11 March 2017 | zkonedog
All About Nostalgia (And That's Okay...For Now)
As a "child gamer" growing up in the hey-day of the NES gaming console, the "Punch-Out!" video game for that system defined a large portion of my life. Whether it was the initial struggles to beat such wimps as Glass Joe and King Hippo, the battles with Magic Tiger, Piston Honda II, and Bald Bull, or the epic confrontations with Mr. Sandman, Super Macho Man, and Tyson/Dream, that game provided (and still provides) me with hours of entertainment.
Strangely, though, after the "knockout" (pun very much intended!) success of that original title, the franchise quickly stagnated and came crashing to a halt. Sure, a sequel was released on the Super Nintendo system, but it wasn't able to capture the charm of the original. Then, throughout the life of the '64 and Gamecube Nintendo systems, rumors would always pop up from time to time about a new Punch-Out game, but would quickly fall into the void. So, when a new installment was finally released on the remarkably popular Wii console, old-school gamers rejoiced at the notion of being able to dust off Little Mac's gloves and pink jogging suit to take on the animated bad guys once again.
The game itself, judging by the nostalgia factor, does not disappoint. As Little Mac, you must fight your way through roughly the same gauntlet of cartoon pugilists as you did in the NES version, with a few SNES baddies speckled in between. In keeping with the kid-friendly style of the Wii, the opponents are even more over the top than ever, although they keep (with a few changes) to their original styles of fighting from the NES. Going through them one by one was a blast, as much reliving the "good old days" of the NES as anything, and the only "complaint" I had was in the difficulty arc. The first time through (although keep in mind that I can routinely beat Tyson/Dream in the original version), I only struggled with a few fighters. However, in the amped-up difficulty mode, I lost my first title defense to the headgear-sporting Glass Joe. Call me a wimp, but suffice it to say that I won't be completing that last mode.
Thus, I really have to call the new "Punch-Out!" game a hit in terms of bringing back the audience from two decades ago. Yet, for so-called "Punch-Out experts" like myself, it left me just a little bit wanting in terms of another sequel. The walk down memory lane was terrific, but now I would love something new. Perhaps in this day and age of political correctness video games can't portray a drunk Russian (Soda Popinski) or a wimpy Frenchman (Glass Joe), but I would go over the moon for a new lineup of "lovable" (until you're on the mat, of course) enemies to figure out. This game was a good start, so let's hope Nintendo gives us something fresh the next time around.