Super Punch-Out!! (not to be confused with the 1984 arcade game of the same name) is a behind-the-back boxing game developed by Nintendo R&D3 and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America on September 14, 1994 and in Europe on January 26, 1995. It received a limited release in Japan on March 1, 1998 as part of the Nintendo Power service.
The second home adaptation of the 1983 arcade game Punch-Out!! (and its sequel), after the NES adaptation, Super Punch-Out!! follows a young up-and-coming boxer as he fights his way up the ranks of the World Video Boxing Association (or W.V.B.A.) through boxing matches against numerous colorful opponents from around the world (most of which specialize in illegal boxing tactics, such as overhead strikes, grappling, and kung fu kicks).
Unlike the NES adaptation, this adaptation is more faithful to the arcade originals in both appearance and gameplay. This includes the return of the Power Meter (replacing the Star system), two forms of guarding (upper and lower), and the removal of the Heart gauge (with stun state now determined by the character's portrait background color). It features a leaderboard system (with per-opponent "fast time" and per-circuit "high score" records), a save file system (allowing players to return to the game without passwords), and a Time Attack mode (allowing players to fight a single opponent). It also features Charles Martinet's first voice acting on an official Nintendo game.
The game was later digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii (in 2009), Wii U (in 2014), and New Nintendo 3DS (in 2016). It was also included in the Super NES Classic Edition micro-console and as part of the Nintendo Switch Online - Super Nintendo Entertainment System service for the Nintendo Switch (on December 12, 2019 in North America and Europe and on May 20, 2020 in Japan).
The game was also included as a bonus for the GameCube version of the 2005 EA game Fight Night Round 2 to make up for that version's lack of online play (with Little Mac available as an unlockable).
Super Punch-Out!! has similar gameplay to the original. The player faces a single opponent, and is able to sway left and right, and execute both right and left punches to the body and head. From there, however, there are several subtleties to the gameplay that make Super Punch Out!! a much deeper experience than the original.
The four normal punches players can throw vary in speed and strength. There is an inverse relationship of how fast a punch is to how powerful it is. From quickest and weakest to slowest and most powerful, the order of the punches is as follows: Left Jab, Left Body, Right Jab, Right Body. Mixing the punches up accordingly may yield extra hits or extra damage, so finding the proper mix of punches can yield quicker K.O. times for time trials.
As in the original Punch Out!!, they player can throw a powerful uppercut, but instead of stars, this time there's a meter that fills up as they fight. This meter does not deplete as players use it. Instead, getting hit by an opponent depletes the meter. (The amount is based on the damage of the punch.) The uppercut, furthermore, is simply one of four available "special" punches. Players can also deal a vicious hook to the body, and rapid punches to both the head and body. The difference between the head and body special blows is the speed and power with which the blows connect, with shots to the head being slightly quicker and less powerful and shots to the body being slightly slower and more powerful.
Counter-punching is much more fleshed out and flexible this time around. In the original Punch Out!!, there were a few rare instances during which players could hit their opponent just as he was about to land a punch (throwing a body punch at Von Kaiser or Great Tiger as they crouch to launch an uppercut, or tagging Bald Bull in the head just before he throws a jab). In Super Punch Out!!, the counter punch's rate of success is much higher and the appropriate techniques are called out in the game's tutorial. When the opponent is about to throw a left-handed punch, the player can counter with a right-handed punch, and vice versa. One must also take the height of the blow into consideration. If he's about to throw a jab or hook at the player's face, they counter with a jab to his face; similarly, if he's about to throw a hook at their body, or crouches for an uppercut, they must counter with a body blow. The challenge is in reading the opponent's tell--each punch's tell is distinguishable from one another, but sometimes only subtly so (most difficult being the difference between a hook to the face and a hook to the body). Mastering the counter-punch is key to speedy victories and--in some cases--survival, as a successful counter-puncher ends up nullifying many opponents' attacks before they can even be unleashed.
Successful counter-punching or otherwise dominant performances will sometimes yield a "dizzy" animation, in which the opponent either doubles over, sways from side to side, or otherwise stumbles about. Hitting the opponent with a power punch during a precise moment in these "dizzy" animations may yield an instant knockdown and, in rare cases, result in a full 10-count and victory.
Super Punch-Out!! sports a Time Attack mode, which allows players to fight against fighters from any circuit they have beaten to try and improve their K.O. times.
Unlike the original, in Super Punch Out!!, speech bubbles will appear from both sides of the screen, representing orders and hints coming from the opponent's coach. These often clue the player in to which technique their opponent is about to unleash, giving them time to take proper action.
