Knock out: Infendo reviews Punch-Out for Wii

Infendo

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To mix things up, Star Punches return to the game, only this time they are more of a focus. When activating a star punch, blue lights appear, the screen goes dark, and Little Mac crouches in slow motion before unleashing a brutal uppercut to the chin of an opponent. In most cases, the receiver will offer a pathetic “uh oh,” right before taking a hit. It’s a stunning effect, similar to the devastating power kicks found in Super Mario Strikers, another choice Wii game made by Next Level. Additionally, star punches can be strung together for a total of three to render greater damage.

I could be on crack, but I also appreciate the ability to tap (or shake) the controller to recharge your health after an opponent has fallen to the ground. This might of been in the original, but I don’t remember. In any case, it offers some much needed help during more challenging fighters.

Punch-Out might not look like much in still form. But in animated motion, it’s beautiful. Everything from the menus to the flashing of cameras among a silhouette crowd has been polished. Character models are huge, almost begging to be hit by your green gloves. When a bigger opponent like Bald Bull comes at you and successfully lands a take down punch, he’ll engulf the entire 16 x 9 aspect ratio, as if punching you personally. It’s an impressive effect, one that makes you never want to take another hit like that as long as you play.

I also like the quick-in game cut scenes. For example, when you knock out Glass Joe for the first time, he just doesn’t wobble to the mat like he did in the first game. He will literally take flight after you deliver the final punch. In slow motion, his whip-lashed head enters the frame as french bread and croissants fill the air (note: Glass Joe is from France). It’s hilariously cinematic, and adds to the character and personality of each fighter. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for more suitable, lively, and “fun” graphics. The cell-shading is simply gorgeous in motion.

On top of this, Punch-Out offers several things that turns an otherwise basic game into a highly repayable one. After beating all 13 characters to obtain the “World Circuit” belt, you’ll have to defend your title against the same opponents with new strengths, new accessories, and fewer exploits. The second time around, even Glass Joe will make you think twice. I can only imagine how difficult Super Macho Man might be, that is if I ever encounter him for a second time. What’s more, there is a nifty exhibition mode that, while sounding boring, is actually a lot of fun. When playing a beaten opponent in exhibition, you’ll have three specific challenges to complete, such as knocking out your opponent in one minute or less, landing every punch, or in Von Kaiser’s case, beat him with only five punches. No kidding.