The next episode of our Underrated Retro Series is the *not-so-underrated*, Mike Tyson’s Punchout. This is the spiritual prequel to the last game we featured, Power Punch II.
Punch Out was released in 1987 in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and served as a console port from the original Punch Out!! arcade game. It was directed by the original Arcade producer, Genyo Takeda. Because the NES was not as powerful as the arcade hardware, Takeda and his crew realized that it would be impossible for the NES port to faithfully emulate the arcade graphics. Instead of making the playable boxer wire-framed or transparent to see an opponent, they decided to shrink the playable boxer, so that players could easily see opponents over his head. Other things added to the NES version that the arcade versions lacked were a rough plot, a background music track played during fights, animated cutscenes and a password system for saving progress.
The cover boy and final boss was a young, “Iron” Mike Tyson. Nintendo decided to pay Mike Tyson a rumored $50,000 for his likeness in Punch Out, a period that would last 3 years. It was a huge chance for Nintendo, since Tyson wasn’t an established champion yet. However, it just so happens that Tyson would go on to win the WBC World Title, but later be defeated by James “Buster” Douglas. After this defeat, Nintendo decided not to renew the licensing deal with Tyson. They went on to create a fictional final boss, “Mr. Dream”, in lieu of Mike, and insert him into the game.
The game is centered around a fictional boxer that is trying to work his way up the ranks, Little Mac. Mac has an extremely limited repertoire of moves compared to his many colorful opponents.
The main attacks the player …