Monday, May 18, 2009

Punch-Out!! (Virtual Console) review

About the Virtual Console reviews: I'm not rating these games necessarily by today's standards, otherwise my evaluation of graphics and lasting value might not do too well. But I'm also not reviewing these games by their original system's standards. Think of it as a combination of the two, and overall just if it's worth a download or not.

Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (Virtual Console)
Developer: Nintendo IRD
Publisher: Nintendo
Date Released: VC: April 16, 2007 (USA)
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

The latest Punch-Out!! for the Wii releases today into North American stores. To celebrate this we have my review of Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream on the Virtual Console. The original NES Punch-Out!! frequents Top 10 NES lists and generally is the most popular and remembered of the games in the series. And for good reason: the gameplay's excellent, the puzzles are difficult, and the stereotypical humor is hilarious.

Punch-Out!! may be all about boxing, but it varies considerably from other regular boxing games. It'd be more suitable to call it a puzzle-action game than a boxing title. You play as Little Mac and are rooted in the middle of the rink. You have a decent amount of punches and dodges in your arsenal. Where the challenge and strategy comes in is with the various boxers of different speeds and skills. Learning exactly when to dodge and then deliver uppercuts and jabs becomes crucial when the boxers begin to only give you split second warnings. It'll take a lot of pattern memorization and multiple playthroughs of each stage.

Little Mac vs. Great Tiger

Additional elements to the Punch-Out!! formula are hearts and stars. You'll have a set number of hearts at the beginning of each round. You'll lose one each time you're punched and if you lose all of these your fighter becomes exhausted and unable to fight back. To gain back hearts, you will have to dodge a certain number of punches. Stars on the other hand are obtained by delivering blows to your opponents at certain times, usually when they're about to attack you. When you have a star you can unleash a devastating Star Punch on your foes for some big damage with the Start button (+ on a Wii remote held sideways).

The rest of the controls in Punch-Out!! are intuitive and mapped wonderfully. Left, right, and down on the d-pad are for dodges and blocks while B (1 on the Wii remote) and A (2) combined with pressing up on the directional pad make up your offense. It all controls great, and you'll be surprised with all that you can pull off with just a d-pad and two face buttons.

Punch-Out!! is all about Little Mac and his rise to overcome the odds and become the champ. He'll face foes like the weakling Glass Joe, the humongous King Hippo, and the insanely difficult Mr. Dream (Mike Tyson in the original version) along the way. The story's nothing to get excited over, but at least the character each have distinct personalities that's brought to life via animations and in between round verbal taunts. A drink (is it soda or alcohol?) swigging Russian named Soda Popinski? A Japanese fighter named Piston Honda that'll deliver a "TKO from Tokyo"? Yep, someone's bound to get offended.

In between rounds you'll get Doc Louis's advice and opponent's taunts

The game's definitely a NES game as the graphics show. Even with the two frame animations and basic colors, the game has a whole lot of style. Each of the characters has a wide range of expressions when getting punched, winding up for a punch, or delivering a KO inducing uppercut. The various animations when fighting and getting knocked out are done really well, even with the limited capabilities of the NES hardware. As far as audio goes, the various sound effects are fitting and add to the experience, but the Punch-Out!! theme is where it's all at. There's a reason the song's known to Nintendo fans and revered as a classic: it's good.

Overall Thoughts

Punch-Out!! is a fantastic game and really holds up in this day and age. The pattern memorization and timing mechanics are just as entertaining and brutal as the were 20 years ago. A definite download for Nintendo fans and is a great buy for those interested in the Wii version.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poll #19 results

The results for the nineteenth World 1-1 poll are as follows:

Are you excited for the Pokemon Gold/Silver remakes? (16 total votes)
  • I'm super excited for the games! - 43% (7 votes)
  • I'm interested in them - 13% (2 votes)
  • I'm indifferent - 6% (1 vote)
  • Meh... don't really want - 13% (2 votes)
  • What?! More Pokemon games? More remakes? Pass. - 25% (4 votes)
More than half of the voters were either excited for the Gold/Silver remakes or at least interested in them. I'm actually really looking forward to SoulSilver (the one I'm getting). Having skipped out on the fourth generation of Pokemon games (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum), I'd forgotten how much I loved the games. I picked back up Pokemon Sapphire for the GBA a few days ago and it's been pretty much all I've been playing (along with a few matches of NES Punch-Out!! to prepare for the Wii game and to hopefully get a review up tomorrow). The games usually start off a bit slow, but then it's on to none stop addictiveness.

