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New 'Punch-Out!' a knock out

June 2, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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A recent study suggests that these days more people are playing video games than going to the movies. The report conducted by the NPD Group states that in the past six months 64 percent of Americans have played a video game and consumers spend one-third of their entertainment dollars on video games while only 53 percent have gone to see a movie.

Punch OutNo hardcore gamer is surprised by any of this for when it comes to customer satisfaction or value for money spent, the video game industry has stolen the spotlight away from the bloated movie biz that've taken the hit and run approach to making a profit. It is all about making that big splash at the weekend box office, pocketing the money and then moving on to the next Big Thing. A very shortsighted business model to be sure.

On the other hand, video game developers and producers have far more patience, respect their audience and know how to do things just that much better. Take remakes for example. Unlike the gaming industry that thrives on new innovations, concepts and ideas, Hollywood would rather churn out another dreary, uninspired remake than risk money on a fresh story.

Punch OutModernizing or remaking classic games has grown to become a key component of the video game business. The difference is the developers really do respect the source material as opposed to the filmmakers who are just looking to make some quick and easy cash. 'Punch-Out!!", the classic boxing game, is the latest to be reborn as a next-gen title. Inspired by the previous console versions, 'Punch-Out!!' features the kooky opponents we love to hate but this time with much more personality to them because of the amusing video intros and in-ring animations. Glass Joe still shivers and quivers. Great Tiger's taunting laughter will have you clenching your fists as well as your teeth while King Hippo remains perpetually famished. Disco Kid and a secret but familiar Nintendo regular are the few new faces you get to batter.

Oh, and let's not forget 'Bear Hugger' from Salmon Arm, B.C., the overall-wearing, maple syrup-guzzling Canadian. It is a pleasure to pound him into a flabby pulp. Yes, it is.

'Punch-Out!!' makes full use of the Wii's control capabilities. Players can pick from three modes of play. The simplest is using the Wii-Mote turned sideways. With the buttons and control pad in play, the drawback is there is no interactivity with the Wii. Connecting the Nunchuck with the Wii-Mote you can play 'Punch-Out!!' as you would Wii Sports Boxing. Taking things one step further, if you have the Wii Balance Board, you can use it to dodge and duck.

Punch OutWhichever way you choose, the gameplay remains as simple as the original. The arsenal of punches is limited but effective. Jabs, hooks and your charged 'Star Power' punches are your pugilistic weapons of choice in the ring but if you miss or are blocked too many times, you will have to dodge an attack to gain your offensive skills back. You have just three rounds to put your rival away and if you don't, the referee will decide the winner of the bout, so it is best not to leave things to chance.

The strategy component that makes the franchise so addictive has not changed in this remake. Each boxer has their own unique attack patterns and special moves and it is up to you to study them closely, figure out where the weaknesses are and how to exploit them. You are not limited to brutalizing the A.I. either. You can take on friends in Head-to-Head mode and fight for your career in 'Last Stand' where you cannot lose three matches or you will be forced to retire.

Punch Out'Punch-Out!!' for the Wii doesn't have many new bells and whistles and that's because it just doesn't need any. The original formula is simple and with such a gratifying blueprint there was no need to turn 'Punch-Out!!' into something it was never meant to be. Hollywood could learn a lot from a release like 'Punch-Out!!' such as how to produce products that actually resonate with their audience or how to know exactly what their customers want by listening to them. Until then, a bout between the two entertainment titans will always end up with the film industry kissing the canvass and counting its teeth afterwards.

'Punch-Out!' Hints

1. By pressing "-", you can regain health between rounds but you can only do this once per fight.
2. You can stop a KO by pressing 1 and 2 over and over when the cut scene starts. If you are successful, you will get back up and continue the fight.
3. You can regain health when your opponent is knocked down by tapping the 1 and 2 buttons until they get back on their feet.



Format: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site:

Rating: 9 / 10


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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see