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Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! is a boxing game for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was released in 1987, developed by Nintendo. Though it takes its inspiration from the arcade game Punch-Out!!, including the basic mechanics and many of the opponents, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! has a very different graphical style and a few key differences in how it plays.


Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!'s gameplay is based heavily on pattern recognition and quick reflexes. Little Mac, the seemingly tiniest boxer in the world, works his way through the ranks of the professional boxing league, weaving and bobbing to victory. Due to his smaller size, the player must use strategy to defeat Little Mac's gigantic opponents. The characters you face usually have a distinctive body gesture they do before throwing a certain type of punch. Then the player will most likely have to counter-punch their enemies punch. A large portion of the punches Little Mac throws are counter punches.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! is actually far from a true "boxing" game, with its pugilistic exterior serving more as a shell for a game comprised of light puzzle and reflex-action elements. Much of the "boxing" is based entirely on reading the telegraphed punches of your opponent, dodging and/or countering them, and landing a set number of blows to his face / body before he recovers. Instead of a free-flowing fight, a bout in Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! is much more highly reminiscent of a pattern-recognition challenge as found in action games with pattern-based boss characters. There are a few, rare instances in which you can initiate offense, throwing the first punch to either land a successful blow or incite your opponent into a reaction that will leave him vulnerable, but the bulk of your successful blows will come from aptly dodging oncoming barrages and responding in kind.

You must also keep an eye on your " hearts", which limit how many times you can be hit or have your punches miss or get blocked before Mac tires out and cannot punch for a set amount of time. The number of hearts with which you begin a match depends on your opponent, but by and large, the message is clear: Don't throw a million punches willy nilly, or you'll tire yourself out.

If the player hits their opponent at a certain time (usually before they throw a punch) then a player obtains a star. The player can hold up to three stars at a time. These stars allow the player to throw a very strong uppercut by pressing the Start button which usually takes a large amount of health from the opponent, and potentially knocking him down with one punch.

The Circuits

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! consists of three circuits and the final dream bout against the titular boxer. Each opponent is more difficult than the last; the boxers who Little Mac rematch later are significantly more difficult than their initial bout.

Minor Circuit

Glass Joe is the series' infamous pushover, allowing you to initiate most of the contact both to the head and to the body at the outset of the fight. Glass Joe gets cocky if you haven't knocked him down within the first minute or so, backing off and taunting you. Of course, knocking him into oblivion once he steps forward again shows him who's boss.
Von Kaiser appears more capable than his predecessor, but can in fact be floored more easily. His jab can be countered with a blow to his (wiggling) head before the blow ever arrives, and in many cases a Star is awarded. Dodging whatever he throws your way and hitting him just once renders him vulnerable to a one-hit knockdown from a star punch. It's a wonder he's won more fights than Glass Joe throughout his career.
Piston Honda lets his guard down enough to be tagged with an aggressive surprise jab, but he nevertheless presents the first challenge during which you'll understand the dodge-respond mechanic upon which the bulk of the game is founded. Happily, he also gives you the first glimpse at a fancy dance that leaves him vulnerable to a one-hit knockdown--from a normal punch, no less--if you know just when to hit him.

Major Circuit

Don Flamenco is hands-down the easiest fighter to provoke, and while he doesn't go down nearly as quickly as some of his pushover predecessors, the technique for defeating him is the easiest to initiate. After all, how hard can a fight be when every jab is countered with a block, and then an uppercut that (if dodged) lets you counter with up to and potentially over ten punches in a row?
Once the portly King Hippo is down, he's out for good. The key is not mistaking his normal punch for his special blow, the latter of which you must counter, and the former of which results in a guaranteed block--and hence, a guaranteed lost heart.
Great Tiger cheats with magic trickery, plain and simple, by teleporting around the ring and surprising you with a hefty jab. However, this sequence is easy to read and block--and should you send him into his uppercut pattern, cracking him a solid one in the stomach the instant he crouches to throw the uppercut is a guaranteed star.
Bald Bull's jab and uppercut are quick as lightning, and his bull charge sends you to the mat in one shot. The first time around, though, it's easy to counter as long as you can count along with his hops and land a good one right after the three-count. When he returns, though... it's a different story.

World Circuit

Piston Honda comes back quicker and more powerful than ever. And yet, you might be able to knock him out even quicker than you did in the past. That little flimsy dance he does is cut in half, but if you hit him with precise timing, not only is he knocked down, chances are that he's also knocked out for a full ten count. If you whiff the punch, though, just make sure that you know about the barrage coming your way.
Soda Popinski waits, shuffles, waits some more, and then pops you a good hook or uppercut when you psych yourself out into dodging too early...or not dodging at all. His uppercut is insanely quick, and you'd have to be a robot to read his sucker punch jab. He's the first true docl in the game.
You can't knock Bald Bull down this time around without using a star punch or stopping his bull charge. The fact that he lulls you to sleep before his charge by waiting an unspecified amount of time, though, ups the "jerk" meter on this guy upon his return. Let's not forget the "half" charge, in which he only bounces back to the middle of the ring--forcing you to re-learn the appropriate timing.
Don Flamenco is far more difficult to provoke this time around, and his jab is quick enough to reach sucker-punch status. In fact, everything about him is quicker, harder, and nastier.
Mr. Sandman's special technique is insanely difficult to dodge: three instant uppercuts with no wind-up animation. He can take a hell of a whole lot of hits to the body, too, and you'll need to counter-punch with the right fist after dodging his hook if you want to even hit him.
Super Macho Man is the World Circuit Champion and last obstacle before Mike Tyson. He flexes his pectoral muscles to taunt Little Mac. His special attack is a spinning punch, which can be thrown two ways - a single spin, or a multiple spin attack that Little Mac must duck under on each rotation.
For the first ninety seconds of the Mike Tyson ( Mr. Dream) fight, he unleashes a barrage of uppercuts that will all be one punch knockdowns. It is possible to counter them, but most tend to simply learn the timing and dodge them. After that, it is a battle of landing a few punches for the remainder of the first and two rounds until you can finally TKO him in the third round.


After Nintendo's license with Mike Tyson ran out, Nintendo re-released Punch-Out!! in 1990 with the Mike Tyson character sprites replaced with the white (and generic) "Mr. Dream". Other than the cosmetic change from Mike Tyson to Mr. Dream, "Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream" was identical to the original, though the Mike Tyson version is often considered superior merely by virtue of the new final boss, Mr. Dream, not being especially intimidating compared to Tyson.

The game was actually released as a special promotional cartridge for the Famicom prior to its release in the US or anywhere else. It was a special gold cartridge, and is often called Punch-Out!! Special to differentiate it from other releases. The box, manual, and label depict Bald Bull on the front, and Super Macho Man is the final opponent - no match against Tyson, Mr. Dream, or any other entity following him is present. Only 10,000 were made, given to competitors who established certain feats at a tournament involving the game Golf.

In the original arcade release of Punch-Out!!, Soda Popinski was named Vodka Drunkenski. The name was changed to avoid appearing to advocate alcohol consumption in an effort to preserve Nintendo of America's family-friendly reputation.

Mario was added as the referee in the NES version to cater to established Mario fans. Speech bubbles also replaced voice samples for Mario to save space on the cartridge.