Disappointing news stories going around various Nintendo news sites like GoNintendo are on the sales of certain games. Many hardcore titles on Nintendo platforms, such as MadWorld and GTA: Chinatown Wars haven't sold what people would consider successful. According to GoNintendo and NPD, Nintendo's latest first-party title Excitebots only sold a paltry 13,000 in April. The advertising, or lack there of, on Nintendo's part or people seeming to have enough of Wii racing with Mario Kart and Excite Truck could be sources of the problem. Nintendo's next big game, Punch-Out!! for the Wii launches tomorrow, May 18th, and one can wonder how good that one'll sell. Which is my next poll question, "How well do you think Punch-Out!! will sell on the Wii?"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Punch-Out!! (Wii) trailer

My thoughts: This was one of the best Nintendo commercials I'd seen in a long time. I loved it. They really need to do more of these. It was cheesy, well-made, and hilarious altogether. "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Great stuff.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Poll #18 results

Poll 18 has concluded. We're almost at the twentieth poll! The results of the latest World 1-1 poll are as follows:

Which Nintendo franchise would you love to appear on the Wii the most? (21 total votes)
  • Donkey Kong - 4% (1 vote)
  • Kirby - 23% (5 votes)
  • Pikmin - 19% (4 votes)
  • Starfox - 23% (5 votes)
  • Other - 28% (6 votes)
When your "Other" option is the most voted, you know you should've included more/different choices. As was the case here. A few days after putting up the poll I realized I'd forgotten some big name Nintendo franchises. Namely stuff like F-Zero and Pilotwings. On the other side of the scale was Donkey Kong with a single vote. I voted for Pikmin myself. I loved the "New Play Control" version of Pikmin and am looking forward to playing some Pikmin built from the ground up for the Wii.

Just recently remakes of the second generation of Pokemon games were announced, titled Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. This gives Pokefreaks and retired veterans of the series (like me) something to be excited for. But are YOU excited for the game? That's why this weeks poll is: "Are you excited for the Pokemon Gold/Silver remakes?"

Friday, May 8, 2009

Red Steel 2 (Wii) trailer

Welcome to a new type of post on World 1-1: trailers. Whenever a new trailer of a hot looking game is released onto the web, and I like it, I'll be sure to post it here. So, without further ado, my first trailer is of Red Steel 2. Sure it's a little late and most have already seen it, but the trailer is just too badass not to post.

While I'm pretty sure that's not in game footage and the guy (who was getting a little too into it) wasn't actually controlling the on screen movements, it still was a really badass trailer. I love the art as well. It captures the whole western feel and looks very nice altogether.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pokemon Gold/Silver remakes? Yes, please!

Another short article. Was planning on doing this earlier but didn't have the time. Oh, and just thought I should mention, there's going to be a few changes around here at World 1-1, some minor, others major. Look out for those.

Pokemon Gold and Silver are no doubt my favorite of the core Pokemon RPG's. So when I heard the rumors of a G/S remake on the DS, I was all for it. Supposedly in Japan there's a popular TV show called Pokemon Sunday, and last Sunday's episode said there'd be big news in the next episode. Two confetti balls, one gold, the other silver, hung above the stage during the show pointing to a Gold and Silver remake announcement.

These supposedly "leaked" boxarts found at may be closer to reality than you think

I really hope that's what this is. Gold and Silver were damn good games and my favorite Pokemon games. You have to give credit where credit's due, since Red and Blue were great games that started the franchise. But we got FireRed and LeafGreen, now it's time for a DS Gold/Silver remake. The classic duo were the perfect Pokemon sequel. They added tons of new features such as a day/night system, 100 new Pokemon, an actually interesting and dynamic story (at least for a Pokemon game), and a Pokeball growing scenario with strategic "seeds" and new creative Pokeball types.

The remakes would be a great idea in my eyes. Update the graphics, include features of Diamond/Pearl/Platinum, such as online play and touch screen support, change up minor things in the original, and add new areas to explore. LeafGreen/FireRed were good fun just playing through the original games with updated visuals and battle systems, but it was equally fun to explore the new Sevii islands with Pokemon from later games and a new side quest. Only time will tell if Gold and Silver really are being remade. But I really hope the games get remade, and I'm willing to bet they will sometime in the not too distant future.

EDIT: It seems the rumors are true: Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver were announced today. This is fantastic news, as I've explained in this post. My main wishes are that they beef up the Kanto portions of the game, as in the original G/S/C they were pretty half assed. And I also hope they add some new areas to explore (Orange Islands anyone?) This has now become one of my most anticipated games, even with the little we know.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Poll #17 results

I'm really liking doing these weekly polls. I might not get as many votes as when I did it twice a month (usually about half), but it's nice to have a solid schedule of doing it every Sunday. The results of my 17th poll are below.

How many hours a week would you say you spend playing video games? (23 total votes)
  • Less than 5 hours - 26% (6 votes)
  • 5 to 9 hours - 30% (7 votes)
  • 10 to 19 hours - 34% (8 votes)
  • 20 to 29 hours - 4% (2 votes)
  • 30+ hours - 0% (0 votes)
The popular choice here was anywhere from 10 to 19 hours a week of playtime. Following that was , 5 to 9, with 30% of votes. It seems nobody voted for 30 hours or more. Guess most people don't have that much time. I voted for "10 to 19 hours." I play a decent amount of games, even staying up late a lot of the time. But I don't play a lot during the week, saving most of my playtime for weekends when I have a lot more free time.

