For many who happened to be navigating their childhood between the years 1987 and 1991, plugging away at an original Nintendo after a quick trip to Blockbuster for a game rental was the pinnacle of Friday night entertainment. Diligently munching on a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut while doing so was just icing on the cake. And at the forefront of this sacred pastime was Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.
While 35 years may have passed since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out was officially released to the public, few activities in the present day are able to deliver quite as much joy or nostalgia despite the obvious advances in gaming technology.
The History of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out was released to the public in 1987 and was based on Nintendo’s 1984 Punch Out arcade game. After Nintendo’s license with Mike Tyson expired in 1990, the game was recreated and re-released as Punch-Out!! with Mike Tyson being replaced with the fictional character title Mr. Dream. Still though, the game’s re-release never held quite the same grandeur as the Mike Tyson version.
Chances are good that you’re no longer in possession of your original Nintendo console (you can grab one here) or the Mike Tyson’s Punch Out game cartridge (here) and if you do, It likely doesn’t work. They’re still attainable on the secondary market in used condition if you look in the right places, but you’ll still be required to blow hard into the Nintendo console and the gaming cartridge just to get everything to work properly. A more portable option featuring the Punch Out version with Mr. Dream in lieu of Mike Tyson can be had here.
Every Character From Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
All 14 characters Little Mac must fight, from beginning to end. The Journey is long, so make sure you have plenty of pizza and beer on hand.
Signature Move: Taunt Punch
Glass Joe is the first and weakest opponent Mac faces in the game. He’ll wait forever before even attempting his first punch, so he makes a good first opponent for warming up your fingers before tackling some of the more difficult fighters. After he steps back to taunt you, a well-timed punch knocks him down and results in a KO.
Signature Move: Right Uppercut
Von Kaiser is Little Mac’s second opponent on the minor circuit. Although relatively easy to defeat for most newcomers and seasoned players alike, he is still quicker than Glass Joe and delivers several more complicated punches. Counter his right uppercut with a left punch to obtain power stars. Counter any following uppercuts and throw a star punch while he is stunned.
Signature Move: Banzai Rush
Piston Honda is the minor circuit champion and quite a bit more difficult than Von Kaiser for new players. To instantly knock Piston to the mat, counter his infamous Banzai Rush with a jab or body punch. You can also star punch him whenever there is a “4” on the clock counter. If successful at beating him, Little Mac must fight a much more aggressive version of Piston Honda in the world circuit.
Signature Move: Tango Uppercut
Don Flamenco is the first fighter little Mac meets in the major circuit, and one of the last simple opponents he faces from here on (save for the second fight against him in the major circuit.) Flamenco is essentially a one trick pony who throws a massive yet easy to read uppercut any time you throw a punch at him. After dodging one of these uppercuts, alternate left and right blows to his head until he’s knocked down. Any star punch knocks him down immediately.
Signature Move: Hippo Rush
King Hippo is large, intimidating, and impervious to any punches Little Mac throws at him, until he opens his mouth. After throwing a few jabs, King Hippo will open his mouth, raises his fist, and throw a powerful overhead punch. While his mouth is open, punch him in the mouth and then in the X-shaped bandaid on his stomach to make his pants fall down. Repeat the gut punches until he hits the canvas. Once he’s down, he’ll stay down.
Signature Move: Teleporting Tiger Punch
Great Tiger is a formidable opponent that requires patience and timing to beat. His jabs, luckily, are telegraphed via the jewel on his turban which will blink before he punches. The difficulty lies in defending his teleporting tiger punch, a series of quick jabs as he flies around the ring. Once you block these, a simple punch to the face takes him to the mat. Star punches can be easily obtained by timed gut punches while he winds up his uppercuts.
Signature Move: Bull Charge
Big hooks, even bigger uppercuts, and his infamous bull charge make Bald Bull one of, if not the most intimidating player in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. His hits typically knock Little Mac down to the mat instantly. After he sets up for his bull charge, a well-timed punch to the stomach before he throws an uppercut sends him to the mat. You can’t KO him, but proper bull charge management and a series of left and right punches to the face following his uppercuts will score you an eventual TKO.
Signature Move: Supercharged Banzai Rush
On the world circuit, Little Mac goes head to head with a more aggressive, much more difficult Piston Honda who not only has a better defense, but a meaner version of the Banzai Rush. It’s not unheard of to go multiple rounds with the second Piston Honda due to his more refined defense, but a quick, well-timed punch while he sets up the Bonzai Rush results in a much-deserved KO.
Signature Move: Triple Jab
Originally named Vodka Drunkenski in the original 1984 arcade game, Soda Popinski is fairly easy to beat by dodging his uppercuts and counterpunching, although his jabs can be rather sporadic and difficult to read. Star punches typically knock him to the canvas, although he tends to dodge star punches regularly. His punches hit hard as well. A landed uppercut will immediately take away 25 percent of Little Mac’s health.
Signature Move: Bull Charge
For many kids growing up in the Nintendo heyday, the second iteration of Bald Bull was a sticking point, taking some months or years to defeat him. For many others, he was the fighter who eventually led them to put down the controller never to return. He’s extremely difficult (even for Peter Griffin.) Beating him takes time and practice, as he can only be knocked down by an extremely well-timed uppercut or a precise hit during his bull charge.
Signature Move: Counter Uppercut
Spaniard Don Flamenco returns to the ring in the world circuit, this time adding some quick hooks and jabs to the mix, along with a better defense. You’ll be lucky to TKO him in the first round, but finishing him is likely in the second. As long as your fingers remain quick (which they should be nice and warmed up by this time) you’ll have no problem advancing the next fighter. Just keep using the same tactics as you would in the first fight against him as mentioned above.
Signature Move: Dreamland Express
There is no easy way to tackle Mr. Sandman and victory is futile for everyone except for true Punch Out aficionados. Mr. Sandman’s series of seemingly never ending jabs is almost as difficult to navigate as his famous Dreamland Express, which consists of three extremely quick and powerful uppercuts in a row. The best strategy here is body punches following his series of rolling jabs while dodging his extensive repertoire of punches. Rinse and repeat until he either hits the mat or you give up.
Super Macho Man
Signature Move: Clothesline Punch
Onto the world circuit champion, the legendary Super Macho Man, a fighter similar to Soda Popinski with stronger, faster, and more frequent punches that, if landed, send Little Mac straight to the mat. The most difficult part about this fight is timing his punches, especially his Super Clothesline Punch, in which he throws a hook multiple times in a row. If you can manage to contain him in three rounds and TKO him, you’ve earned the right to participate in the dream fight with the legend himself.
Signature Move: Uppercut
Good luck. For the first 90 seconds, Mike Tyson throws an unpredictable series of uppercuts that send Little Mac straight to the canvas. A couple of these hits and Little Mac won’t even get up. If you can dodge these for a minute and a half, he will begin delivering an assortment of less deadly yet unpredictable jabs. When Tyson starts blinking his eyes before a series of punches, gain a star punch by delivering a quick blow to his head.
Notable Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out Cheat Codes
- Mike Tyson 007 373 5963
- Don Flamenco 005 737 5423
- Piston Honda (second) 032 730 8442
- Super Macho Man 940 861 8538
- View Credits 106 113 0120, hold Select and press A+B
- World Circuit 777 807 3454