Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is 30 years old and we’re ranking every one of the original NES game’s dozen brawlers!
This year, the greatest sports game of all-time (Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out), turns 30 years old. And the reason it’s so good? It’s not really a sports game at all. Sure, it’s about the sweet science of boxing, but it’s really a boss rush featuring crazy characters (Cuphead says hello). We go nuts discussing all the ways we love Punch-Out in a recent Thirty Twenty Ten, which you can listen to below!
To that end, even though the game presents a specific order of fighters, everyone has their own personal favorites. Through the dozens of playthroughs I’ve made (I even get past Soda Popinski sometimes), I’ve selected my personal order of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out’s pugilists. ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEXT BATTLE?!
DISHONORABLE MENTION – MR. DREAM
Fuck off, dude. It ain’t your anniversary, and I’ll instinctively reset my NES Classic before fighting your boring mayo-on-white-bread ass.
12 – VON KAISER
In a world of comic-book characters, Von Kaiser is too ordinary to stand out. He’s German and has a silly moustache, but his move lack any real flair and he’s only slightly more imposing than Glass Joe. Without the notoriety of being your first oppoinent, Von Kaiser is the pits..
11 – DON FLAMENCO
If anyone ever jokes that Glass Joe is the easiest fighter in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, you know they haven’t discovered the trick to Don Flamenco, who is the easiest win once you discover that alternating punches after Flamenco wildly counter-attacks will put DF down without any additional trouble. At least Glass Joe has a small chance to actualy connect! Don does get a nod for his dancing and the rose-in-mouth entrance, but everything else about this Latin Lover isn’t very likable.
10 – MIKE TYSON
Mike Tyson as a person is kind of shitty. For every Adult Swim cartoon and Hangover cameo, there’s rape allegations and threatening to eat Evander Holyfield’s children (when he wasn’t eating Holyfield’s ear). But aside from all that (and keeping in mind that his palette swap Mr. Dream would rank lower), Mike Tyson is kind of a crappy character. He lacks the cartoonish nature of fake fighter counterparts and his style is more cheap than clever, since early attacks are all but impossible.
9 – GLASS JOE
Glass Joe has a few things going for him. He’s the first dude you ever fight, and he’s such a punching bag that it’s actually fun to thrash the dweeb. However, as a kid it was tough to parse why Glass Joe was presented as a Frenchman when he exhibited few physical qualities (where’s the beret and souvenir Eiffel Tower?), so he didn’t quite fit the parade of stereotypes to follow. Also, while I’m a fan of puns, Glass Joe manages to be equally obtuse and obvious.
8 – SUPER MACHO MAN
If Super Macho Man wasn’t the penultimate fighter in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, he’d be much higher on the list. However, he’s the third of four big bruisers closing out the game and he doesn’t have the personality of Popinksi, the imposing nature of Sandman, and the name of Mike Tyson. Additionally, I thought this guy was going to be a mutated version of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, so seeing a beach bum instead was a bit of a letdown.
7 – PISTON HONDA
As far as lame stereotypes go, Piston Honda’s Engrish fight dialogue might be the game’s worst, but the upside is that PH is one of the most badass-looking fighters in Punch-Out. He’s the first BIG fighter you come across, and his headband makes him look like a mixture between the Karate Kid and Ray Jackson from Bloodsport. His moves aren’t spectatular, but he mixes things up enough to be Punch-Out’s first real challenge.
Little Mac, King Hippo, and Punch-Out’s lone practitioner of magic await you on the next page!