1987 was the perfect year for Nintendo and Mike Tyson to get together and capitalize on each other’s reigns as champions. As a result, gamers got Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. In this game, you play as Little Mac, a rising undersized contender who fights through the open weight rankings in order to face the Baddest Man on the Planet. However, the opponents put in front of Little Mac’s road to the title tend to be gimmicky but powerful characters such as King Hippo, Piston Honda, Bald Bull, and Soda Popinski.
Putting aside its age and Tyson’s numerous fiascos, the game still excellently holds up. It is easy to pick up and each opponent has a habit that you must exploit to guarantee a victory. For example with King Hippo, you wait for his mouth to open to punch and upon impact, his trunks will fall off and you can repeatedly hit his stomach until he’s down. But if he lands a punch on you, it’s lights out! When you get to Tyson, his punching power in the game is as devastating as the real Tyson in his prime making him one of the hardest bosses in gaming. Besides Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, what other boxing games are there to check out? Read today’s top 6 to find out!
Similar Games to Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
1. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing
- Platform: Genesis, GameGear
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: ACME Interactive
- Release Date: Oct 29, 1992 (US)
A good portion of you may know Holyfield through his two victories over Mike Tyson and that Tyson infamously bit off his ear in their second fight. For some of you longtime SNL fans, you may remember a classic skit with Chris Farley portraying a US Army general. Upon the end of the skit, Chris Farley screams that he wants Holyfield. So if you want Holyfield just as bad as Farley, then the closest you’re going to get is through Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing for the Sega Genesis. This game’s concept is largely like Punch-Out!! in the manner that you don’t play as the titular champion, but as your created boxer who must plow through the ranks.
With your create-a-boxer, you just customize his head, hair, skin color, trunks, and even decide if he fights left-handed or right-handed. The game presents a sideways view and is mostly reliant on boxing basics such as jabs, straights, uppercuts, and body blows and doesn't rely on special moves. While Punch-Out!! remains stationary where the boxers are positioned, in Real Deal Boxing, you can have your boxer pedal back to avoid getting punched. As the game progresses, it offers unique training modes and upgrades to improve your boxer’s speed, power, and health. When you get to Holyfield, he may not be as powerful as Tyson is in Punch-Out!! but comes at you with punches in bunches. So if you get to Holyfield, try to initiate from the start because biting his ear is not an option in Real Deal Boxing.
2. Rocky: Legends
- Platform: PlayStation 2, XBox
- Publisher: UbiSoft
- Developer: Venom Games
- Release Date: Sept 28, 2004 (US)
The Rocky Balboa character has been an American icon since his debut in 1976. Not only has he been featured in seven films but a small handful of video games. One notable example of a Rocky game is Legends where you get to play not only as the Italian Stallion, but some of his other notable opponents such as Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago. In their respective modes, the player gets to learn about their origin stories. In Clubber Lang’s story, you learn he was a boxer in prison. Unfortunately, fans have to pity the fool who didn’t recast Mr. T for this game.
While the game is a little stiff compared to today’s boxing games, it does a good enough job to portray a fresh story and still capture the characters. Just like in the movies, Rocky doesn’t have crisp technique but relies on brawling tactics by crushing the body. In addition to boxing in the ring, Rocky also fights on the streets as part of his story such as his fight with Tommy Gunn in the fifth movie. And in case you wanted to know, its uplifting theme song and most of its soundtrack is included in this game along with Apollo Creed’s WrestleMania inspired entrance in Rocky IV.
Rocky: Legends Trailer
3. Knockout Kings 2000
- Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo 64
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Developer: Black Ops Entertainment
- Release Date: Oct 3, 1999 (US)
A few years before Fight Night was EA’s flagship boxing series, they had Knockout Kings. Just like in Fight Night, it shares a great mix of champions from modern and previous generations to play as. Some of the selectable boxers that were famous around the time of its release are David Tua, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, and Fernando Vargas. For the older boxers, you can play as Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, Rocky Marciano, Marvin Hagler, and Joe Louis. The gameplay is rather basic but consistent with the sweet science in that you use a boxer’s jab, straight, hook, uppercut to either the face or body. The game allows you to freely move around the ring and use footwork to create distance and execute your gameplay.
With Ali, you can utilize his reach and speed to coast your way to victory by a unanimous decision, or set up a vicious knockout. Or as Rocky Marciano, you can throw everything with bad intentions for a destructive finish. While it may not be gimmicky as Punch-Out!!, you can create a good amount of dream matches with the featured boxers. Between Floyd Mayweather and Pernell Whitaker, who is the better defensive boxer? Or with Robinson and Leonard, who is the true Sugar Ray? Or who is the tougher brawler, Fernando Vargas or Jake LaMotta? This game for its time could provide answers to those questions before Fight Night did with Tyson and Ali.
