Let's keep it clean! Now come out boxing!Punch-Out!! debuted in 1983 as a dual-screen arcade game produced by Nintendo. It was a boxing game where the player fought for a world title against a series of quirky opponents, consisting of various national stereotypes ranging from comically outdated to fairly offensive, such as Glass Joe, Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, Bear Hugger, Dragon Chan, Vodka Drukenskinote Renamed Soda Popinski in home console versions, Great Tiger, and Super Macho Man. It was followed by a sequel, Super Punch-Out!!, released in 1984. A spinoff game titled Arm Wrestling (an arm wrestling game) was also released in 1985.The series made its home console debut on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Originally released in Japan as a gold cartridge given away exclusively to certain Grand Prize Winners of the Famicom Golf: U.S. Course Tournament, this new version of Punch-Out!! featured most of the classic boxers, as well as newcomers such as Von Kaiser, Don Flamenco, and King Hippo, Mario in a cameo as the Referee, and two new protagonists in Little Mac and his trainer Doc Louis. The final opponent was Super Macho Man.After then-Nintendo of America CEO Minoru Arakawa saw Mike Tyson at a boxing match, the decision was made to capitalize on his then growing popularity, by releasing the game publicly worldwide under the name Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, in which the final opponent was the infamous real-life champ himself. The 1990 reissue of the game (available in the first Animal Crossing game as well as on the Wii and Nintendo 3DSVirtual Consoles instead of the Mike Tyson version), reverting back to the original Punch-Out!! name, replaced him with a fictional champ named "Mr. Dream" (actually a white head swap of Tyson, more reminiscent of Rocky Balboa). Many people assume that this stems from Tyson being convicted of rape, causing Nintendo to ditch him, but since Tyson was dropped from the game a year before he was arrested on the rape charges, this is clearly not the case. In reality, Nintendo's contract with Tyson expired, and since Tyson was no longer the heavyweight champion of the world having lost the title earlier to Buster Douglas, Nintendo opted not to renew the contract (since Sega signed a licensing deal to use Buster's likeness in a pair of boxing games for the Master System and Genesis in order to spite Nintendo).A second console installment was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994 titled Super Punch-Out!! (unrelated to the earlier arcade game, but closer to it gameplay-wise), which brought back characters from the first NES game (as well as the arcade installments), while introducing new ones.Fifteen years later, a Wii version of Punch-Out!! was released in 2009, developed by Next Level Games (of Super Mario Strikers fame), and features a dramatically more difficult "title defense" mode and the series' first ever 2-player mode.A WiiWare stand alone game titled Doc Louis' Punch Out!! is an exclusive download for platinum Club Nintendo members where players take control of Little Mac once again and fight against his mentor, Doc Louis. Released around the last week of October 2009, players spar with Doc Louis in training sessions, so the game could be a prequel to the Wii version. Doc Louis can also use the Star Punch technique like Little Mac can due to Doc being the inventor of the technique.
This series features examples of:
Acrofatic: Mad Clown in Super Punch-Out!!, who will retreat by doing a few backflips.
- Doc Louis:"That's great kid, you won! But you look a bit tired out there. Isn't it past your bedtime?"
Attack Its Weak Point: Hit King Hippo in the mouth when he opens it to get his pants to drop. Then hit his stomach repeatedly when his hands drop down to pull his trunks back up. Repeat until you've depleted his meter once. He won't get back up.
Hitting opponents at certain windows of vulnerability is how you're supposed to pull off the One Hit Kills mentioned below.
Bear Hugger is so overweight that hitting him in the stomach doesn't do squat, so he has to be hit on the head. However, in the arcade and SNES Super Punch-Out!!, if the player waits a second, Bear Hugger will taunt the player, making Bear Hugger's belly vulnerable enough to stun him. In Title Defense mode in the Wii game, he wears a hat that makes doing so harder, so Little Mac has to wait for him to take it off to be able to do much damage.
Ax-Crazy: Aran Ryan in the Wii version. Mr. Sandman in Punch-Out!! Wii may also qualify, as he punches an entire building to rubble out of anger from having the WVBA title taken from him by Little Mac.
From the same game, Bald Bull, his contender movie shows him chasing his fans for no appearance reason, and his victory sequence in Title Defense Mode has him chase the referee.
The Wii version's Don Flamenco really doesn't like having his hair being touched.
Mostly because he has a toupee which comes off after he suffers 2 knockdowns and takes enough damage afterward. (Just like he did in the NES version.)
The Wii version's Soda Popinski will get very angry if you punch out his...er..."soda" bottles.note But you can actually uppercut him if you delay it ever so slightly. He also gets equally pissed if you knock him down or manage to land a star punch on him.note Which if you managed to get a star from doing that, only by landing an uppercut right after he finishes drinking, you can land an uppercut on him before he even does the first one.
Doc Louis gets his own berserk button in his WiiWare game. If you manage to punch out his chocolate bar during the fight, he gets angry and tears his jacket off, revealing a jaguar-patterned shirt and starts attacking much faster. If you manage to knock more of his candy out of his hands, he gets even faster!
