Super Punch-Out!! - Throwback Thursday
Sometimes we human beings just get want to hit something.
I’m not saying that this is a good impulse, and I’m not saying it’s an impulse that I encourage in anyone. Ever. However, some days are hard; some decisions are wrong. Some people are frustrating. And the impulse to hit back is a strong one, and it is something that requires an outlet. Many outlets, such as actually hitting someone, are unhealthy.
That being said, perhaps one of the greatest contributions of video games to human beings in the last century was the fact that they provided an outlet for that impulse. True, that for some, the opportunity to digitally unleash anger and rage can lead to something destructive, but for many folks, all that’s rally necessary is a release that many games provide.
I believe that more than any other game for the SNES, or the classic mini that was recently released in September, Super Punch-Out!! provides gamers a chance for that release. Frankly, the game caters to that impulse, and I daresay provokes and indulges it. Super Punch-Out!! is not very sophisticated; but it is a lot of fun, and I do think there something to be said for that.
The gameplay is relatively tight, and the controls are easy to master with a bit of practice. One can utilize a variety of punches in a variety of combinations in order to pass the games’ various opponents, and I will say that there is a very true satisfaction in developing a combo that actually works and levels your opponent in the single barrage (or two).
Of course, for the most part, your enemies don’t have any real level of artificial intelligence. They attack you in a series and or system of punches, and once those are memorized they can be dispatched fairly quickly. The characters such as Dragon Chan (who utilizes kicking at one point in his sequence) can feel like completely unpredictable and insurmountable opponent the first time you play them; however, once you learn the pattern in which the attacks come, your foes mostly becomes far less of a threat. So far this has allowed me to get through the Minor and Major Circuits, but I’m still having my challenges on the global front. But given the enemies that came previously, I think it’s only a matter of time before I can work my way through them.
The strength of the characters certainly isn’t their boxing but their personalities. Super Punch-Out!! boasts wonderful cartoon characters that react in a very cartoonish way, which alleviates any guilt one might have about embracing that impulse to hit something that I described earlier. And make no mistake, these are fun colorful characters. While the original’s notorious Tyson himself is not part of the mix, staples of the game such as Bald Bull and Gabby Jay have certainly had their impact on gaming culture.
Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of Rocky, but Super Punch-Out!! just works for me. At the end of the day, the title offers gamers quite a bit, and I really can’t pinpoint one facet I love about this game more than anything else. Super Punch Out is a solid title in the SNES canon, and it has an astonishing amount lot of replay value. My guess is that it’s the combination of colorful personalities and straightforward gameplay that make players crave another round every so often despite the fact that once you understand your opponents, you basically just get to clobber them for fun.
But hey, isn’t the reason you would put in the game in the first place?