Rolling Up The Stairs: Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!! - Edward Roivas Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Rolling Up The Stairs: Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson is the example that comes to many minds when people think of a brutally hard enemy. He's burned the password 007-373-5963 into millions of minds, and someone, somewhere, has probably had a nightmare about him after staying up into the unholy hours of the night trying to beat him. After several hours of fighting, I finally beat him.

Punch-Out!! is a game of reflexes and pattern memorization, with nothing but unique enemies. In a sense, it's like an earlier Shadow of the Colossus. You know, that metaphor is actually a pretty good, non-cynical representation of how gaming has changed from the NES to the (comparatively) modern days, I'll have to write a blog about it in the future.

The boxers leading up to Mike Tyson were often very difficult, and there's no shame in not being able to reach him (depending on how far you got). So if you haven't played Punch-Out!!, understand that only people who were really good even got a chance to fight him.

The hardest part of the fight is the first minute and a half. He throws lightning fast uppercuts that'll send you to the ground in one hit, and getting knocked down three times in one round is a TKO-instant defeat. Something that actually makes it harder, is that the punches aren't nonstop. Most of the time, the punches come a moment after the last. However, he'll occasionally delay it for a second or two, and a poorly timed dodge is as bad as doing nothing.

It's a game where fast reflexes are integral to winning, but this fight punishes you for letting muscle memory take over. Once, maybe twice in this time period he'll use what's possibly the most terrifying attack in gaming:He stands there for several seconds, doing nothing, then throws an uppercut. It's hard to avoid because you don't know when he'll throw it, and you have to actively control the urge to dodge: not too much though, or you'll have found yourself lying on the canvas.

After that ends, the fight becomes much more manageable. He still hits hard, but never as hard as he did then. It's a clever reference to how Mike Tyson actually fought, going all out early. For the rest of the first round, he throws punches that are easily avoided. 

Tyson gains plenty of new moves in the second round, including a fast jab that comes out without warning repeatedly in the opening. It can be blocked, but if you want to avoid taking any damage at all you'll have to predict his timing and dodge accordingly. He'll always do this, so it's in no way unfair.

The rest of his attacks have at least a moment of warning before you get hit, and he'll bring back a weaker version of the delayed uppercut. It's not a one hit knock down attack any more, but it's still quite fearsome.

Mike Tyson is the second hardest enemy in any game I've played, and he's one of the bosses I've spent the most time fighting. Beating Mike Tyson, if you ever manage to do it, will be a highlight of your gaming career.

In the week after I got Punch-Out!!, I dedicated a weekend to trying to beat Tyson. I failed over three hundred times, and this is the first time I've tried since last Winter.

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