Bilingual Bonus: Most non-Anglophone challengers' dialogues in the Wii version are voiced in their native (foreign) language.
In fact, the only one who doesn't speak a real language is King Hippo, and that's probably only because his home country is fictional as well. Granted, he doesn't appear to speak any kind of language, period. He mostly just grunts and roars, not unlike a hippo.
Baleful Polymorph: A game mechanic in the multiplayer mode in the Wii version. When the other player flashes blue, landing a hit on the opponent fills your Giga Juice meter. Should the meter become full, the player's Little Mac character transforms into Giga Mac, a taller, more muscular version of Little Mac, and the camera angle shifts behind the non transformed Little Mac, mimicking how fights look in single player. Giga Mac hits a lot harder than Little Mac, but he is prone to being stunned, allowing the other player to combo him, which is also what you do in single player.
Bowdlerization: Changing the Russian boxer's name and his drink of choice from Vodka Drunkenski to Soda Popinski. Even worse, his between round dialog ("I can't drive, so tonight I'm gonna walk all over you!", etc.) clearly makes references to alcohol as his drink of choice. This carries over into the Wii version, as one of his between-round taunts translates to "I am Soda Popinski! I will run over you!"
Boss Game: If we consider each individual boxer as a boss with its own patterns.
Von Kaiser even more so, having been beaten up by his own pupils and cowering behind his gloves whenever he gets hit with a star punch. At least Joe takes his beating like a man. It's especially humiliating when you consider that Kaiser's pupils are children. In the NES game Kaiser is much bolder and more confident; Glass Joe, on the other hand, is afraid of you, and constantly talks about how he just wants to retire, yet he still doesn't cower from you.
The referee himself in the Wii version, mostly noticeable if you lose to someone in Title Defense mode. Bald Bull will literally chase the referee around and headbutt him like a bull. Mr. Sandman lifts the referee up with just one arm.
Cane Fu: Well it's more of a staff but Hoy Quarlow uses his with gusto.
Canon Discontinuity: A sequel for the NES was developed under the name Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch and released as Power Punch 2, where the player takes the role of Mike Tyson lookalike Mark Tyler as he sets out to punch a variety of aliens in their faces. Unfortunately, when Nintendo saw what a terrible mess the game had become, they pulled the plug on the project, and a third-party publisher decided to release the game instead. For more information, see this video.
Captain Ersatz: Mac is definitely based on Rocky Balboa. Hell, his miniscule size may be a jab at Sylvester Stallone's below average height.
Captain Ethnic: It's easier to count how many Punch-Out characters aren't fairly blatant ethnic and/or national stereotypes. The addition of language appropriate voices and mid-match cutscenes in the Wii version only makes it even more obvious. Most non-American boxers also tend to come from the capital of their home country, with the obvious exceptions of Bear Hugger (who comes from Salmon Arm, BC, deep in the Canadian southern interior) and Bald Bull (who comes from Turkey's biggest city — Istanbul — instead of Ankara, the actual capital).
Catchphrase: The boxer in the SNES game (whose identity is subject to Flip Flop of God) is fond of saying "Piece of cake!" when he KOs his opponent without being knocked down.
Celebrity Is Overrated: In Title Defense Super Macho Man's cutscene, Little Mac is clearly shown as uncomfortable around the paparazzi, which is probably one of the things that influences his decision to retire early in the end. Super Macho Man himself realizes this after you lose to him. Almost.
Character Development: Arguably, in the rematches in the Wii version, basically, most of the fighters seem to try to rectify mistakes that got them beaten, and try to remove blind spots.
Characterization Marches On: Aran Ryan was an unassuming, generic opponent in Super Punch-Out. Then they brought him up to the Wii version. And made him completely insane.
Not only that, he's a dirty fighter, bringing good luck horseshoes into the ring (within the knuckles of his gloves) and eventually making a boxing glove whip, which is as ironic as anything when you consider that he was one of the few boxers in Super Punch-Out who generally fought clean, as his gimmick in that game (clinching) is common in Real Life boxing, though Wikipedia's article on boxing says it is "technically against the rules" (though it obviously isn't as ridiculous as what Aran Ryan does in the Wii game); however, Wikipedia continues saying that professional boxing (which the WVBA presumably is) rarely deducts points for it.
Kid Quick probably would have applied to this assuming his name was kept the same in the transition to the Wii title (he is now Disco Kid). It's quite possible his new characterization was the reason for the name change, assuming he can still be considered the same character at this point.
Bear Hugger seems to have a more mellow personality in the Wii game. In the SNES game, he introduced himself as "a killer," but in the Wii game he says he's "a hugger, not a fighter." In addition, the Wii game's portrayal of him as being fond of wildlife hardly fits how he described himself in the SNES game.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Some of the training methods the opponents put themselves through for their rematch in Title Defense mode qualify. Piston Hondo's is the most prominent example. In it, he...
