“I came out hustling sliding and grabbing Slippin' and dippin' hustlin' and jabbin'For a second I looked good out thereBut then mike brought to reality my worst nightmarene punch, that's all it took (oooh)He hit me in my ribs and my insides shookNow how can I say this and be a little discreetLet's just say that my bowels releasedI called timeout and went back to my cornersaid to my coach 'ain't no way I'm goin'The hell back out there, man you can't forget it'My body's like a punchin' bag and mike is gonna (hit it)”
I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
"My power is discombobulatingly devastating I could feel is muscle tissues collapse under my force. It's ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm."
Following the success of the 1984 coin-op arcade game simply titled Punch-Out!, Nintendo released the now infamous Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! in 1987, which is definitely one of the crowning moments in video game history. Based on a very limited amount of research, I am ready to declare 1987 a banner year for art: Evil Dead 2, Full Metal Jacket, Raising Arizona, Robocop and Princess Bride were all released in theatres; Appetite for Destruction, Licensed to Ill, Come on Pilgrim, Kick, Electric and Louder than Bombs were all released on tape; and Tetris, Double Dragon, and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! were the bane of mothers everywhere. I didn’t look at what books were released in 1987, but I was 9 years old, so relax (okay, fuck off, Black Dahlia, Misery, In the Skin of a Lion and Bonfire of the Vanities were all released in 1987).
The star of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is Little Mac – a 107 pound 17-year-old who has decided that he is going to become a boxer despite the fact that he is about two feet shorter than everybody else and has the build of a pre-pubescent teen. Maybe I had been blinded by watching Karate Kid 10,000 times, or maybe it was because the Fresh Prince said it was possible, but I was sure that I was going to lead Mac to greatness. In Mac’s corner was Doc Louis, a heavy-set (read: fat-ass) black trainer who not only gives Mac questionable advise between rounds (see more on this later), but would also train Mac by pacing him on his bicycle (under the watchful gaze of the Statue of Liberty). In classic
Nintendo style, the controls were simple – right and left moved you right and left, down made you duck, A and B were right jab and left jab respectively (if you held up and pushed A or B Mac would unleash the devastating uppercut) – but perfecting the timing was very hard. Underneath each fighter I have provided an actual quote from the game. Let’s get ready to RUMMMMMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLLLE! (I will not be repeating fighters even though you fight most of them more than once).
Fight One: Glass Joe (1 win, 99 losses, no KOs)
"Make it quick... I want to retire!"
Glass Joe is one shitty boxer. In fact, if you couldn’t destroy Glass Joe the first time you fought him than you either don’t have any hands or you better be very drunk (and if you were a nine-year old what the hell are you doing drinking?). In case you needed an explanation for Glass Joe’s struggles, he was French (this game is full of racial profiling, sometimes humourous, often offensive)… and, oh yeah, he is only 110 pounds.
Fight Two: Von Kaiser (23-13, 10 KOs)
"I was a boxing teacher...at the military academy!"
Von Kaiser is simply passed his prime. His record is strong, and he talks a mean game (although I think the military academy line is kind of redundant), but he is 42-years-old. He still looks mean, and the German accent is a little inti
midating, but in the end he is 42-years-old. Kaiser also has 44 pounds on Mac… but fuck him, he’s 42-years-old.
Fight Three: Piston Honda (28-1, 18 KOs)
"I'll give you a TKO from Tokyo!"
I still think that the line “I’ll give you a TKO from Tokyo” is one of the greatest statements in video game history. It is certainly better than the other line he occasionally blurts out, which is something along the lines of: “Sushi, kamikaze, fujiyama, Nippon ichi…”, which would be similar to Mac yelling “Hamburger, Navy Seal, Mount Saint Helens, Microsoft”… it just doesn’t make sense. Anyways, Piston was a challenge, nothing too intimidating, but a challenge. In the end, this is a big fight because a victory against Piston means the Minor Circuit Title!!!!
Fight Four: Don Flamenco (22-3, 9 KOs)
"Hey! Mr. Referee Mario I like your hair!"
Only 23-years-old, Don Flamenco is a flashy young Spaniard who is the first challenger to Mac on the Major Circuit. Don has style coming out of his ass. He enters the ring with a rose in his mouth and does an amazing dance as he enters the ring (punctuated with a graceful uppercut). What unnerves Mac is that Don spends most of the fight complimenting the Referee on his hair. How is Mac supposed to expect a fair fight if the Ref and Don are having a passionate love affair?
Fight Five: King Hippo (18-9, 18 KOs)
"I have my weakness. But, I won't tell you! Ha, ha, ha!" It was this fight that made me hate Doc. Imagine this… the first round has just ended and Mac has been smoked... King Hippo just doesn’t seem to mind being hit in the face over and over again… he is taunting you about some mysterious weakness… battered and bruised you turn to your friend and mentor… Doc opens his mouth and says: “Join the Nintendo Fanclub today!” Are you fucking kidding me? You have carried this fat piece of shit on your back and he is trying to extort money from you. This is like Marsellus Wallace asking Butch to throw the fight… this is like Clubber Lang killing Mickey. Fuck, even now I am getting mad about this. Anyways, that shouldn’t ruin what is a great character – coming from parts unknown (or Hippo Islands, where he is apparently King) – the Hippo King is an enigma wrapped in a mystery hidden in the pyramids. Although neither Doc nor the Hippo King will tell you what his weakness is, he is wearing a big fucking band aid in the middle of his chest, and when he hit it his shorts fall down; so really it isn’t all that hard to figure out how to beat the Hippo King.
Fight Six: Great Tiger (24-5, 3 KOs)
"Beware my tiger punch."
