It's a crying shame that it has taken the powers-that-be at Nintendo 15 years to give us a new version of Punch-out!! but it was worth the wait.
In the time between Little Mac's first venture into the ring against the likes of Glass Joe and King Hippo, there have been an endless number of opportunities to drag the pretty-boy boxer out of retirement on the likes of the Game Boy Advance, the Nintendo 64, and the Nintendo DS, to name but a few. So my biggest question I'm still left asking even after playing the new game is, what was the hold up?
The success of Wii Sports' cutesy, fun boxing element may well have been the catalyst to prompt Nintendo to dust Little Mac's gloves off and get him back in the ring.
Looking at other boxing games for the Wii, fans of the original game could be justifiably worried about what would happen to their beloved game in the transition to the console.
But they can breathe a sigh of relief, as nearly everything that was great and finger-numbingly addictive about the 1994 Super Nintendo classic remains intact in Punch-Out!! for the Wii.
Developer Next Level Games knew it had a good thing going with the basics, and decided not to fix what wasn't broke too much, while making a number of key improvements.
The game follows the boxing career of our old pal Little Mac, who, alongside his trainer Doc Louis, has to beat 13 contenders in order to win the WVBA World Championship. If you've played the previous games, you'll recognise just about everyone on the roster, from Bald Bull to Mr. Sandman and Bear Hugger to Aran Ryan.
Of the main roster, just one character, Disco Kid, who is introduced very early on in the career, is new. That's right, 15 years have passed and the series has only introduced one new character, a flashy disco dancer that fits in nicely with the existing roster. Still, it's a bit disappointing to see so few new faces, particularly when Super Punch-Out!! introduced so many new faces some 15 years ago.
Everything that is good about this boxing legend remains, classic gameplay that feels familiar, with a handful of fresh and unexpected challenges that are as entertaining as they are challenging.
You can use a combination of the Wii remote and nunchuck, with or without the balance board (balance board is too unreliable and makes play frustrating when dodges dont register) or just tilt the Wii remote sideways and bash away on the trusty pad.
bucksherald.co.uk rating: 9 - It's a knockout.
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