Combat Pragmatist: Masked Muscle from the SNES game, who includes headbutts and spitting in your face in his boxing repertoire. Aran Ryan takes on this role for the Wii version, complete with headbutts, elbow shots, and even uses horseshoes in his gloves and swinging weighted boxing gloves.
Don Flamenco in the world circuit rematch in the NES game, who will constantly force you to punch at him as he just stands there blocking until you're tired and unable to hit him back when he unloads on you.
Continuity Nod: Title Defense Sandman in the Wii game is a clear throwback to Mike Tyson with his new haircut and his winking attack.
Also, during the breaks between rounds against King Hippo, sometimes Doc Louis suggests to Little Mac to take Hippo out to lunch after the fight. This was something Hippo said to Mac in one of the intermissions in the NES game ("I feel like eating... after the fight, it's time for lunch!").
Also from the breaks, Dr. Louis will suggest you give Hondo a "TKO from Tokyo", one of his taunts from the original.
"Join The Nintendo Fun... I mean, Club Nintendo today, Mac!"
Bear Hugger's special Knock Out animation involves spinning on his toes and landing in a sitting position, much like his knock-out animation in the previous games.
One of the comments Doc Louis can give about Bald Bull is that if Mac can't beat him at boxing, he should try arm wrestling, a refference to his special apparition in said game.
Controllable Helplessness: Depending on how you get knocked down, Mac won't stand up no matter how much you mash the buttons, but the game's "Get Up!" message still flashes as you try.
Even more so with Don Flamenco, who uses many dance moves in his attack patterns.
The SNES version has Bob Charlie and Heike Kagero.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: Arguably, how Little Mac fights, along with being a Fragile Speedster. While most of the other fighters have moves that deal roughly a forth of Macs health bar, Mac uses a flurry of jabs and uppercuts to whittle down his opponents health.
Death or Glory Attack: Bald Bull's Bull Charge attack. If it hits you, you're kissing the canvas. But if you can hit him at just the right moment, he goes down. Nick Bruiser has very similar attack that's harder to counter.
Averted in his Title Defense match on the Wii version. If you counter his Bull Charge, it seems like he'll go down... only for him to stay up and laugh in your face. It will still deal him quite a bit of damage, but it's no longer an instant knockdown.
Most of the fighters have a specialty move that will knock you down if they nail you with it but which will allow you to knock them down if you can either counter it or dodge/block it and hit them afterwards (depending on the opponent).
Defeating the Undefeatable: The last opponents in all the console version of Punch-Out. Not only are they literally undefeated, but they are usually made out to be flat out unstoppable. The final opponent in Punch-Out Wii's Contender mode, Mr. Sandman, explicitly invokes this, by having his slideshow show every single opponent you've faced previously getting overwhelmingly waylaid in order.
Determinator: In the Wii Version, it's an actual GAME MECHANIC for Little Mac to occasionally come back from sure defeat with one final burst of strength if you're doing reasonably well in the fight. Really cool when it happens, and even cooler to come back and WIN when it happens.
Glass Joe, moreso in the Wii Version.
Also, Gabby Jay from Super Punch-Out!!
I'll never retire! I can win at least once more. Come on!
Disc One Final Dungeon: World Circuit in the SNES and Wii versions. In the SNES version, there is a fourth circuit unlockable by having an official 4-0 record on the other three circuits. In the Wii version, gaining the WVBA title is only half of the work! Also, World S Circuit in Title Defense mode for the Wii, as Mac still has to keep fighting until the end in Last Stand.
Disc One Final Boss: Super Macho Man in the SNES version; Mr. Sandman in the Wii version, in both circuits.
Downer Ending: In the Wii version, in a reference to the NES version, Little Mac will literally "give up and retire" after losing "Mac's Last Stand" three times. Doc Louis then reminisces about the time he spent training Mac. Worse yet, there's nothing you can do about it; this occurs canonically, which means that it will eventually happen, even to the best of players. There's even a cutscene leading up to it, and the game explicitly warns of this certainty just before starting this mode of play.
The ending becomes a lot more upbeat when you get it after beating the secret Final Boss Donkey Kong, in that context giving Doc even more reason to be proud of Mac.
It's easy to argue that this is more of a Bittersweet Ending: after working his way through the ranks and finally earning the championship, Mac gave all his defeated opponents the opportunity to train and try to take his title from him. When that failed, he literally has nowhere to go but down: he can never fight another fighter (unless someone new comes along, which hey, it's a video game, not likely) because his opponents are thoroughly shamed, or he can go out with style. Ultimately, he decides on the latter, and retires the same way he started, with a huge display of willpower and determination.
Eagleland: In the Wii game, BOTH types are present: Little Mac is Type 1 (young, scrapper, humble roots, works hard to get to the top and achieve his dream). Super Macho Man is Type 2 (rich, arrogant, self-absorbed, etc.).
Early-Installment Weirdness: The original gold cartridge version of the NES game featured a different song for the Title Bout, and no Dream Fight tune, as well as slightly different graphics and Engrish.
