Punch-Out!! (NES)

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The front packaging of the re-release.
Developer(s) Nintendo R&D3[1]
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Genyo Takeda
Producer(s) Minoru Arakawa
Designer(s) Kazuo Yoneyama
Mayumi Hirota
Programmer(s) Masato Hatakeyama
Artist(s) Makoto Wada
Composer(s) Yukio Kaneoka
Akito Nakatsuka
Kenji Yamamoto
Series Punch-Out!!
Platform(s) NES/Famicom, PlayChoice-10, Virtual Console
Release NES/Famicom
Gold Version
  • JP: September 18, 1987
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
  • NA: October 18, 1987
  • JP: November 21, 1987
  • PAL: December 15, 1987
  • NA: August 2, 1990
  • EU: August 15, 1990
Virtual Console
  • PAL: March 30, 2007
  • JP: April 3, 2007
  • NA: April 16, 2007
Nintendo 3DS
Virtual Console
  • JP: February 1, 2012
  • PAL: March 1, 2012
  • NA: March 8, 2012
Wii U
Virtual Console
  • NA: March 20, 2013
  • PAL: March 20, 2013
  • JP: June 5, 2013
Genre(s) Sports, Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player

Punch-Out!! (パンチアウト!!, Panchiauto!!), originally released as Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, is a boxing sports fighting video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) developed and published by Nintendo in 1987. Part of the Punch-Out!! series, it is a port of both the Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!! arcade games with some variations.


Genyo Takeda produced the Punch-Out!! arcade games and directed the NES versions. Because the NES was not as powerful as the arcade hardware, Takeda and his crew realized that it would be impossible for the NES port to faithfully emulate the arcade graphics. Instead of making the playable boxer wire-framed or transparent in order to see an opponent, they decided to make the playable boxer more short-bodied, so that players could easily see opponents over the large head room of the playable boxer. Other things added to the NES version that the arcade versions lacked were a rough plot, a background music track played during fights, animated cutscenes and a password system for saving progress.

Around the time the Gold Version was released, Nintendo of America's founder and former president Minoru Arakawa attended a boxing match featuring future heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. While watching the boxer fight, Arakawa became so astonished with the athlete's "power and skill", he was inspired to use the athlete's name and likeness in the upcoming port of the Punch-Out!! series to help the game sell well.[2] Tyson was rumored to have been paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. This was something of a risk for Nintendo, as it occurred before Tyson won the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship from Trevor Berbick on November 22, 1986.[3]


A screenshot depicting Punch-Out!!'s gameplay. In it, Little Mac has punched at the right time to defend himself against Bald Bull's "Bull Charge", instantly knocking him down.

Punch-Out!! features a boxer known as Little Mac, fighting his way up through ranks of the World Video Boxing Association. After facing a series of colorful fictional opponents in three circuits, the goal is to win a final "Dream Fight" against a highly skilled boxer – the real-life Mike Tyson, then-World Heavyweight Champion, in the original release; or the fictional Mr. Dream in the later version.

Little Mac has a limited repertoire compared to most of his opponents. His punches are limited to left and right jabs, left and right body blows, and a powerful uppercut. The uppercut can only be used once the player earns a star, which is typically accomplished by counter-punching the opponent directly before or after certain attacks are launched. The player can acquire up to three stars. To perform the uppercut, the player needs to press the start button once a star is earned. To defend, Mac can dodge left or right, duck, and block punches by putting up his guard.

Little Mac also has a heart counter, which decreases upon being hit, blocking a punch, or throwing a punch that the opponent dodges or blocks. When the counter decreases to zero, Little Mac temporarily turns pink and appears exhausted, leaving the player unable to attack but still able to dodge, duck, and block. At this point, Mac can regain some hearts (and his normal color palette) only by avoiding the opponent's punches. He immediately loses all of his hearts upon being knocked down, but can regain some by getting up.

