6 – MR. SANDMAN
Two of Punch-Out’s cast got promotions when we got the sequel for Wii, and Mr. Sandman’s made the most sense. His no-nonsense style would normally be a hindrance in a game like Punch-Out, but he’s build like a brick house and his attacks are devastating without being Tyson-level unfair. With Tyson a terrible choice and Mr. Dream forgotten by history, Mr. Sandman was the best non-simian final boss for Punch-Out Wii.
5 – LITTLE MAC
If you had to rank these characters by their in-ring look, a stringy little Brooklyn kid who wears a tank top in the ring would probably rank dead-last. However, Mac’s fighting is unparalleled, as he’s the only fighter who thinks to move out of the way of attacks, and his super punch makes for some kickass KOs. That, and his sweet pink pullover hoodie make Mac a winner.
4 – SODA POPINKSI
Yes, Popinski’s biggest claim to fame was stripped from the NES release as the former Vodka Drunkinski became a cola enthusiast instead of a lush. However, I’d posit that the change made Popinksi a BETTER character in the end. His finesse-based fighting style doesn’t seem to click well with drunkenness, and his reddish skin does a better job showcasing his Ruskie ties than a bottle of clear alcohol. Popinksi has the perfect balance between tough moves and beatable counters to make him one of Punch-Out’s most satistfying fights.
3 – KING HIPPO
King Hippo is the other upgraded character in Punch-Out Wii, as the already-memorable character was promoted to a champion in the two-decade-plus interim. But King Hippo’s debut is already worthy of praise as his singular style (he’s the only opponent to not share a body type with another fighter), and until you figure out his pattern, he can be devastating. Sure, he’s a pushover once you know his secret, but his unique visual and fighting style make Hippo one of Punch-Out’s king of the ring.
2 – GREAT TIGER
Yes, Great Tiger may have some of Punch-Out’s most egregious stereotypes, but he’s also the only NES Punch-Out character to use FUCKING MAGIC in his moveset. His Tiger Punch attack is not only the coolest move in the game, it also preps you to learn that proper timing can lead to a flash knockout. Honestly, while Little Mac was a fine addition to the Smash Bros. roster, it’s a little odd that the guy with teleportation abilities didn’t make the cut.
1 – BALD BULL
Bald Bull has the perfect Punch-Out balance. He’s got a memorable visual style without treading too heavily on stereotypes (at least to the best of my never-visited-Turkey ass knowledge) and he’s intimidating as all fuck while still retaining a cool fighting style (I wish I could do BB’s little arm rolls before throwing a punch). Where Bald Bull becomes Punch-Out’s REAL champion is the Bull Rush, which is the personification of Punch-Out’s crazy boxing spectacle. And heck, even after thirty years, it’ll still catch me off-guard every once in awhile.
Who’s your favorite original Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out character and why? Sound off in the comments below!
Listen to your favorite Laser Time hosts discuss Punch-Out in a recent episode of Thirty Twenty Ten, embedded below!