly stands the test of time. This game bleeds Nintendo. Titles like this (along with Pro Wrestling and Ice Hockey) seemed to take place in a universe that only Nintendo could create. I have heard Punch-Out!! described as a puzzle game rather than a sports game, and anyone who has spent time in this virtual squared circle would agree. Each opponent throws punches in their own unique patterns, and the keys to victory are memorization of these patterns, the opponent's "tells," and razor sharp hand-eye coordination. This game is "Nintendo hard" but the clever personalities of the boxers, humorous cut scenes, and wisdom from Doc Louis will keep you fighting for the title.

In the Wii U Virtual Console version, you will ultimately face Mr. Dream, not Iron Mike

So does the Wii U Virtual Console version have the "Eye of the Tiger?" Yes it does. The game looks great, especially on the Wii U Game Pad screen. I do suggest using any controller other than a Wii Remote since you will want a good sized D-Pad. At first I lamented the fact that this was not the Mike Tyson version of the game, but then I realized that most people (including myself) would have already owned the Mike Tyson version on the NES. This means the Mr. Dream version is a bit more novel. Plus, Iron Mike may not carry the same mystique in 2013 as he did in 1987.

If you like puzzle games, boxing, or NES classics, this game is for you. Watch this video while you download Punch-Out!!, put up your dukes, and "Play With Power."

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