A bout can end by knockout (KO), if a fighter is unable to get up within ten seconds after being knocked down; by technical knockout (TKO), if a fighter is knocked down three times in one round; or by decision, if the bout lasts three full rounds without a clear winner. In order to win by decision, the player must accumulate higher than a certain point total by punching the opponent and/or knocking him down; the needed total varies from one boxer to the next. However, some bouts cannot be won in this manner and will automatically result in a loss for the player if the opponent is not knocked out. Mac can only get up three times during any one bout; if he is knocked down a fourth cumulative time, he will be unable to rise and thus lose by knockout.

When Mac loses his first bout to a ranked opponent, he will have a chance to fight a rematch. However, if he loses a Title Bout, he will fall in the rankings – one place for the Minor or Major Circuits, two places for the World Circuit. Losing a rematch causes him to fall one place (unless he is already at the bottom of his circuit), forcing him to fight his way back up. A third loss (not necessarily a consecutive one), or a loss in the Dream Fight, ends the game.


Little Mac faces a total of 14 opponents: three in the Minor Circuit, four in the Major Circuit, six in the World Circuit, and Tyson/Mr. Dream. However, three of the World Circuit bouts involve previously defeated opponents with new moves.

Except for King Hippo, every opponent character sprite is used twice during the game, with a change of head image, colors, and special moves.

In addition, Mario makes a cameo appearance as the referee.

These characters include:

  • Glass Joe - A wimp from Paris, France. First fought in the Minor Circuit.
  • Von Kaiser - An ex-military officer from Berlin, Germany. He is the second opponent in the Minor Circuit.
  • Piston Honda - An experienced boxer from Japan. He is champion of the Minor Circuit and if hit when his eyebrows go up and down the player earns a star.
  • Don Flamenco - He was a bull fighter from Spain before becoming a boxer. Don is the first fighter from the Major Circuit and the first fighter to need a strategy involving his taunts.
  • King Hippo - An overweight fighter from Hippo Island, South Pacific. He can only be hit whilst his hand goes way up in the air. Hippo is a Major Circuit Boxer.
  • Great Tiger - An Indian boxer that knows how to teleport. He can be quite difficult to defeat as his moves can be hard to understand.
  • Bald Bull - Bald Bull is a fighter from Istanbul, Turkey and has his own signature move. He will charge at you to KD (knock down) you in one punch but can be prevented with a body blow. He is champion of the Major circuit.

Other versions[edit]

Gold Version[edit]

Before the release of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! in North America, Nintendo released the game in a gold-colored Famicom cartridge simply titled Punch-Out!! in Japan, without Mike Tyson in it, as a prize for the Golf U.S. Course Famicom Tournament in September 1987.[4] The final opponent in this version was Super Macho Man, who was also the final opponent in the Super Punch-Out!! arcade game.

When Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! sold well in North America, Nintendo later released the Mike Tyson version in Japan.[5]


After Nintendo's license to use Mike Tyson as a special Punch-Out!! character expired, it replaced Tyson with a fictional character called Mr. Dream and re-released the game for the NES as simply Punch-Out!! in limited quantities in North America in August 1990[6] and in Europe in 1991.[7]

Despite its short run as a NES cartridge, this is the version used in all Virtual Console releases, Animal Crossing, and the NES Classic Edition.

Other releases[edit]

In Animal Crossing for the Nintendo GameCube, it is one of the rarer unlockable NES games that can be obtained within the game.

Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream was released on Wii's Virtual Console service on March 30, 2007 in Europe and Australia, on April 3, 2007 in Japan, and on April 16, 2007 in North America; it was released on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console service on February 1, 2012 in Japan, on March 1, 2012 in Europe and Australia, and on March 8, 2012 in North America; it was released on the Wii U's Virtual Console service in North America, Europe, and Australia on March 20, 2013, and in Japan on June 5, 2013.