Evil Laugh: Mainly Great Tiger's. It really gets on your nerves after a while, to the point where you want to beat him just so you won't have to hear it anymore.
Soda Popinski's good old 8-bit guffaw, borrowed from Ganon, for when Little Mac is knocked down, and he doesn't stop laughing unless Mac gets back up. The Wii game gives him a more realistic-sounding laugh that fits this trope pretty well, and is used in the same manner as his laugh in the NES version.
In the NES game, Bald Bull (and Mr. Sandman) laughed like Soda Popinski when he won a match. The Wii game gives Bull a gruff "heh heh heh" laugh which in that game he has for whenever Little Mac is knocked down (though, unlike Soda Popinski, he doesn't wait until Little Mac gets back up to stop), regardless of whether he wins.
Extremity Extremist: Not surprisingly, in a boxing game most of the boxers fight with only their fists, but certain boxers subvert this trope by using weapons, items and other body parts to fight with. Hoy Quarlow is the worst at following the trope, as he barely punches at all.
Expy: Disco Kid, who is advertised as the only new character in the Wii installment, was designed to be an updated version of Kid Quick from the original arcade game. Piston Honda/Hondo from the NES game is also somewhat based on Piston Hurricane from the arcade game.
Gabby Jay in Super Punch-Out is a Glass Joe expy, right down to the country of origin, despite saying "Come on!" in a Southern United States drawl. (In fact, his only win in 100 fights came against Glass Joe.)
NES Punch Out: Depending on your version, Super Macho Man, Mike Tyson, or Mr. Dream.
SNES Super Punch Out: Super Macho Man, though there is a True Final Boss in Nick Bruiser.
Wii Punch Out: Mr. Sandman. Not. Really the third person you lose to in Mac's Last Stand.
Flexible Tourney Rules: It's a boxing federation... that includes "boxers" who use flying kicks (Dragon Chan), a quarterstaff (Hoy Quarlow), throwing weapons (Mad Clown's apples), his own hair (Heike Kagero), and more. Hell, even one of the more mundane fist fighters uses an elbow crush that would get him thrown out of any actual ring.
The Wii version's Title Defense mode is hard because of this. Realizing that his stomach is a weakness, King Hippo wears a manhole lid over it. They're even worse cheaters than before!
Wait until you see Aran Ryan's title defense move. It can't be legal in any ring whatsoever. He's made a boxing glove whip - and the glove has his lucky horseshoes in it too.
Even some of the more mundane attacks tend to go against most boxing convention and rules. Backhands, overhead punches, double hooks, etc. Even the Bull Charge probably goes against some kind of rule, despite being just a ludicrously powerful uppercut in the end.
Foreshadowing: Don Flamenco's intro has him punch a bull mid charge, guess what you need to do to stop Bald Bull's charge?
Four Is Death: One of the Exhibition challenges tasks you to defeat Japanese boxer Piston Hondo after blocking 44 jabs.
Fragile Speedster: Mac is definitely one. He's good at dodging, but it only takes three or four punches from any given opponent to knock him down.
Friend to All Living Things: Arguably, Bear Hugger in the Wii Version. His training and drinking partner is a bear, and in Title Defence he has a little squirrel in his hat, that he seems to have developed a rather strong bond with. It actually makes him one of the nicer fighters (he even describes himself as "a hugger, not a fighter, eh"), personality wise, when he isn't one-shotting you.
Part of this is due tomuscle memory. You're literally so jumpy and hair-triggery after surviving Mr. Sandman that Joe's laconic jabs, misleading body language and invulnerable head mess with your mind... watching yourself being outsmarted by Glass Joe is video game psychological manipulation of the very first order.
It is. A cutscene in Title Defense mode, though, shows that it's special soda made for him by scientists, which means while it may indeed be non-alcoholic, it'll probably be on all doping lists.
Gaiden Game: Nintendo's arcade game Arm Wrestling is in the same little universe as Punch-Out!!, and includes Bald Bull as a contender named Mask X.
Getting Crap Past the Radar One of Great Tiger's taunts in the Wii version is telling Little Mac to suck his mother's teat. In Hindi, of course.
Aside from "soda" "pop"inski, the name Aran Ryan is a play on ordering a "rye and air" (in other words, just rye).
The Giant: Plenty of fighters, but especially Bald Bull, Bear Hugger, and Mad Clown.
Soda Popinski and Mr. Sandman as well in the Wii version. Mr. Sandman in particular comes off massive enough that even when he slouches for a particular move, he's about as big as any other character in the game. Bald Bull is noticeably shorter that many of the later boxers in the Wii version, but no less muscular than he's always been.
Gretzky Has the Ball: In real boxing, Mac would be two or more weight classes below his in-game opponents, hence would never be allowed to fight them. (See Rule of Cool)
Well, most of them. Glass Joe would probably be in the same weight class as Mac.
