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Punch-Out!! Trivia Knocks You Out

Von Kaiser Have you stepped back into the ring as Little Mac yet?  Nintendo's classic Punch-Out!! franchise is back, this time for the Nintendo Wii.  Last week I brought you up to speed on the history of the series that has brought us such bombastic personalities as Von Kaiser, King Hippo, and Soda Popinski, but today it's time for a little Punch-Out!! trivia lesson courtesy of PTB reader Guy Perfect.  He sent in some interesting minutiae about the series that intrigued me enough that I just have to share it with you.  There are spoilers for the new Wii game beyond this point.

  • The Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!! arcade games are both basically identical with different opponents (and you can duck in the second one). Many of the fighters made their debut here, though Kid Quick and Pizza Pasta (both from the first one) were never seen again. The arcade games are more similar to the SNES game than the NES one: always a three-knockdown rule, and a power bar that goes up as you hit the opponent in place of stars and hearts.

  • Gabby Jay from SNES Super Punch-Out!! is a clone of Glass Joe from arcade Punch-Out!!, complete with jumping back and taunting "Come on!" Jay was supposedly Joe's student at one time, and Joe is the only opponent Jay ever defeated.

  • When dealt a certain number of consecutive jabs to the face in Super Punch-Out!! (SNES), fighters go into a dizzied state that usually leaves them open to any kind of attack. An exception is final boss Nick Bruiser, who steps to the back of the ring to regain his composure then steps back into the fight. The exact moment he starts walking back, you can fire up an uppercut that will knock him down if you time it right. There has been, like, one time in recorded history when this somehow managed to KO Nick after his first bar of Stamina, leading to a record time of less than 7 seconds.

  • Soda Popinksi was originally named Vodka Drunkenski, though Nintendo of America's home marketing team prohibits any references to alcohol. The Wii version of this character was made with the Soda name in mind.

  • Super Macho Man was originally the final boss in the NES game. The producer presumably watched a boxing match with Mike Tyson before the official release of the game, then decided to include him as a special boss at the end. Once Tyson's contract expired, the character was renamed as Mr. Dream.

  • The Mr. Dream version of the game exists in Japan, but never did on the Famicom. It's the version they got in Animal Crossing, Virtual Console and the like.

  • Narcis Prince is named for Narcissus, a mythological character who was in love with his own image.

  • Bear Hugger's Bear Hug attack was an automatic knockdown in the arcade game.

  • The arcade games had a toothy-grin Donkey Kong on the far edges of the screen in the audience. DK's audience membership is honored in the Wii version: he's a bit left-of-center in the crowd behind the ring in the World Circuit background.  He doesn't appear in the crowd while you're actually fighting him.

  • The Sandman is a mythological character who gives children good dreams by sprinkling sand on their eyes as they sleep. Punch-Out!! character Mr. Sandman uses this name as a way of saying he's going to put you to sleep. He has various bedtime-related taunts in Super Punch-Out!! and the Wii title.

  • Heiki Kagero from the SNES was intended as a replacement for Great Tiger from the arcade game. Ironically enough, in the arcade games, Great Tiger was a replacement for Piston Hurricane, who wound up in the SNES game.

  • Bald Bull and Super Macho Man are tied for most frequent appearances: each has been in every game except for one of the arcade games. Bald Bull was not in the arcade Super Punch-Out!!, and Super Macho Man was not in the arcade Punch-Out!!.

  • King Hippo is too fat to try and get back up once you knock him down.

  • Bear Hugger (up until the Wii game) and Mad Clown are so fat they can't be hurt by body blows. Jabs and uppercuts are the only way to defeat them.

  • Doc Louis almost tells Little Mac to join the Nintendo Fun Club in the Wii game. This is a reference to the NES game, where Doc suggested players do so if they need help with the game. Otherwise, Doc tells Mac to join Club Nintendo, which is the current iteration of the Nintendo subscription service.

  • Pointing the cursor at Little Mac on the main menu of the Wii game entices him to interact with it.

It amazes me how a seemingly simple game like Punch-Out!! can have so many small details and interesting aspects.  At face value it's just about knocking the other guy out, but the experience really goes much deeper than that if examined closely.