Even when I was a kid I never was much of a Mike Tyson's Punch Out fan. I always thought it looked kind of ridiculous how they settled on making the main character a tiny little midget while all the other boxers were three times his size. Just didn't look right. Thankfully this Snes update improves upon the situation a lot. A transparency effect is used to make your boxer see-though, which actually looks a lot better than the grid-lines used in the arcade versions. Thus your boxer gets to be a normal sized human being and not have to jump up on his tippy toes to punch the other guy in the face.
You get the standard jabs and body blows from the other versions. You also get four advanced punches that become available once your K. O. meter lights up, a right hook, rapid fire right hook, uppercut, and flurry uppercut. Each one does tons of damage but will leave you sitting pretty like a chump begging for counterattack if mistimed. Like the arcade version of punch out you can actually "counterattack," i.e. quickly punch the other boxer while he's attempting to punch you from the opposite side, however a botched counterattack attempt inflicts double damage on you.
The main attraction of Punch out is the strange characters you get to beat down, and this one lives up to the standard. You face 16 fighters through four world circuits. Bald Bull, Mr. Sandman, and Super Macho Man return from Mike Tyson's Punch out, Dragon Chan, Bear Hugger, and Piston Hurricane come from the arcade versions, but the majority are all new boxers that haven't been in any other versions. As expected the early ones are cake, it's not until halfway through the game where things start to get hard. Each bad-guy fighter has some kind of gimmicky special move that can usually be countered to get the K. O. Aran Ryan grabs you to regain health (and squeeze away yours.) Bob Charlie has this crazy dancing Jamaican Spin punch. Some of these bastards get pretty cheap with it - Masked Muscle will head butt you and spit in your eye (whereupon your "vision" becomes blurry and pixilated for a short time.) The final two boxers have the ability to "break" your hand, which leaves that arm unusable for a few seconds as they gleefully beat the stuffing out of you. Overall the character design for the game is top notch. The enemy boxers are funny and mostly goofy looking in that cartoonish sort of way, but one thing they're not are whimps.
The game is pretty tough, but not so much that you can't beat it with practice. Unlike the old 8-bit version most of the boxers don't seem to follow any set pattern, however there are overall strategies that can be used to defeat them easily, some in as little as 9 seconds. For those of us who won't spend a year mastering this game a good set of eyes and quick reflexes will be enough to get you about halfway through before you've got to start digging up the FAQs in order to proceed.
Overall an excellent game, fixes all of the flaws in the 8-bit version and expands on the gameplay of the arcade versions. They should have put King Hippo in the game.
Graphics: Excellent. Cartoony boxers look a little silly but have lots of animation. Good transparency and scaling effects.
Sound: Lots of high quality voice samples throughout for each boxer's particular taunt or special.
Gameplay: Stick and move, stick and move.. There's a large assortment of enemy boxers, each with their own personalities and specials. Doesn't do much for replay value, but there is a Time attack mode as well.