Guide Dang It: Both Nintendo and Next Level claimed that players would be able to "intuitively" figure out to beat the opponents in the Wii version without having to use a guide. However, while this might be the case for some players, others may have a really hard time, especially in Title Defense mode and in "Mac's Last Stand". The biggest offender however, is the challenges in exhibition mode, as it's not immediately clear what you have to do to clear some of them. Without a guide, it could take hours, maybe even longer, to figure out how to clear some (if not most, or even all) of the challenges.
Head Swap: In the NES version, every character except King Hippo shared a character model with another boxer. Compare Von Kaiser with Great Tiger, for instance.
This happens in other Punch-Out games. The arcade games had Glass Joe/Kid Quick, Bald Bull/Mr. Sandman and Vodka Drunkenski/Super Macho Man (both of which appear in the NES game) and Piston Hurricane/Pizza Pasta/Great Tiger. The Super NES game had Bear Hugger/Mad Clown, Gabby Jay/Bob Charlie, Dragon Chan/Heike Kagero, and several others.
Hell even the Wii version has similar body models to one another; compare Bear Hugger / King Hippo (The only two overweight boxers) and Super Macho Man and Soda Popinski, very tall yet muscular speedo wearing contenders.
Heel: Aran Ryan puts horseshoes in his gloves and sabotages opponents. Super Macho Man knocks the ref over and showboats like there's no tomorrow. The crowd reacts to both of them like wrestling heels, booing whenever they do well and cheering like crazy when Mac takes them down.
Heroic Mime: Little Mac in the Wii version. His only speech appears to be grunts when he attacks or is hit/KOed or what have you, and happy laughs and whoops when he wins; the only actual word he ever says is, "Yeah!" That said, in the NES version, he seems to speak a bit more, asking Doc for help in between rounds.
Heroic Second Wind: Incorporated into the gameplay of the Wii title; after a few knockdowns, start mashing 1+ 2 (or shake like crazy) after being hit by a punch that would ordinarily KO Mac instantly. If you're lucky, Mac stops himself from hitting the canvas, and fights passing out just to give himself one... more... chance to win. Becomes this trope instead of merely Determinator (see "Determinator" above) if you manage to start thrashing your opponent immediately and easily after returning to the fight.
Hyperactive Metabolism: Doc Louis's remedy chocolate bars will instantly replenish his health if he manages to eat them. In fact, if Doc Louis eats one around Little Mac between rounds, Little Mac will replenish some health himself.
Jerkass: Many of the fighters in the game are massive jerks at the start, while some are just eccentric. However, if they best Little Mac in a bout, the jerk tendencies come immediately to the surface for each and every one of them.
Jobber: Glass Joe, your first opponent, has a 1-99 record (his one win once being jokingly called a fluke victory in a freak incident over Nick Bruiser, the final boss of Super Punch-Out. Or a fluke win over Von Kaiser; no one knows for sure, though the latter is more likely due to Nick's undefeated record). In Super Punch-Out, Gabby Jay has the same record... and his one win was Glass Joe. The Wii version returns Glass Joe to his place of "prominence".
Kaizo Trap: Aran Ryan, in Title Defense on the Wii version, will do one last desperate attack every time he's knocked down. However, the said attack can't actually knock you down regardless of how little life you have left, and star-punching him during the attack is a One-Hit KO.
Funnily enough, getting hit by this will not even kill you in Champion Mode where every hit knocks you down.
King Hippo is one of the earlier video game examples. He was completely immune to being knocked out until you figured out you were supposed to hit him in his gaping maw and then proceed for the rather obvious bandages.
Bear Hugger and Mad Clown, both fat boxers, are nearly immune to body blows. You have to punch them in the head to damage them. Punching them in the stomach results in a boing, and the boxer mocks you. If they taunt, their midsection is vulnerable, and hitting it will stun them.
Large Ham: In the Wii version, Super Macho Man is "gonna put on a show".
Von Kaiser's TD move is a windmilling wowser of a hit: it slams Mac horizontal before he actually falls to the canvas!
Long Song, Short Scene: The training music in the Wii version is chopped up to only 14 seconds or so due to the length of the videos, so all you ever hear is the introduction to the song. Until you think to stitch all the training montages together...
Lost Forever: The Minor and Major Circuit title fight themes are unavailable in any of the sound tests, meaning they can only be heard during King Hippo's and Don Flamenco's fights in Circuit mode, and are gone unless you start circuit mode over again.
Love to Hate: In-universe, Doc Louis says this about Aran Ryan as one of his intermission quotes.
Luck-Based Mission: In the Wii version, one of Mr. Sandman's Title Defense challenges requires you to come back from getting knocked out to win the match. This has a random chance of happening if you mash buttons as you are getting knocked out, and if it doesn't happen, you have to start the whole match over again.