Any Games Like Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! ?
4. Ready 2 Rumble
- Platform: Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Game Boy Color
- Publisher: Midway
- Developer: Midway
- Release Date: Sept 9, 1999 (US)
As the Dreamcast hit American shores on Sept 9, 1999, as did a handful number of quality launch titles such as Ready 2 Rumble. The title is taken from the trademark call of legendary boxing announcer, Michael Buffer (who is also featured in the game). Like Punch-Out!!, it features gimmick characters with bizarre names such as Afro Thunder, Butcher Brown, and Big Willy Johnson. However, some share physical and personality resemblances to real life boxers. For example, Afro Thunder taunts and jabs like Ali and Tank Thrasher looks a lot like Butterbean.
In this game, you can freely move around the ring as each boxer has his or her own unique style and special moves. Some fighters utilize their size and others utilize their speed and agility. Many of the fighters have special moves you’d never see in actual boxing such as Superman punches, which are more common in MMA. With other boxers, they can use fouls such as head butts or unorthodox tactics like belly flops. For every punch landed a boxer can fill up their rumble meter, which is similar to a super combo meter in fighting games. Once that meter is filled up, the boxer can throw punches to knock their opponent down. While it is by no means a boxing simulator, it does give a novel experience that lives up to the legacy of Punch-Out!!
5. Hajime no Ippo 2: Victorious Road
- Platform: PlayStation 2
- Publisher: ESP Software
- Developer: New
- Release Date: Jan 29, 2004 (Japan)
Based on the hit manga by Jyoji Morikawa, Hajime no Ippo 2* Victorious Road features a solid roster of numerous characters from the original manga such as Ippo, Miyata, Takamura, Martinez, Date, and many others who were featured in the manga upon its release in 2004. Each character is the game is masterfully represented as they are in the manga and/or anime. For Ippo, he utilizes Mike Tyson’s peek-a-boo stance. Once he gets in his striking distance, his body blows are as devastating as they are portrayed in the source material. With Miyata, you can utilize his stick-and-move tactics and when necessary, finish with a devastating counter.
The biggest appeal of this game is its career mode, which is probably the deepest in any sports game. Through the career mode known as boxer’s road, you create a boxer from scratch and he can train at a number of gyms around the world (notably Japan, Korea, Thailand, the UK and the US). If you base your boxer in Japan, you can have him fight out of the Kamogawa Gym where Ippo trains at, or join Sendo’s gym based out of Osaka.
In the career mode, you also manage your boxer’s diet and training routine. You are free to change weight classes based on an opponent of your choosing but you must change the boxer’s diet and routine in order to make weight. If in the event your boxing is over the limit, he will be required to wear bigger gloves. Just like in real boxing, if you lose by knockout a certain amount of times in a row, you will be forced to retire. Keep on winning and you may find yourself fighting against other characters from the manga and ultimately become the world champion.
6. Fight Night Champion
- Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Developer: EA Canada
- Release Date: Mar 1, 2011 (US)
Instead of fighting against Tyson like in Punch-Out!!, do you want to play as him and roll through today’s heavyweight division? If so, you can with Fight Night Champion. Not only do you get to match him up against the likes of today’s heavyweights such as the Klitschko brothers and David Haye, you can match him with the heavyweight legends of the past such as Frazier and Ali. So do you want to see Tyson vs. Ali? You can simulate it and see how it could possibly go down.
The game allows you to acquaint yourself with the basics of the sweet science by using a jab, bobbing and weaving, and utilizing the range of each fighter. Heck, you can even clinch to save yourself from getting knocked out or even try to sneak in a punch to the balls! In addition, it has a very effective counter system. If your opponent slips up with a punch, strike back with one of your own for double the damage! In addition to the heavyweight division, you are free to play as other boxers from other weight classes such as Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Jake LaMotta. So if you want the ultimate boxing experience, Fight Night Champion is the game for you.
Last, we would like to make some honorable mentions to Super Punch-Out!!, Championship Boxing, Mocap Boxing, Boxing Mania, and EA’s second release of their UFC games, which happens to feature Tyson as a UFC fighter. Some of the games we have listed are just as gimmicky as Punch-Out!! while others tend to take a more realistic approach. Either way, we hope that some of you gamers out there looking for a game like Punch-Out!! can try some of the games we listed.
What do you readers say? What other boxing games do you think can go toe-to-toe with Punch-Out!!? Leave some of your ideas in the comments.