I don’t know why Great Tiger gives away his biggest weakness by saying “Beware my tiger punch”. If you are able to avoid this massive uppercut, the Great Tiger gets so dizzy that he can’t even avoid you. Here is this guy who at the age of 29 was a master of black magic, if his jewel started to shine he was going to move around the ring like the Tasmanian Devil or teleport, yet he is too stupid to not give away his greatest weakness. At least King Hippo tries to hide his problems. I always hated the Great Tiger because of the tiger skin that hung in his corner… fucking asshole.
Fight Seven: Bald Bull (34-4, 29 KOs)
"My barber didn't know when to quit, do you?"
The Bald Bull looked like Sloth from Goonies. He talked like Sloth from Goonies too, and he prayed on my insecurities by saying stuff like: “Doc can't help you now. Will you beg me for help?”. Fortunately, this is the fight were Doc comes through. I don’t know why Doc changed his mind, maybe he saw that Little Mac had a shot, or maybe he saw a little of himself in Little Mac, maybe Little Mac slapped him around after the King Hippo fight… we will never know, but when he leaned into Mac at the end of the first round and tells him to stand up to Bald Bull’s infamous Bull Charge it’s like the moment that Ash chainsaws off his own hand and then converts the chainsaw into a hand… and yes, that is a VERY good thing. When you beat the Bald Bull, you knew that you were good – and you were the champion of the Major Circuit!
Fight Eight: Soda Popinski (33-2, 24 KOs)
"I can't drive, so I'm gonna walk all over you."
What is a late 80s videogame without a drunk Russian villain who cackles maniacally? Soda Popinski was that character in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! The stereotype was so complete that Soda’s skin was quite literally pink (even though it looked normal when he came into the ring). Soda was a tough fight for Little Mac, he used the drunken-style of boxing - weaving back and forth – but he could unleash some wicked jabs as well. Interestingly, despite Soda’s references to being drunk, Nintendo wasn’t willing to go all out as they had in the arcade where Soda’s name was Vodka Drunkenski. I fucking love that name. You can now find Soda Popinski hosting a cooking show right here.
Fight Nine: Mr. Sandman (27-2, 21 KOs)
"Bedtime for Little Mac!"
Now we are getting into the really, really tough fighters. The Sandman got hit with the same ugly gene that got to Bald Bull earlier in the game (in fact they maybe brothers from another mother like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover). In fact, I bet the Sandman and the Bald Bull are lost brothers that don’t know how to get rid of all their aggression so they ended up in boxing. There is something to be said about the genius of Nintendo to realize that to the majority of their audience being “put to bed” is a comprehensible, yet reprehensible form of abuse. As an interesting aside, Mr. Sandman was from Philly, and so was the Fresh Prince…
Fight Ten: Super Macho Man (35-0, 29 KOs)
"My super spin punch is totally tough!"
Something is up with Super Macho Man. In his photo, as you can see above, he is a grizzled old veteran with gray hair. Once he steps into the ring, he is a young surfer who uses words like “totally” without flinching. Other than that frightening leap in logic, there isn’t much negative you can say about Super Macho Man. That Super Spin Punch was very cool, and almost impossible to beat… did it ever hurt when he walked up to Mac’s crumpled body and laugh that surfer-dude laugh. It hurt so bad that I think every kid in North America tried to copy that Super Spin Punch on the schoolyard. That being said, Super Macho Man was a tremendous role model, saying things like: “I don't smoke... But tonight I'm gonna smoke you!”. The most distracting thing about Super Macho Man were his chest muscles that bounced around quite frequently, and were many children’s first introduction to “man-boobs”. Nothing in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is as memorable as the first time you win this fight… the World Circuit Trophy joins the other two trophies on Mac’s mantle… and the newspaper headline reads:
KO NEWS - April 7th, 1987
A NEW CHAMP! "Last night we found a small but great champ,
his name is Little Mac."
Fight Eleven: Mike (motherfucking) Tyson (31-0, 27 KOs)
"They say I can't lose. I say you can't win!"
In 1987 Mike (Kid Dynamite) Tyson was unbeatable. The youngest undisputed champion in the history of boxing was also the hardest video-game boss ever created. One punch from Iron Mike and you are out. One-mazzafakking-punch! If you did manage to beat that gap-toothed psycho, he immediately says: “Great fighting!! You were tough, Mac!”, then in one of the greatest lines in videogame history he would say: “Never seen such finger speech before”. I really, really, really hope that Mike Tyson wrote that line himself, because it is absolutely insane, but for a ten-year-old it was one of the greatest compliments I had EVER heard. This was fucking Mike Tyson complimenting my video-game boxing skills, which was the closest I will ever come to Mike Tyson complimenting me personally (which has always been a dream of mine).
Fight Eleven (part II): Mr. Dream (99-0, 99 KOs)
"Everyone knows you're a transvestite and you love me. I'm gonna make you my girlfriend. I can't wait to get my hands on a pretty thing like you"
The Real Mike Tyson.
Everyone reading this blog knows that Mike Tyson’s life did not get better after 1987. In fact, Mike Tyson went absolutely fucking insane, and is now basically a “bad wrestler” who has infiltrated the boxing world. Even before he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, he had a messy divorce and some rape accusations so Nintendo was more than happy to not renew his contract when it ran out in the early 90s. From that point on, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! became Punch-Out!! featuring Mr. Dream, and basically was the same game except that the last guy was a really good white boxer instead of Mike Tyson.
Wow, that was a long article – for some funny Mike Tyson Punch-Out!! shit click here… and here (both from Gorillamask). I used this and this article extensively while researching this article.
Until next time… dream Little Mac… dream.