Techniques employed by the fighters in Super Punch Out!! require a much higher level of suspension of disbelief in relation to the original Punch Out!!. Several fighters use weapons and what would normally be illegal blows and tactics, including but not limited to: overhead blows; grabbing and throwing; kicking; spitting; headbutts; juggling balls; elbows; and a walking stick.
Super Punch-Out!! contains four circuits (one of which is unlockable) and 16 total opponents, with no opponent appearing more than once throughout the game. Like most games in the series, each fighter follows certain stereotypes.
Opponents returning from the arcade games include Piston Hurricane, Bald Bull, and Mr. Sandman from the 1983 game and Bear Hugger, Dragon Chan, and Super Macho Man from the 1984 game. Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, and Super Macho Man previously appeared in the NES adaptation.
- Gabby Jay - An old Frenchman with a paltry streak of 99 losses (with his single win against fellow French boxer Glass Joe, who he trained under), Gabby Jay has poor offensive and defensive capabilities and relies on taunting. He is seen as a spiritual successor to Glass Joe.
- Bear Hugger - A hulking Canadian whose closest rival is his pet grizzly bear, Bear Hugger's enormous belly allows him to become immune to low hook attacks (although it can be vulnerable at certain times). His signature technique, known in later games as the "Bear Hug", is an illegal two-handed overhead strike (or "earclapping") technique that can only be avoided by ducking backwards.
- Piston Hurricane - A Cuban boxer and the player's first well-rounded opponent, Piston Hurricane's special technique is his "Hurricane Rush", a sequence of alternating punches followed by a powerful uppercut.
- Bald Bull - The Minor Circuit champion from Turkey, Bald Bull's special technique is his "Bull Charge", in which he backs up and charges forward like a bull to deliver an uppercut that can deliver an instant knockdown.
- Bob Charlie - A Jamaican boxer whose signature technique is to "shuck and jive", causing him to dance in the background before performing a windmill-like uppercut. He shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Gabby Jay.
- Dragon Chan - A kickboxer from Hong Kong whose techniques often involve several illegal jumping kicks (with his special "Dragon Kick" having him jump onto a corner before delivering a powerful swinging kick that can instantly knockdown). He can also regain his strength through meditation.
- Mr. Sandman - The Major Circuit champion from the USA, Mr. Sandman's special technique is his "Dreamland Express", which allows him to deliver three powerful uppercuts in quick succession. He also becomes more aggressive after being knocked down twice. He shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Bald Bull.
- Aran Ryan - An Irish scrapper whose special technique is an illegal unavoidable grab (that allows him to regain his strength before allowing him to perform a powerful uppercut). He shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Piston Hurricane and is seen as a spiritual successor to Pizza Pasta.
- Heike Kagero - An effeminate Japanese practitioner of Nihon-buyō (a dancing art influenced by kabuki theater), Heike Kagero's sometimes sweep his long hair as an attack (an illegal but powerful technique). His special technique, the "Mirage Dance" allows him to move around at superhuman speeds, performing a series of random attacks. He shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Dragon Chan and is seen as a spiritual successor to Great Tiger.
- Mad Clown - An Italian circus clown who shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Bear Hugger (including his immunity to low hooks). He has a series of illegal techniques, including a grapple, a backhand hook, and a series of projectiles (juggling balls). After being knocked down twice, he can perform a flurry of attacks (known as "Show Time!").
- Super Macho Man - The World Circuit champion and bodybuilder from the USA, Super Macho Man has a variety of powerful combos (which are sometimes hinted at as callouts of his "exercise programs"). His special technique is a series of clothesline punches in quick succession that can instantly knockdown. He shares the same physique and basic fighting style as Masked Muscle.
This circuit is hidden from the start and is only unlocked by clearing each of the other three circuits without losing a fight. Other than Narcis, neither of the fighters in this circuit have cornermen that shout commands at them (which hinted at what they were going to do next).
- Narcis Prince - A narcissistic British fighter who is calm and skillful, at first. However, dealing one punch to the face causes him to become enraged and more reckless (causing him to attack more often and defend less often) until he "snaps out of it".
- Rick Bruiser - The younger of the mysterious Bruiser brothers, Rick is more carefree and has only lost once in his career (against his brother Nick, which he claims was intentional). Both he and Nick have illegal elbow thrusts and the ability to incapacitate one of the player fighter's arms for a short time, but Rick is known for his special technique in which he jumps on the center of the ring to shake it (causing the player to become stunned if not dodged, leading to an uppercut with a guaranteed knockdown).
- Nick Bruiser - The elder of the mysterious Bruiser brothers and the game's final boss, Nick is more serious and have never lost once in his career. Along with a variety of powerful combos (most of of which differ from Rick's), he's known for an illegal leaping haymaker attack that delivers an instant knockdown.