"Punch-Out!!, known originally as Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, and later re-released as Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream is a boxing video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) developed and published by Nintendo in 1987. It is a port of both the Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!! arcade games (mostly the latter) with some variations. It has consistently been ranked among the best games released for the NES platform.
October, 1987 (North America)
November 21, 1987 (Japan)
December 15, 1987 (EU)
Genyo Takeda, who produced the Punch-Out!! arcade games, directed the NES versions. Because the NES was not as powerful as the arcade hardware, Takeda and his crew realized that it would be impossible for the NES port to faithfully emulate the arcade graphics. Instead of making the playable boxer wire-framed or transparent to see an opponent, they decided to shrink the playable boxer, so that players could easily see opponents over his head. Though the arcade's playable boxer didn't have an official name, he was referred to as "Little Mac", because of his small stature and the "Mac" part being a play on the popular McDonald's meal, the Big Mac. Other things added to the NES version that the arcade versions lacked were a rough plot, a background music track played during fights, animated cutscenes and a password system for saving progress.
Around the time the Gold Version was released, Nintendo of America's founder and former president Minoru Arakawa attended a boxing match featuring Mike Tyson. While watching the boxer fight, Arakawa became so astonished with the athlete's "power and skill", he was reportedly inspired to use the athlete's name and likeness in the upcoming port of the Punch-Out!! series to help the game sell.
Punch-Out!! features a boxer named Little Mac working his way up the professional boxing circuits, facing a series of colorful, fictional boxers, leading to a final fight with real-life boxer, the then-World Heavyweight Champion, which is Mike Tyson in the original version and Mr. Dream in the later version. The game requires good reflexes in reaction to the computer-controlled boxers' moves, as the more advanced boxers give very little indication of their coming moves. However, Punch-Out!! can be mastered by learning the computer-controlled boxers' consistent patterns.
Little Mac has a limited repertoire compared to most of his opponents. His punches are limited to left and right jabs, left and right body blows, and a powerful uppercut. The uppercut can only be used once the player earns a star, which is typically accomplished by counter-punching the opponent directly before or after certain attacks are launched. The player can acquire up to three stars. To perform the powerful uppercut the player needs to simply press the start button once a star is received. For defensive techniques, Mac can dodge left or right, duck, and block attacks.
Little Mac also has a heart meter, which decreases by three upon being struck by an opponent and one upon blocking an attack or an opponent blocking the player's attack. When the heart meter decreases to zero, Little Mac temporarily turns pink and appears exhausted, leaving the player unable to attack, but still able to defend. At this point, Mac can regain some hearts (and his normal color palette) only by avoiding the opponent's punches.
A bout can end by knockout (KO), if a fighter is unable to get up within 10 seconds after being knocked down; by technical knockout (TKO), if a fighter is knocked down three times in one round; or by decision, if the bout lasts three full rounds without a clear winner. In order to win by decision, the player must accumulate a high enough point total by punching the opponent and/or knocking him down. However, some bouts cannot be won in this manner.
When Little Mac loses his first bout, the opponent will offer a rematch. However if he loses a Title Bout, he will be ranked down (sometimes more than one place in the rankings.) On his second loss (if the loss was a rematch), he drops one place in the rankings (unless he is already at the bottom of his circuit) and must fight his way back up. A third loss (not necessarily a consecutive one) ends the game. The exception is the final fight against Mike Tyson/Mr. Dream; a loss to them automatically results in a game over.
Source: Wikipedia, "Punch-Out!!_(NES)," available under the CC-BY-SA License.