Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

Who would win in a fight….Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream?

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

I was sitting around the other day thinking about an old Twitter review I did. It was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It seems to be a favorite with NES fans over the years, so I fired it up to play a little. I didn’t give it a perfect score, mainly because I played the hell out of the arcade Punch Out!!, and the console version just didn’t measure up. Honestly, that wasn’t a fair score, because I try to rate games compared to the actual system they belong. But, my personal bias allowed me to knock it down to an 8/10 (still a great score). I decided for my punishment, I would allow Iron Mike himself to give me the sound beating I deserved. A couple of right crosses from the man himself will knock some sense into me.

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

So I’m Googling a little information about the game and I realized something that most people already knew…
Nintendo re-released Mike’s game a couple of years later. Either because of the rape conviction or because he had lost his title by then, Nintendo didn’t renew a contract with Tyson, so he wasn’t in the new game. From what I gathered, the new game, just titled Punch Out!!, was exactly the same as the old game except for one thing…they replaced Mike with a huge white guy named Mr. Dream.
Reading some comparative news about the games, I was getting conflicting answers. Most people say the game is the same, while others swear that either Tyson or Dream was more difficult to defeat. While this may be just psychological nonsense, I have to find out if this is true.

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

OBJECTIVE: To end this decades-long debate, and find out who could defeat whom.

The problem is knowing that the two boxing greats will never be put in the same room together, I was going to have to play both games and face both monsters one-on-one.

The gameplay is pretty simple: I play as a small guy named Little Mac. I’ll have to fight through 10 or 12 other boxers to get to the final fight, Tyson or Dream. Each match is 3 rounds of 3 minutes in duration. If I knock down my opponent (or he knocks me) 3 times, it’s a TKO and the match is over. I think it’s possible to win a decision, but I don’t want to take the chance. I need to go for the kill. The 2 controller buttons will throw left/right punches. Holding up or down on the pad will face-punch or block. Left/right will dodge opponent’s punches (I hope).

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot
In typical boxing-crookedness, I’ve already cheated. I’ve been taking PED’s for days, loaded up my controller with brass knuckles, and downloaded game-tips from the internet. DING! DING!

The game starts with a tune-up fight: A guy named Glass Joe, who is really just a punching bag, or practice to get used to the controls.
The graphics look cool, decent sound effects, and Mario is your referee. Between plumbing and rescuing ladies, you wouldn’t think he’d have time for a night job, but good for him living the American Dream.

Glass Joe goes down, and there a huge list of un-politically-correct boxers in my sight.

Von Kaiser, the big German.
Piston Hurricane, the Japanese guy.
Don Flamenco, the Spanish guy who prances around.
King Hippo, the ugly fat guy.
Great Tiger, the dude from India wearing a turban.
Bald Bull, the crazy Turk.
Soda Popinski, the Russian.
Mr. Sandman, huge black dude from Philly with the 70′s hair and sideburns.
Super Macho Man, the ‘roided pretty-boy from Hollywood.
Then, gap-toothed Tyson himself.

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

Mike enters the ring looking like the crazy bastard he is, and I’m looking forward to using the tip and tricks I’ve learned to exploit his weakness and take him down. Mario calls for the fight to start and here I come. About 8 seconds into the match, I realize he has no weakness and I go down and I go down hard. I call for my trainer, the well-respected Doc Louis, to throw in the towel. But the old, deaf S.O.B. can’t hear me over my cries of pain. I reluctantly get back up and try to throw a right body blow that does zero damage. I think it just made Mike more angry, kind of like the Incredible Hulk. Tyson responds to my limp jab with a massive uppercut that actually shook my controller….and these controllers weren’t manufactured to do that like current ones. Doc just sits there offering advice like “Watch his left!” and “Join the Nintendo club!”. Consider yourself fired, sir. I decide to fake like I’m asleep, like I was taught to do if I were ever to be alone in the woods with a huge grizzly bear. Assuming Mike was as dumb as an animal, I thought that would work. Oddly, the Nintendo Gods lifted me upon my feet, and threw me in the path of another Iron-Fist-of-Fury, sealing my fate. A TKO called by Mario, and this match was over.

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot

TOTAL TIME: 14 seconds.

I couldn’t just jump into the “rematch” with Mr. Dream. I needed to get a good night’s sleep to heal the injuries. So, off to bed.
A couple of hours later, I awaken in a cold sweat. The nightmares of being mauled by a pack of Bigfoots were just too much for me. I needed to “get back on the horse” and take on Mr. Dream, or I’d never have my life back.

I cheat-code my way through most of the fighters and find my way to the Dream-fight.
Pre-match stats show this dude as 99-0, hailing from a place called Dreamland. Kind of a pretty-boy, but I can’t put enough emphasis on the 99-0.
Match starts and he moves the same way Tyson did, so I’m hoping to use my past match as practice.

Mike Tysons Punch Out - NES - Gameplay Screenshot
I try to stick-and-move, but I got knocked on my ass by a blur…I assume it was a legal punch, but can’t be sure. I notice Doc Louis didn’t take the hint, as he’s still offering crappy advice (they really want me to join that club). I try throwing meat at my opponent, thinking I can distract him long enough to get in at least one punch….didn’t work, as I fall to the mat for the second time. I try to hold my controller pad down, thinking my avatar may stay down for 10 seconds to end this debacle, but he rises again. I start throwing the kitchen sink at him hoping something good will happen, but only got as far as “kitchen si..” when a fist the size as my head sent me through the ground, halfway to China. A final TKO from Super-Mario, and it’s over.

TOTAL TIME: 18 seconds.

I decided to re-score my review.
I grade on a 0-2 scale in 5 categories, for a max score of 10.


It looks fantastic, with a dozen unique fighters, cool fighting motions, and even “flashbulbs” going off in the crowd.

Crowd noise, punches thrown, some voice announcing, even Mario starting the “fight”.

Perfect. An entire boxing match with a pad and 2 buttons. Works very well, very fluid.

It was a blast trying to learn weaknesses of fighters, climbing the ranks, then take your shot at the Dream-title.

You will spend a lot of time on this game trying to beat the big man, and if I ever do it…I’m guessing I’d want to do it again.


Maybe it wasn’t the most scientific of methods, but to answer the question, “Who would win in a fight?…Mike Tyson or Mr. Dream?” My money would go to Iron Mike. But, there is still the chance that those two monsters would still be beating on one another until the end of time.

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Matt McKee

42 year old gamer, retro and current, that loves to talk and write about it. I'd be honored to be part of your circle.

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