Lucky Seven: In the Wii version, being Irish, Aran Ryan has some motifs with the seven, such as the number of hearts you have and when he's knocked down, he'll get back up when the ref counts to seven. He'll also take up to 7 punches when he's stunned, and the Contender and Title Defense mode challenges require you to land 7 star punches on him and defeat him on the 7th minute of the match, respectively. Even his stats contain 7s, in a sense.(He weighs 160 lb, and he's 6'1" tall.) Trust us, this guy has a LOT of 7s hidden within his fights.
Mask Power: Masked Muscle, as well as Bald Bull in his Mask X disguise.
Almost every character. Soda Popinski drinks a lot of Soda, King Hippo wears a crown and is roughly the size of a Hippo, Super Macho Man is... well, Super Macho, Bear Hugger's signature move is the Bear Hug, etc.
Megaton Punch: In the Wii version, Don Flamenco does this to a bull during his back story.
Mercy Mode: In the Wii release, lose 100 times during Career mode and you will be given damage-reducing headgear ... much like they did to Glass Joe after he took his 100th loss against you.
Mind Screw: In Super Punch Out, one of the top fastest times against champion Nick Bruiser is Glass Joe. Because of this, people are starting to say that Joe's one win was a fluke win against Nick before the Bruiser Bros. went pro.
Nintendo Hard: The series is well-known for this. The last few fights in the NES version (the very last one in particular) are the biggest example.
Champion Mode on the Wii version is hard enough to unlock: win 10 random defense fights before losing 3 in Mac's Last Stand. Should you fail, you literally need to create a new save file and climb up the ranks to try again. But you probably don't want it anyway; Champion Mode is an option you can enable in any exhibition fight that turns any attack on Mac into a One-Hit KO, and stops enemies from blinking red before they attack. Then again, should you do manage to unlock it, winning every fight in said mode is a Bragging Rights Reward.
Noblewoman's Laugh: Heike Kagero has a male example when he wins a fight, though he does look very feminine.
Nobody Touches the Hair: Don Flamenco has a battle quote telling you not to touch his hair. In the Wii version, it's a wig you can punch off him, which angers him. The NES version has the same thing, although you don't see him bald until the closeup on his face between rounds.
No Fair Cheating: Supposedly, if you used a Game Genie or Pro Action Replay with a Super Punch-Out career (or just plain lost any fight in the first three circuits), you could never access the fourth and final circuit for that career. Not sure if that still applies with emulated copies, though...
This definitely applies to SNES9x Game Genie codes, and likely to all emulators, as much as it did the console. An Emulator/Console Game Genie code now exists to reverse the disabling effect.
There isn't really a disabling effect. If you fail to finish the Minor, Major, or World Circuits with a perfect 4-0 record, you could just repeat the circuit until you got the needed 4-0.
No Name Given: There is absolutely nothing hinting as to who the boxer in the SNES Super Punch-Out!! was. Some erroneously refer to him as Little Mac, but otherwise there's absolutely nothing out there about the guy.
Word of God has declared that the Super Punch-Out!! fighter is Little Mac, after leaving Doc Louis and getting a makeover.
The green-haired fellow from the arcade games is only known by the player's initials.
Not So Different: All versions, depending on the player. If Little Mac can make it to the champion without a single loss, he'll get a chance to take on an opponent who boasts a very similar record. Unlike most of the other opponents, this one doesn't have much in the way of a gimmick; for the most part, they're just very good boxers. Much like Little Mac himself at this point.
Oh Crap: In the Wii version, fighters gain this expression just before you counter them with a signature uppercut, though Von Kaiser's is particularly noticeable.
Once per Episode: Every game in the series features a match against Bald Bull...with the exception of the arcade Super Punch-Out!!, although the developers made up for it by including Bull in Arm Wrestling.
One-Hit Kill: A staple of the series, for both you and opponents. The first and most well-known is from Bald Bull - if you get hit by his Bull Charge, you're going down. Conversely, if you throw a jab or uppercut at him just before he throws that punch, he gets knocked down (but not out) instantly. Bear Hugger (only in the second arcade game), Dragon Chan, Von Kaiser (only in the Wii version's Title Defense), Super Macho Man, Mike Tyson/Mr. Dream, and Rick and Nick Bruiser later continue the tradition.
In Super Punch-Out for the SNES, it is possible at some point to throw this in any fight. When you punch your enemy enough and in the right way, they will become dizzy and will come back and forth dazed. During this time, an observant player will notice the timer will stop twice. If the player unleashes a super punch and it lands on the enemy's face in the exact moment the timer comes back, no matter if it's Gabby Jay or Nick Bruiser: They are down for the count. If they come back somehow, this means you didn't land in the proper moment. (It still counts as a very damaging move and they will rarely come back with a full gauge.)
The Wii game continues on, not only by giving this to certain characters, but by an unlockable extra option in Exhibition Mode that can be Lost Forever if you screw up Mac's Last Stand, which turns any and all opponent's attacks into a One-Hit Kill. Yes, even Glass Joe.
With the exception of Aran Ryan's attack whenever he gets knocked-down in Title Defense.
Piston Honda's 2nd fight in the NES version (and Piston Hurricane in the SNES version) allows Mac to hit a literal one hit KO. Counter the Piston Rush with a left body blow and Honda will stay down nearly every time.
