Super Punch-Out is a great update to the NES classic
Punch-Out!! is one of the greatest games of all time. It had great gameplay, graphics, sound, and one of the most memorable boss fights in gaming history. It’s sequel Super Punch-Out!! was released on the Super Nintendo and it had a tough act to follow, since the game had to bring something fresh to the table, while retaining the elements that made the first game such a success. While the game didn’t fare as well as its NES counterpart, it was a solid game and it has returned to the Virtual Console for fans of Punch-Out!! and people who have just been introduced to the series.
You play as a unnamed boxer and the premise of this game is to knock out you opponent in 3 minutes, while avoiding the tricks up their sleeves. It may sound simple, but it is very tough to master. The controls are essentially like the original Punch-Out!! with the Y and B buttons act as body blows, while holding the buttons with the up button triggers jabs. And replacing the star punch is a Super Punch that is triggered by pressing the A button. The way you activate the Super Punch is by punching your opponent a number of times without getting hit, and after that you can use the punch as much as you want, just as long as the opponent does not hit you. Overall the controls feel really smooth and are a great update to those of Punch-Out!!
The gameplay is essentially built off of the predecessor of this game, where you have to exploit the main opponents weakness and use it to your advantage. However the game does not stop you if you want to throw random punches, for there is no longer a heart system that depletes after you get hit or a punch of yours gets blocked. This makes the game more accessible to other players, since that opens a way for opponents to be taken down easier and also works perfectly for speed runs.
The opponents are also as varied as the previous games was with a few familiar faces, such as Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, and the oh so muscular Super Macho Man. Another thing added with the characters are cheap tactics that re obviously illegal in the sport of boxing, but are used anyway since there is obviously no ref. Among these moves are getting spat at in the face, ruining your vision and making you unable to punch; kicked by a Bruce Lee look alike, or hit in the head with a cane by an old man. Clearly those people should be disqualified for their actions.
Another thing that needs to be touched upon is the game’s difficulty. This game is pretty challenging and hard at times, but it is not impossible. Most of the fights rely on timing and exploiting and once you defeat a boxer you shouldn’t have trouble fighting them a second time. In fact most of the lasting appeals comes from beating the opponent and finishing the game, and for those who have beat Punch-Out!!, they should not have as much trouble with this game, for it has an easier difficulty and more forgiving gameplay than the previous game.
The graphics in the game are very good, in fact some of the best that I’ve seen on the SNES. The developers took advantage of the capabilities of the SNES and recreated the arcade version’s graphics perfectly. Everything from the boxers, to the crowd, to even the floor are fluently animated to give you it a good feel. The animation is also fluid, recreating the split second responses needed to take down the opponents excellently. This is clearly on of the best features of this game.
The sound of the game is passable but not as memorable as the NES sounds were. The music is alright, but I would rather have a recreation of the NES Punch-Out!! theme over the SNES theme any day. However the sounds of the punches and the character voices sound the way it should be. There really isn’t much to the sound, but again, it’s pretty passable.
The lasting appeal in this game is depends on the player’s skill level. If this is their first time into the series then it should take them around weeks beating the game’s 16 fighters. But is the player has beat Punch-Out with no problem you can beat Nick Bruiser in about a week or two depending on your determination. After you beat the game, there is always a Time Attack mode on which you can try to beat the boxers in the fastest time possible. But for regular gamers, it the length may be disappointing, but yet it is a satisfying experience.
Super Punch-Out!! is a very under appreciated and overall an underrated boxing experience like no other. It may have some flaws, but it never stops being fun, which is the whole point of this game. If you have never played a Punch-Out!! game before and you are new to the series, I recommend you play the NES version over this one, though I warn you that the NES version is very hard and you must have dedication to finish. But if you want an easier game or is a Punch-Out!! fan that never played the sequel before, then it is 8 dollars well spent.