Review scores
AllGame4.5/5 stars[8]

Punch-Out!! has mainly been well received by critics. A GameSpot reader poll ranked it as the 6th greatest NES game. It was rated the 17th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.[11] In August 2008, Nintendo Power listed it as the sixth best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, praising it for putting arcade-style fun over realism.[12] Author Steve L. Kent called it the second major game of 1987.[3] Author Nathan Lockard cited the graphics, violence, controls, and the variety of its being a "true classic" and one of the best NES games.[13] GamesRadar ranked it the 11th best NES game ever made. The staff called it a "brilliant puzzle game [disguised] as a sports game."[14] Punch-Out!! sold in excess of 2 million copies.[15] Game Informer ranked the Mike Tyson version as its 14th favorite game ever in 2001. The staff noted that no boxing game since Punch-Out has been as "beloved."[16]

Other appearances[edit]

Punch-Out!! was featured in the comic books of Valiant's Nintendo Comics System. Three stories are based around Little Mac, Doc Louis, and other boxers from the NES version and Mac briefly appears in the comic that introduces the story of Captain N: The Game Master. Mac doesn't appear in the Captain N stories himself; however, King Hippo is featured as a villain. Also, in the opening sequence of the Captain N TV series, the protagonist Kevin Keene was seen playing Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! before being forced into a vortex that formed in his television's screen.[17]

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Little Mac appears as a regular Trophy and an Assist Trophy. In the same game, the music from the Manhattan skyline scene in Punch-Out!! can be heard in the song titled "Famicom Medley." In the Wii game titled Captain Rainbow, Little Mac appears as a supporting character. Little Mac makes his debut as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Punch-Out!! made an appearance on The Tonight Show on October 29, 2014. Mike Tyson, being one of the guests that night, was challenged by the host, Jimmy Fallon. He was asked to defeat himself in the game on live TV. The real Mike Tyson was defeated in the first round and lost by TKO.

The training sequence is referenced in the Family Guy episode "A Fistful of Meg" by Meg running behind Quagmire, who is riding the bike.

Power Punch II[edit]

After the release of Punch-Out!!, Krome Studios Melbourne began developing an official sequel starring Mike Tyson with manager Don King. Originally titled Mike Tyson’s Intergalactic Power Punch, the game was supposed to take the series into outer space where Tyson would participate in an intergalactic boxing tournament against various space aliens.

The game's production ran into immediate trouble, however, following Tyson's 1991 incarceration for the rape of Desiree Washington. Beam changed the Tyson character's name to Mark Tyler and modified King but did little to change Tyson's in-game character sprite.

Nintendo saw the game and disliked it, refusing to publish it due to lack of quality. Eventually, ASC Games published the title, and the game was released on the NES as Power Punch II, despite the fact that it was the first Power Punch title.


  1. ^ "Investigating a Glove Interface". Iwata Asks: Punch-Out!!. Nintendo of America, Inc. 13 September 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Profile: Minoru Arakawa". N-Sider. 2003-01-02. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  3. ^ a b The ultimate history of video games ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2010-06-16. ISBN 9780307560872. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  4. ^ 賞品版パンチアウト (in Japanese). Archived from the original on September 12, 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  5. ^ "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!". Famicom World. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  6. ^ "Bulletin Board – Nintendo Classics Reissued!". Nintendo Power (18): 96. November–December 1990.
  7. ^ "NES Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!". nindb. Kontek.net. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  8. ^ Hoffman, Joshua. "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! – Overview". Allgame. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  9. ^ Navarro, Alex. "Punch-Out!! Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  10. ^ Gen4, issue 7 (December 1988), pages 24-25
  11. ^ "NP Top 200", Nintendo Power, 200, pp. 58–66, February 2006
  12. ^ "Nintendo Power - The 20th Anniversary Issue!" (Magazine). Nintendo Power. 231 (231). San Francisco, California: Future US. August 2008: 71.
  13. ^ The good, the bad, and the bogus ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1994-09-01. ISBN 9781881583042. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  14. ^ "Best NES Games of all time". GamesRadar. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  15. ^ Game over: how Nintendo zapped an ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1993. ISBN 9780679404699. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  16. ^ Cork, Jeff (2009-11-16). "Game Informer's Top 100 Games of All Time (Circa Issue 100)". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  17. ^ "The Unofficial Captain N Home Page". Ldloveszh.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-07-11.

External links[edit]