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15 years after he first appeared Little Mac is back in the latest Punch-Out for the Nintendo Wii. Punch-Out features a roster of 13 opponents for Little Mac to battle. You'll be fighting each twice, since you'll be defending your title against much better versions of these fighters once you win the belt. Punch-Out is almost good enough to be on the list of the 5 best Wii games for hardcore gamers.
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Punch-Out! Boxing Basics
Offense - Little Mac has four normal punches, a left and right jab and a left and right hook. Jabs are faster punches aimed at the head usually, while hooks are usually lower blows aimed at the torso in Punch-Out. All of these punches have their uses, and in many cases you'll get visual clues by watching your opponent as to which punch to throw and from what angle. Generally speaking, watch for opponents to leave their face or body unguarded (either by blocking high or low or winding up to throw a punch), and then hit them where they're exposed.
Defense - Little Mac has four defensive options. He can duck, dodge to the left or right or throw his gloves up to protect his face from weaker hits like some jabs. Blocking will become less and less useful as you progress through Punch-Out and eventually you'll face opponents whose blows your defensive options won't be able to stop. Dodging will become your primary defensive mode later in the game.
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Stamina and Hearts, Stars and Star Punches
Stamina and Hearts - Both little Mac and his opponents have stamina meters which show how much health they have left. If the meter is depleted, a knockdown occurs. After rising from a knockdown, the stamina meter will refill somewhat and the fight will continue. Little Mac's fatigue level is measured by his Hearts. Mac can lose Hearts by throwing punches that are blocked or by getting hit. If he runs out of Hearts, Mac will turn purple and lose his ability to attack until he dodges a punch or is knocked down, at which point his Hearts reset.
Stars and Star Punches - Little Mac can earn up to three Stars by punching opponents at the right time during a match. Each opponent has different methods for obtaining Stars, but the most common are by counter-punching (hitting opponents before they can throw their punch) or punching a taunting opponent. Mac can use Stars to throw Star Punches, powerful uppercuts that deal significant damage. The more Stars you have, the more damage the Star Punch inflicts. Using a Star Punch depletes your Stars, but you'll also lose them if you get hit. Punch-Out is a video game that could be included on a list of the 5 best Wii games for couples to work out their frustrations.
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Basic Boxing Skills
Stamina Regeneration Methods - Little Mac has two ways to regain some lost stamina. First, after knocking down an opponent, rapidly tap 1 and 2 (or more the Wii Remote and Nunchuk back and forth) and Little Mac will slowly re-generate stamina while he's waiting for the other guy to get back up. Second, between rounds while Doc Louis is giving you some helpful advice, press the - button to make Doc eat a chocolate bar. When you return to the ring, you'll get a nice boost to your remaining stamina. This trick can only be used once per fight, before the start of round 2 or round 3. Punch-Out would be a nice video game to see how the game could be improved using the Wii MotionPlus.
Little Mac's Last Chance - When Mac takes a hit that would either KO or TKO him and end the fight, you can rapidly tap 1 or 2 (or move the Wii Remote and Nunchuk back and forth) to possibly recover before falling down and be granted a final opportunity to win the fight. Mac will catch himself with one foot, raise his head, regain some stamina and get back to the fight. If you catch another knockdown punch after that, it's fight over. I didn't experience any Wii remote accidents while playing Punch-Out.
If Little Mac looses 100 matches in Career Mode, Doc will tell you that you've earned a gift from the WVBA commissioner. Choose "Options" at the opponent' select screen to find a new "Gift" option. When you open this gift, you'll unlock the "Headgear Assist" option. Activate this option to enable a "Headgear" option box at the opponent stats screen (the one that appears immediately after you select an opponent). If you active the "Headgear" option before you click "Fight", Mac will wear the headgear during the match and take less damage.