As usual there is another poll up. The Wii's already seen a large number of Nintendo's franchises. We've had both a Super Mario game and a Legend of Zelda game. We've had Mario Kart, Wario (Land and -Ware), Super Smash Bros., the Excite franchise, Paper Mario, Metroid, and Fire Emblem all on Nintendo's latest console. Punch-Out!! coming this may marks another favorite franchise appearing on the Wii. But not all of Nintendo's hit series have had a Wii iteration. What about Starfox? Or Kirby? This week's poll question is, "Which Nintendo franchise would you love to appear on the Wii the most?"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gaming Forecast - May 2009

The first of May is here and with it comes another monthly dose of the Gaming Forecast feature.

Gaming Forecast May 2009
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Wii and DS, May 1st)
  • New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (Wii, May 4th)
  • Klonoa (Wii, May 5th)
  • Puzzle Kingdoms (DS, May 5th and Wii, May 12th)
  • Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (Wii, May 12th)
  • Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled (DS, May 12th)
  • C.O.R.E. (DS, May 12th)
  • Punch-Out!! (Wii, May 18th)
  • Boom Blox Bash Party (Wii, May 19th)
  • EA Sports Active (Wii, May 19th)
  • Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock (Wii, May 19th)
  • Steal Princess (DS, May 19th)
  • Personal Trainer: Walking (DS, May 25th)
The Wii had a pretty good month this month, with big games like Punch-Out!!, Klonoa, and the almost guaranteed to sell EA Sports Active. The DS was a bit light this month, though Nintendo's Personal Trainer: Walking could be a popular choice among the "expanded audience."

Of the games I want, there's my highly anticipated Punch-Out!! and the beautiful remake Klonoa, which are must buys for me. And later on down the road, maybe when my wallet's not hurting so much, I'll have to check out Boom Blox Bash Party (loved the original) and New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (never played the original).

What about you my dear reader? Are you going to relive some nolstagic Punch-Out!! fun? Or are you saving your money for a month with more worthwhile handheld games?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Six shooters + samurai swords = kickass

Another short article. I think I may start posting a lot more of these with a larger feature or review here and there, rather than empty, post-less weeks.

Just today we got the first details of Red Steel 2. The original was a fairly huge game in terms of hype, as it took advantage both of the Wii's major innovations: IR pointer controls and motion controls. Unfortunately it failed to live up to these standards with clunky controls and overall unenjoyable gameplay. While it (mostly) bombed with critics, it went on to sell over a million copies. But now that the Wii's been out for over two years... enter Red Steel 2!

Katana-wielding cowboys and a cel-shaded art style? Count me in!

While we haven't gained much information about it from the two preview pictures of the next issue of Nintendo Power, there's been enough to have me fairly excited. For one, the pictures show a dude with a cowboy hat, a revolver, and a samurai sword. Wild-west meets oriental east is a combination not seen in a lot of things, whether it's movies, video games, or anything else. It's a very unique concept that is appealing much like ninjas vs. pirates.

The issue also reconfirms MotionPlus, which fits perfect with this game and its precision based sword combat. Also you may notice the cel-shaded art style seen on the cover; whether this is just concept art and not in game graphics is yet to be seen, but I hope these are the actual graphics, for it has the potential of looking very great stylistically!

All in all, I hope that the added benefits of Wii MotionPlus and not having to be rushed out for a launch title, Red Steel 2 can end up being a great game and everything its prequel should have been. But I also hope that Ubisoft doesn't hurry to get it out as one of the first Wii MotionPlus titles, dooming it like they did with the first. I'm remaining optimistic at this point, but only time will tell how the game really turns out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So many games, so little money

Extremely short article this time around. Don't worry though, I have several larger post ideas that hopefully can all be made into reality.

I've become to realize something over the past few days: there are a lot of great Wii games coming out. Maybe a couple aren't up the the caliber of "hardcore" as MadWorld and The House of the Dead: Overkill, but there are some quality games releasing in the coming months.

Socking King Hippo in the stomach, just one of many great experiences to be had this May!

I haven't even picked up the surprisingly awesome looking Excitebots: Trick Racing. Then there's Punch-Out!!, the Boom Blox sequel, and Klonoa coming out this May. That's not even mentioning New Play Control! versions of Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (due out in May as well) and Pikmin 2 (no solid release date for North America, but it'll most likely be here sooner than later since Europe's already gotten it). Some of the listed Wii games may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's no denying May is hope to quality releases. But even in the months following May we'll see the releases of huge titles like The Conduit and Wii Sports Resort, not to mention Little King's Story.

That's a total of nine games I'm really looking forward to. And that's nine reasons I'm very happy to be a Wii owner. But what I'm not happy about is having to spend money on all nine of these games! With this school year nearing it's end (it can't come soon enough!) I'll have to start looking for a summer job to pay for all these. Because I certainly don't want to miss out on some great Wii fun. How about you? Are you loving the support the Wii's getting? Is your wallet hurting as well?