If you grew up in the late eighties or early nineties playing video games then Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on the Nintendo Entertainment System should bring back a ton of memories. This game is now a cult classic and back in 1987 was the 1st of the Punch-Out series to appear on a console. I remember the first time I played as a kid and was instantly hooked by the quirky cast of boxing characters your character Little Mac had to beat. Who could forget the first time you saw King Hippo appear and laugh your face off when you saw a punch drop his shorts for the first time? The magic of this NES classic game was never quite repeated even though they tried it with later console generations and specifically Super Punch-Out on Super Nintendo.
All the boxing characters that appear in the 1987 version of Punch-Out are great and each brings a unique style and personality to the game. In total there are 23 matches featuring 14 fighters in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, this includes Little Mac the main boxer of the game that you control. You compete in 3 boxing circuits – The Minor Circuit, The Major Circuit, and The World Circuit.
Here is the list of all characters that appear in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on the Nintendo system. Little Mac’s opponents are listed in order of appearance.
Minor Circuit Characters
#1 – Glass Joe
Specialty Move: Taunt Punch
Glass Joe is the first character Little Mac has to take on in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. He is not much competition for Mac and has the weakest chin in the game. You can use him as a practice tool to perfect your dodging and punching counterattacks.
#2 – Von Kaiser
Specialty Move: Right Uppercut
The German fighter Von Kaiser is challenger #2 for Little Mac and like Glass Joe provides little resistance. The knock-kneed Kaiser is a bit of a challenge to new players who haven’t mastered dodging yet but will quickly become easy prey as you learn the game.
#3 – Piston Honda
Specialty Move: Honda Rush Attack
Little Mac’s first big challenge comes in the 1st meeting with Piston Honda. His punches hit hard especially if he catches you with one of his uppercuts. He has a specialty jab combination called the Honda Rush and if he catches you with those it can be game over.
Major Circuit Characters
#4 – Don Flamenco
Specialty Move: Flamenco Uppercut
The Spanish lady’s man Don Flamenco is first up for Little Mac on the Major circuit. He’s a quirky character that taunts you until you throw the first punch. He will then unleash a monster uppercut that can be easily dodged with experience. He’s the quickest guy you can KO if you can master the timing.
#5 – King Hippo
Specialty Move: Hippo Rush
One of my personal favorite characters in the game and the funniest hands down. He’s got a big mouth, a big gut, and big shorts. The latter is the key to victory. His oversized shorts will hit the ground with the right punch and when he goes to pick them up Little Mac can finish him off. X marks the spot with King Hippo, true diehards will get the reference.
#6 – Great Tiger
Specialty Move: Teleport Punch
The Great Tiger can be a tough challenge on the Major circuit and it takes some time to perfect beating him. He has a quick left counter jab that is hard to dodge and his teleport punch is a nightmare to contend with the 1st go around. Pay attention to his turban as it tips his punches.
#7 – Bald Bull
Specialty Move: Bull Charge
One of the most intimidating characters in the game and as a beginner, he will give you fits. It took me forever to finally beat Bald Bull and trying to time his Bull Charge attack sent many controllers flying across the room. Here’s a tip – Look to the crowd when he starts charging you, there is a “tell” of when to throw a punch to bet him.
World Circuit Characters
#8 – Piston Honda
Specialty Move: Honda Rush, Wiggle Uppercut
Piston Honda returns in the Major Circuit for a rematch with Little Mac. He has improved this time around with greater defensive abilities and is much more aggressive.
#9 – Soda Popinski
Specialty Move: Juke Move Triple Jab
Soda Popinski, originally known as Vodka Drunkenski, is a mountain of a character to defeat in the second match of the world circuit. He has a famous evil laugh which he taunts his opponents with throughout the match. He can be beaten fairly easily with quick dodge and punch moves but if he catches you it’s a devastating blow to your health.
#10 – Bald Bull
Record: 34 – 5
Specialty Move: Bull Charge
Another familiar opponent appears in fight #10 for Little Mac, the menacing Bald Bull. He’s one of the toughest fighters to defeat in the NES version of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. This version of Bald Bull is one tough match and can drive you nuts. He can only get beaten by countering his Bull Charge or a well-timed uppercut.
#11 – Don Flamenco
Record: 22 – 4
Specialty Move: Counter Uppercut
Another rematch is up next against the dancing Spaniard Don Flamenco. He is quite annoying this time around as his defense is much approved. He can often make you go 2 rounds in order to win but for the world circuit, he is not that much of a challenge.
#12 – Mr. Sandman
Specialty Move: Dreamland Express
Now we get to the legendary characters of Tyson’s Punch-Out, the best of the best. First up is the Sandman who has one of the meanest mugs in the game. He’s got an arsenal of punching weapons including rolling jabs and extremely quick and powerful uppercuts called the Dreamland Express. Beating him your first couple of times through the game is a formidable task.
#13 – Super Macho Man
Specialty Move: Macho Spin Punch
Down to the final two challenges in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. The first time facing Macho Man is a learning experience that’s for sure. Although his moves mimic Soda Popinski he’s way tougher to figure out. He has a lightning-quick uppercut and a special spinning “Macho Punch” that will knock you into the next decade. Try not to be distracted by his dancing pec muscles.
#14 – Mike Tyson
Specialty Move: Macho Spin Punch
If you have made it this far then congrats, you have run the gauntlet and get to face the most fierce boxer in the game. The legend Mike Tyson is the toughest character to beat with TKO power on every punch. The first time facing him is nerve-racking, to say the least. You will likely need 5, 10, or maybe 20+ attempts in order to figure out how to beat him.
Mike Tyson Punch-Out Codes
Punch-Out was one of those games where you desperately asked friends or bought video game magazines in search of cheat codes to help you make it through the game. Before the secrets came out on how to beat each boxer it was incredibly hard to make it all the way to the end of the game to face Mike Tyson. Here are some of the most popular codes for Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out:
- Start at Major Circuit – 005 737 542
- Start at World Circuit – 777 807 345
- Start at Super Macho Man – 940 861 853
- Fight Mike Tyson – 007 373 596
- Access Another World Circuit – 135 792 4680 with A+B+select
- Hear Busy Signal – 800 422 2602
Mike Tyson’s Involvement
Mike Tyson was one of the most well-known boxers of the 1980s and was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at the time. He was a force to be reckoned with in the boxing world and was widely considered one the most dangerous men in the world. His boxing matches were must-see TV and he truly was one of the greatest sports spectacles of all time.
Nintendo secured the rights to use Tyson’s name and likeness in the game, which only added to the game’s popularity. Tyson’s involvement helped to promote the game to a new level and made it more appealing to casual boxing fans. I think you can make a fair argument that without Mike Tyson as the spokesperson and without his character in the game Punch-Out would not have become one of the greatest-selling video games in history and held in such high regard to this day.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! was so successful that it has spawned several sequels and remakes over the years and remains on everyone’s Top 10 List as one of the greatest games ever made. The game spawned two sequels; Super Punch-Out for Super Nintendo and Wii Punch-Out for the Wii system. It has also been included in various compilations and retro consoles that Nintendo has released which sparked a renewed interest in the franchise. The game’s legacy has inspired many other boxing games over the years and sports games, in general, have learned from the success of Mike Tyson’s Punchout.
In conclusion, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! is a classic video game that had a major impact on the video game industry. Its success helped to establish Nintendo as a major player in the industry, and it has continued to be a popular game for many years. Tyson’s involvement and the game’s intuitive gameplay and charming graphics helped to make it one of the greatest video games of all time that will forever stand the test of time.