VIDEO GAMES: Dave P$ goes one on one in his review of Punch Out! for the Wii.

mike-tyson-punch-outIt’s been twenty-two years since the initial release of Punch Out for the original Nintendo. This brought forth what could be called the first rhythm game. I still remember sitting down to play the game for the first time and all the hours that I had put into it. With its simple controls (simple A+B combos) and addictive game-play, Punch Out would quickly become one of the most memorable video games of the 1980s. It’s successor, Super Punch Out for the Super NES, would come out seven years later in 1994. It was virtually the same video game with updated graphics and some new fighters. I guess you could argue that if it isn’t broke why fix it?

Lets forward the clocks to 2009. The Nintendo Wii has been out for three years and I think I’ve learned something. Wii Sports is probably the best sports simulator for the Wii… even if it isn’t an actual sports simulator. I’m serious. I just don’t get it. Why? WHY? WHHHHY?

This is the case for the 2009 Wii version of Punch Out. If you went into this situation like I did, you thought that this would be a boxing game with good motion controls, be prepared to be disappointed. Now this could my fault because I tend to expect much from Nintendo…God forbid. It’s not that it’s a bad game, but it’s nothing new. You’ve already played it.

Lets start with the negatives and work our way to the positives.

GAMEPLAY: (way to start the negatives)

The developers of the game blessed us with three ways of playing. First off you can play with the Wii-remote and nun-chuck This is complete with the obvious punching motions to send your opponent flying towards the mat. I put the word punching in italics since, like some Wii games, you do not need to actually throw punches. A simple flick of the wrist will do… but why? Why Nintendo? Why are you still doing this three years into this generation? It was acceptable to the majority of us in 2006. We realized that you simply replaced button mashing with wagging the remote violently. Some of us didn’t want to believe that… but I digress. That was fine back in 2006. It’s 2009. Let’s get our sh*t together. Oh yeah, if you want to throw head punches you simply move the thumb stick on the nun-chuck to the “up” position while moving it left and right to dodge respectfully.

The second way is adding the optional Wii balance board to complete the the full body experience. You can use it to dodge left, right, and down. Sounds awesome, right? Well… it’s not as cool as you would think. Again, it’s the same problem as stated above. Some of you may have played some sort of shooter at the arcade that allows you to duck and dodge by moving your body accordingly. The balance board tries to replicate that. It sort of fails. By sort of fails I mean it’s horrible. If you lean to the right you will move to the right. That’s fine… when it works. I found myself having to put all of my weight on one foot if I wanted Little Mac to dodge. Again, there may be a good reason as to why… maybe the reason could be sensitivity issues! Yeah! That HAS to be it. The solution to that could be a sensitivity adjuster of some sort. Call me crazy… or ignorant. If you want to play with the balance board I would say go for it, but be prepared to spend some hours mastering it. It doesn’t seem feasible to use it against later opponents since your reaction time needs to be at its’ peak.

The third and easiest way of playing is the “classic style”. By that I mean using the remote sideways like a regular controler. You use 1 and 2 to punch while using the D-pad to duck, dodge, and make head shots. It’s the easiest because when I finally got around to playing this way I almost beat the game. I flew through it. Reaction times in the game are better when your pressing a button. To the purest this is a big welcome. As Craig Harris of IGN put it: “the way it was meant to be played! As Austin once put it: That’s bullsh*t. Now I’m not saying that it wasn’t fun playing that way. It was really fun…. but I’m not spending fifty dollars on a game that I can play for five. If I wanted that experience I could simply download the original for five bucks or Super Punch-Out for eight.

My final thought on the gameplay is that while it is not bad… it is not what it should be. You will lose often, but when you finally get that win it will feel worth it. If you can’t stomach losing then you may want to look past this game. You may also want to grow a pair. 😉

GRAPHICS:

The cartoon style is back in 2009 and it looks great! The graphics are simply top-notch which is something that I have grown accustom to by anything published by Nintendo. It runs at a wonderful sixty frames per second and it shows. The animations are fluid and the facial expressions really show the attitudes of the fighters. I couldn’t help but laugh at the way the fighters moved, talked, and took beatings. When they were in pain they acted accordingly. I loved it!

SOUND

There really isn’t too much to say about the sound. It’s great. Each song is an updated remix of the original. What is nice is that you can still hear the reminiscence of the original themes from twenty years ago. Again, if it’s not broke, why fix it. At the same time, they are not too memorable. The voice acting is wonderful and goofy. Each character speaks in their native tongue and shout taunts at you during the fight. This is very apparent when they knock you down. For those of you that can’t play fighters because you cry when you lose, this addition may infuriate you. Get past it. For those of you that can stomach losing and enjoy getting revenge (plus getting better), you should enjoy their taunts. I cracked up every time… I lost often :’-(

MULTIPLAYER:


Oh Nintendo. My GOD Nintendo. I know that when you first started out gamers were stuck in their basements playing with themselves all day. I’m sure they were playing Super Mario Brothers too. Unfortunately for you that isn’t the case these days. (Kind of). We now have the internet which can connect players around the world. Did… did you not notice?

Sarcasm aside, the multi-player is not what it should be. You can go head to head with a friend in local multi-player which is the same basic gameplay but with another person. The only difference is that the punches are a little off. The characters tend to wind up for a hit before striking. This gives the action a significant slow down. Wii Sports was more exciting than this. After striking enough hits on your friend or girlfriend you turn into GIGAMAC!!! Exciting, kind of. Your punches then inflict more damage and you become almost invulnerable. I found that while this mode is fun, you may have a better multi-player experience with other games… like Wii-Sports. There is also no internet playability. So, if you’re like me, you’re playing with yourself. Metriod 3 had more interaction over the internet than this game. I don’t know why they didn’t have death-match or capture the flag with Metriod 3. Why Nintendo? Metriod 3 would be amazing with its… moving on.

WILL YOU COME BACK?:

This is where the game is a bit different from its’ predecessors. If you beat the game you have the option of going back and fighting the same fighters over again but they will have different fighting abilities and defences. A quick example is King Hippo. The way to knock him out initially is to punch his stomach. You do that enough times he will fall down… just like the last game. Which again… if it isn’t broke don’t fix it… we could just go ahead and break it… maybe. Anyways, the second time through he will put body… er… stomach armor on. You’ll just have to change your tactics. There is also an exhibition mode where you have to achieve specific goals in each fight. This will make you pull your hair out. But lets face it, games are incredibly easy today so it’s nice to see these modes. You’ll put in a lot of hours.

CONCLUSION

While not a perfect game, Punch Out for the Wii would be a wonderful addition to any Wii-owners library. At the same time it is not worth fifty dollars. Now to be fair, I can’t think of any Nintendo game that’s worth fifty bucks outside the obvious Mario or Zelda title. (Thank you casual gamers). I would wait until it comes down in price.

You’ve played this game before. They added one new boxer which means you really only need to learn how to beat one new boxer. Try playing with the motion controls, including the balance board for intense difficulty. You know, the way they wanted you to play it.

REVIEW:

Gameplay: You’ll pull your hair out using the motion controls especially if you use the balance board. Unfortunately it plays better using the classic method. A big no-no on the Wii.

Graphics: Wonderful. The animations are terrific and every character comes to life.

Sound: Songs are wonderful yet not memorable. Punches hit with a certain POW!

Multiplayer: Sub-par. Controls lag a bit plus gigabows…gigamac is sort of goofy. No internet playability.

Will you come back?: Lots of things to do after you first beat the game. There are new exhibition modes and the difficulty increases. You’ll pump some hours into this.

Punch Out for the Wii gets a 3… out of 5. (oh X-Play)

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