Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

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North American box art.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, later re-released as Punch-Out!!, is a boxing game developed and published by Nintendo on the NES in 1987. It is based off Nintendo's earlier arcade game, Punch-Out!!. The original game features Mike Tyson as the final boxer, but after Nintendo's license expired, Tyson was replaced by Mr. Dream in subsequent releases.

I first played this game at a friend's house in the late 1980s. Having no idea what I was doing, I believe I beat Glass Joe, but lost to Von Kaiser. After being taught how to dodge an opponent's punch and counter attack, I did much better. As my friends and I progressed, I remember us getting stuck on Great Tiger. I had my brother's Official Nintendo Player's Guide, which gives explanations for how to beat the boxers, but I couldn't interpret how to block his Tiger Punches. After we beat Great Tiger, I remember my friend's older brother calling me asking how to defeat Bald Bull's Bull Charge and reading him the hints over the phone. Later, we got to the second Bald Bull, and were amazed that he couldn't be knocked down, though we later found his secret. We had more difficulties with the second Don Flamenco, and his damn taunts. Mr. Sandman was terrifying the first time we saw his ring intro where he does his super-fast punches. I saw Mike Tyson even before Super Macho Man thanks to a password from Nintendo Power. The first time I fought him I was blown away at how hard he was and was TKO'ed by his first three punches!

I've played the game a lot since then and have analyzed the boxers patterns and discovered how to get stars on most of them. Now, I can routinely get to Mr. Sandman. I can usually beat him, but I have difficulties with Super Macho Man, and I have a very hard time with Mike Tyson.


I own both Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and Punch-Out!!. I finally beat Mike Tyson with a TKO on 2017-06-26.


  • Overall: 6/10
  • Best Version: NES


  • The boxing mechanic of dodging punches and counter-punching is a great system.
  • The game gives you very flexible control over Little Mac and allows you to react faster as you become more comfortable with the moves.
  • The stamina stat was a clever way to prevent the player from just mashing buttons.
  • Hidden uppercut stars is a good mechanic that rewards unique play styles.
  • While the boxing mechanic is relatively the same throughout the game, each boxer introduces a new element keeping the game fresh all the way to the end.
  • The large flicker-free character sprites were very impressive for the time.
  • The dialog between rounds gives the game more character, and the injured look on both you and your opponents was a nice touch.


  • The game is really racist in the way it depicts boxers. The Russian is a drunk, the Pacific Islander is fat with beady little eyes, the French man is weak, etc. Although, I do have to give them credit for having such a diverse line-up.
  • Continuing after losing a match is inconsistent. Sometimes you get a couple rematches before getting a game over, sometimes you get a game over the first time you lose.
  • The dodge, counter-punch mechanic becomes very strict later in the game, and there are few opportunities to just punch away, making the game feel less and less like a boxing game.


  • Mike Tyson is too hard. Very few players have reflexes fast enough to beat him fairly, and it hurts the game.

Box Art



Fan Art

Personal Rankings

Here are the boxers ranked by how difficult they are for me to defeat them:

  1. Von Kaiser
  2. Glass Joe (Not really harder then Kaiser, but it takes longer to beat him)
  3. Don Flamenco
  4. King Hippo
  5. Piston Honda
  6. Great Tiger
  7. Piston Honda 2
  8. Bald Bull
  9. Don Flamenco 2
  10. Bald Bull 2
  11. Soda Popinski
  12. Mr. Dream
  13. Super Macho Man
  14. Mike Tyson


The game used a password system to keep track of your wins and losses, but also had a couple other interesting passwords as well.

Password Result
005 737 5423 Don Flamenco, Minor Circuit Champ.
777 807 3454 Piston Honda (2nd Fight), Major Circuit Champ.
267 812 7538 Super Macho Man, World Circuit Champ.
007 373 5963 Mike Tyson / Mr. Dream
135 792 4680 Press A+B+Select, Another World Circuit.
106 113 0120 Press A+B+Select, and see the credits.
800 422 2602 Phone number of Nintendo of America's hotline. Plays a busy signal.