Mac himself can pull off One-Hit Kills on just about everyone in the Wii gamenote except Title Defense Super Macho Man, supposedly, whether it's a simple knockdown or a match-finishing knockout (In fact, it's necessary for the "Defeat Von Kaiser with 5 punches" challenge). Another example from the older games is that you can give a body blow to Glass Joe when he steps forward from his taunt which will instantly knock him down. This trick also got carried over into the Wii version.
In the NES game if the player punches Glass Joe at the right time after Joe gives his taunt it will be an instant KO. Since there's no reason to attack before the taunt (it's impossible to knock Joe down before it) this becomes a literal One-Hit KO.
Paint It Black: Don Flamenco and Mr. Sandman in the Wii game's Title Defense Mode.
Parts Unknown: The Bruiser Brothers, Rick and Nick. Also King Hippo, hailing from "Hippo Island."
Pec Flex: Super Macho Man in the NES and Wii versions. (In the former, he tends to do so when Little Mac is knocked down, much like Soda Popinski laughs in the same situation.) In the Wii version, he steps it up by flexing his glutes at you before the fight begins.
Also Frank Jr. in Arm Wrestling, who strikes a big ol' man-candy, arms-curled pose in a thong when you lose.
Produce Pelting: In Title Defense mode on the Wii, the crowd will pelt Aran Ryan with all sorts of garbage, to which he threatens the spectators. Super Macho Man also gets this treatment before the start of the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Puzzle Boss: King Hippo, who can only be hurt in the stomach, which he guards constantly unless punched in the mouth. More so in the Title Defense bout for the Wii version, where you have to knock off a manhole cover that he taped onto his stomach.
It is possible to hit his stomach without punching him in the mouth first. But it's not the best and easiest strategy.
The Wii game has several of these in addition to King Hippo. While none quite to his extent, you will likely not win (even by decision) unless you figure them out. For example, TD Glass Joe and his helmet, as well as Aran Ryan in both of his fights.
The developers have stated that, at heart, every single opponent in the game is this. They go so far as to say that Punch-Out!! is a puzzle game instead of a boxing game.
Railing Kill: In the Wii version, every time you knock out King Hippo, he staggers back, falls over the ring ropes and crashes onto the floor below. Just like in Real Life boxing, leaving the ring for any reason is a disqualification, and King Hippo is done the second it happens.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: A surprisingly not Color-Coded for Your Convenience example: The Bruiser Twins - Fiery red Rick with speed and overwhelming power on his side, and cruel blue Nick with the grim inevitability of a glacier (while lacking all the warmth) and, uh, even more overwhelming power on his.
Recurring Riff: Each boxer in the Wii version has their own version of the countdown and victory themes done in their same style as their Leitmotif.
Recycled INSPACE: The NES game's sequel was going to be Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch, but then Tyson's controversy erupted and the game was changed to drop all ties to the series as it is. Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES, which is not set in space, was the true sequel.
Shout-Out: Dragon Chan is a reference to both Bruce Lee (appearance) and Jackie Chan (name).
Both times you fight Mr. Sandman:
The first time around, he bears a resemblance to Muhammad Ali.
In Title Defense, it's clear he's supposed to be a Mike Tyson Expy.
TD Disco Kid appears to be channeling Richard Simmons.
In the NES version, Soda Popinski mentions that he's gonna "walk all over you", a reference to Nancy Sinatra's song, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".
When doing a blocked right uppercut, Don Flamenco shouts out, "Carmen, mi amor!" before executing this attack. This is a Spanish shout-out to his quote in the NES version: "Carmen, my love... I dance so sweet for you!"
Doc Louis makes a reference to Arm Wrestling when he asks Mac if he can beat Bald Bull at it. Bald Bull was in Arm Wrestling as an opponent.
One of Doc's taunts against Giga Mac is, "Come on, kid, you got to be smart out there again. What's your Brain Age again?" referencing another DS title.
On a simalar note this is what he also says against Giga Mac: "Don't worry son, we all know his Brain Age." Again, referencing another DS title.
If Aran Ryan knocks you down:
"Ya got cheeseburgers in those gloves, have ya Mac?!"
Something about a Rose: Don Flamenco carries one around before he enters the ring in both of his appearances. In Title Defense form in the Wii version, he carries a black rose instead of a red one, to show you that he means business.
Speed Run: There are videos of people defeating almost every boxer in Super Punch-Out in under ten seconds.
The Stoic: Nick Bruiser, the Final Boss from the SNES game. Hardly ever changes expression while fighting, even after being hit in the face. Only getting hit with a super punch will faze him.
Suddenly Voiced: Everyone but Little Mac and King Hippo in the Wii version, thanks to the addition of voice acting (Hippo just has inhuman grunts). Mac is voiced in the live-action commercials for the Wii game, but not in the (cel-shaded) game itself.
Mac has a few lines in Head-to-Head mode between rounds, but they don't always play.
