|First game||Super Punch-Out!! (1984)|
|Designed by||Makoto Wada (Punch-Out!! 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!! 2009)
|Voiced by||Sumit Seru (Punch-Out!! 2009/2013)|
Great Tiger (グレート・タイガー Gurēto Taigā?) is a fictional character in the Nintendo-produced Punch-Out!! video game series. He first appeared in the arcade game Super Punch-Out!! in 1984. Great Tiger is an Indian boxer from Mumbai. He utilizes several Indian stereotypes, typically ones depicting Indians as mystical, such as the ability to use magic carpets and teleporting. The character has been featured in multiple pieces of merchandise and has received mostly positive reception.
Concept and appearances
Great Tiger is a 29 year old Indian boxer hailing from Mumbai. He first appeared in Super Punch-Out!! for the arcades, and again in Punch-Out!! for the NES, where he was designed by Makoto Wada. He would not appear in a video game again until 22 years later in Punch-Out!! for the Wii, where he was designed by Eddie Viser and voiced by Sumit Seru. While he spoke in English in the NES version, he speaks in Sanskrit with no subtitles in the Wii version. He has been featured in multiple pieces of Punch-Out!!-related merchandise, including a series of Topps trading cards and a series of action figures.
The NES and Wii games depict him as having mystical powers. In the first game, he can become intangible and spin around the ring at high speeds while punching Little Mac--the so-called "Magic Punch." However, if Little Mac succeeds in blocking this barrage, the spinning leaves Great Tiger dizzy, and he can be sent to the mat with one punch to the face. The Wii Punch-Out!! gives him the ability to fly on magic carpets and teleportation. He wears a turban on his head adorned with a jewel that indicates when he is going to attack. He also wears tiger-print pants. In the NES version, he has the skin of a Bengal tiger sitting in his corner of the ring. These have all been referred to as stereotypes of Indian people.
Great Tiger has received mostly positive reception. Both Official Nintendo Magazine and GameSpot described him one of fan favourite characters of the Punch-Out!! series. Sarcastic Gamer Havok Saunders editor called Great Tiger one of his personal favourites of the series, stating that Nintendo had sold him on the Wii Punch-Out!! by adding him. GamePro listed him as one of the eight characters they wanted to return in the Wii Punch-Out!!, stating that "may not be the most PC character from the original NES classic, but his crazy techniques will fit in well with the outlandish style Next Level Games has been known to apply." Great Tiger's turban that "light[s] up like a Christmas tree before he throws a punch" was listed by GamePro as the 10th best headwear in video games.
Operation Sports editor Christian McLeod described him as one of the toughest opponents in the game, noting him as even more difficult than the champion of the World Circuit, Mr. Sandman. IGN described him as a memorable foe, owing to his "teleporting punches;" IGN editor Jesse Schedeen listed Great Tiger as one of the ten top fighters of Punch-Out!!, stating that his powers took a more "supernatural bent." MTV's Jason Cipriano and Jasen Bowen of The Daily Sentinel both noted the high difficulty of the fights against Great Tiger; The Globe and Mail editor Chad Sapieha stated that the roster of fighters in Punch-Out!! "would send chills down the spine of any potential pugilist," describing Great Tiger as a "mystical Indian who can vanish in a puff of smoke, making him nearly impossible to hit."
Humor magazine The Onion published a series of interviews with Mike Tyson and other Punch-Out!! characters where the author suggests that a part of this documentary included a clip of Tyson blocking Great Tiger's "Magic Punch." In a humour article, ESPN created several parodies of Punch-Out!! characters based on real-life "punch-worthy palookas", including one of Great Tiger called "Great Packer", in reference to Brett Favre.
Great Tiger has been described as a stereotype of Indian people. The Escapist writer Sumantra Lahiri, in discussing the stereotypes of Punch-Out!!, stated that it gives players an "encyclopedic knowledge of ignorant American sentiments" (even as the Punch Out series comes from Japan, not the United States), mentioning the Indian stereotype that they skin tigers alive and wear turbans. In his article on the stereotypes of Punch-Out!!, GamesRadar editor Brett Elston stated that Great Tiger embodies several Indian stereotypes, including the ability to fly on magic carpets, living in Taj Mahal-like structures, and wear turbans that grant them magical powers. He described him as an "over-caffeinated Jafar, adding that he "plays up in the mystical side of Indian culture so much we’re surprised they didn’t work in a snake charmer joke in there somewhere." Crispy Gamer editor Scott Jones wrote that in 2009, "fighting a man from India who flies around on a magic carpet and who telegraphs his punches via a glowing jewel in his turban doesn't feel terribly dramatic." Bitmob editor Brian Shirk commented that while Great Tiger looked more human than King Hippo, he still "doesn't seem quite human judging by the animal sounds he makes and his teleportation abilities."
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