Review of Punch–Out!! for the NES Mini Classic
By: Kevin Magnus

So I am back, yay me and all that jazz. So now that everyone knows that I enjoy video games from the past, I get constant invites to write a review. While, I feel that these classics are long forgotten by most, with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System Mini has brought the 8–bit games new life, and for me hours and hours of non–brooding enjoyment—but, nothing will ever replace the sheer love I have for a dark corner and the contemplative meditation that takes place there.

This time around, I have decided to cover Punch–Out!!, no, not the Mike Tyson one, though I did play my share of that in the arcades back in the day. While the first edition debuted on October 18, 1987 (when I was wee lad), it wouldn't be until February 11, 1990 when he dropped the WBA, WBC, IBF, lineal heavyweight titles to James "Buster" Douglas that Nintendo yanked his name from their top boxing game and repackaged it as solely Punch–Out!!!

So, what is Punch–Out, some of you under the age of thirty may be asking. Well, let me tell you. You are the protagonist boxer from the Bronx named, "Little Mac," and he his punching his way up through the contender–ship in the WVBA or World Video Boxing Association.

You go on a journey and face 14 memorable opponents in three different circuits—you have three in the Minor Circuit, four in the Major Circuit, six in the World Circuit, and the final fight for all the marbles is Mr. Dream the main boss.

Oh and did I mention who the guest referee is in each fight? Why it is our favorite plumber who Nintendo built an empire off his back, yep, Mario himself (a little nerd game info, for all of you: did you know that Mario the Plumber’s full name is Mario Mario? Yep. Mario Bros., it's in the name, but no one knows it).

Something else worth mentioning, is that the theme song to the game is the song, Look Sharp, Be Sharp March composed in the 1950s, and was also used in the famous boxing movie, with Robert De Niro titled, Raging Bull.

With game play, Little Mac is typically, limited in power and combos compared to his opponents. He defiance is a right and left jabs and body shots, and has a mighty uppercut. But you can only utilize the uppercut when the play earns a star, which normally happens when you sneak in a shot or deliver a counter punch. You should know that you can only get three stars at one time. When you have them and push the START button, be prepared to knock the crap out of whomever you are battling.

Although, I like how Little Mac can dodge left or right, the opponent can do the same thing—if he moves and you miss the shot, expect him to deliver a powerful blow himself and put you down for the ten count.

I have quite literally devoted days to this game to hone my skills as a boxer in the WVBA and work my way back to face, Mr. Dream, which as of this writing I still have not. I was asked, "What about your children?" Which my reply was, "I have no children, only enemies!" Yeah in hindsight I am going to have to go brood about that, maybe next month I will do a poem about the pain and emotional toll Punch–Out!! has caused me as an adult in his mid–forties.

For Punch–Out!! for the NES Classic Mini, I award it four and one half starts and recommend you put down the Xbox or PlayStation remote and go back to the world of 8–bit…who knows, you might gain a new found respect for the old games of yore.

—Kevin Magnus