Surprisingly Good Foreign Languages: Numerous foreign languages at that in the Wii game. Next Level Games didn't BS on the boxers' native languages, to the point that Great Tiger speaks Surprisingly Good Hindi. Most people wouldn't be able to even tell you what language they speak in India.
The Wii game was developed in Canada, which has the highest per-capita immigration rate in the world. At least in urban areas you can expect someone to know that, though probably not the two dozen or so other languages that are spoken regionally.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Wii version introduces Disco Kid, a character who is 210 pounds, like Kid Quick; has his home in Brooklyn, New York... also like Kid Quick... and isn't quite as stereotypically black as Kid Quick! And he's got disco fever now!
A look into the game's files reveals that Disco Kid's codes are...typed as kid_quick. It's been revealed that Disco Kid was supposed to be Kid Quick, but they had a lot of fun with the redesign so they just called him a new character.
Before that, Super Punch-Out!! for SNES had Gabby Jay. French nationality, a 1-99 record, first opponent in the game, hmm... I wonder who that could possibly mirror. It is Lampshaded though, since Gabby Jay is Glass Joe's pupil and his one win was against Glass Joe. Piston Honda/Hondo could also count as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Piston Hurricane.
The 1990 reissue of the NES version replaced Mike Tyson with Mr. Dream, after Nintendo declined to renew Tyson's contract.
Suspicious Video Game Generosity: The NES game gives you 77 hearts for the fight against Great Tiger, more than any other fight, and certainly far more than was given for previous fights. You'll be using a lot of them to block.
Teleport Spam: Great Tiger's tactic in the Wii version, though it can be intercepted.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Played straight and inverted in the Wii version. Mr. Sandman manages to beat twelve boxers from the WVBA and becomes World champion. Little Mac, the 13th opponent, beats him and renders his victory track imperfect. The inversion comes from Mac, likewise, having defeated 12 boxers and then Mr. Sandman to become the champion. This is further symbolized with the following elements: Little Mac has 13 hearts of stamina in both fights against Sandman (the rematch is in Title Defense mode, where the latter is once again the 13th opponent), Sandman's Contender introduction cutscene is 13 images long (the other boxers only have four-image-long cutscenes), he has to be hit 13 times (in case Star Punches aren't used) after the Berserker Rage is over to be definitely defeated, and even his stats (age, fight record, height) provide nods to number thirteen as well. Something interesting to note is that he, during his World title hold, has the highest rank in the World Circuit, while Aran Ryan (who embodies the Lucky Seven trope) is the lowest in the same circuit.
This is perhaps the driving premise behind the Title Defense mode in the Wii version. Just about everyone can dodge star punches and loves to fake you into dodging the wrong way or too soon.
Don Flamenco MOST especially took a level in badass in the NES version when you fight your rematch with him on the world circuit. If you're expecting it to be anything * like* the pushover your major circuit match with him was, think again.
Turns Red: Bald Bull doing his signature Bull Charge in the Wii version.
Soda Popinski goes from pink to bright berserk red upon getting up from knockdown, getting hit by a star punch or having one of his sodas knocked out of his hands. In any of these cases, the end result is between 3 to 6 successive uppercuts (depending on which fight, and when in the fight).
Don Flamenco also turns red after you knock off his toupee.
Unintentional Period Piece: The NES game, with Mac's pink track suit, Popinski being from the USSR, Great Tiger's hometown being named "Bombay", and Mike Tyson being champ definitely set it in the '80s.
Unstoppable Rage: Title Defence Mr. Sandman gets this at a certain point in the fight, requiring you to dodge enough of his punches until he gets tired to counterattack or block, at which point depleting whatever life he has left while he stands there defenseless leads into an instant KO. Also, he apparently tore apart a building with his bare hands prior to the fight.
Unwinnable (or Endless Game depending on how you look at it): It doesn't matter how many opponents you defeat in "Mac's Last Stand", you will lose the game eventually, resulting in the game's Downer Ending.
If you hit the "menu" button on the Wii remote to pause the game, you can force a reset on the console allowing you to safely abort a doomed match.
Variable Mix: In the Wii version. The soundtrack from the original Punch-Out!! is used, but is remixed multiple times, with the fighters getting variations based on their country of origin.
Aran Ryan is this in two separate games: in Super he's the first boss you need to use the super-punches on and in Wii he's the first boss you have to use counter-punches against.
Both Great Tiger and Don Flamenco are big wake-ups in the Wii version, especially if you played the NES version. In the Wii versions, it seems like their attack patterns are the same... and then Tiger starts using spooky voodoo he never had in the NES version and he introduces you to the concept of having to dodge a specific way in order to avoid an attack (rather than just dodging in one direction the whole time like you could in the NES version).
And then you see Don as the Major Circuit Champion... wait, Don Flamenco? The second-easiest fight in all of NES Punch-Out once you figured out his gimmick? Well... it might seem like his gimmick is the same here... and then you find out just why he's a champion in this game.