Welcome to week one of Operation Sports official Punch-Out strategy guide. This week we examine the game’s Minor Circuit. With its collection of washed up "has beens" -- Glass Joe constitutes as a "never was" -- the Minor Circuit is a fairly easy task for veterans of the series. If you have never played Punch-Out before, or are a veteran looking for some tips on how to score quick knockouts and snag star unlocks, look no further.
Predictably, Glass Joe is the easiest opponent you will face in Punch-Out. As if he didn't take enough damage from Little Mac back in 1987, Joe steps back in to the ring to absorb more punishment. Use your bout with Joe to adjust to the new motion controls. It is almost impossible to lose to Glass Joe, so make sure you use this opportunity to fine-tune your dodging, ducking, blocking and punching skills.
Joe is only able to throw two main attacks at you, a left jab and a right uppercut. You can avoid each of these attacks easily enough by simply dodging to the opposite direction and counter-punching Joe in any way you see fit. Feel free to block Joe’s attacks, but since he obviously tips each of his punches before he throws them, you should have no trouble dodging his punches.
Pay close attention to Joe’s taunts. If you time your punches right, you will be rewarded with an instant knockdown directly after Joe’s "Viva la France" speech, or a star when Joe poses in the center of the ring. You will also be able to score easy stars on Joe by hitting him with body shots as he pauses to throw a right uppercut.
This wily German has one distinct advantage over Glass Joe: He actually takes the fight to you. Kaiser is actually easier to beat than Joe since you can easily rack up stars via counter punches, making the fight extremely quick once you execute the strategy noted below. Make sure you use Kaiser to get your dodge, duck and super punch throwing timing down because these are critical skills to learn early in the game.
Kaiser’s attacks are identical to Glass Joe’s. To earn easy stars, make sure to pound Von Kaiser with body shots as soon as you see him shake his head back and forth. Once you have earned enough stars to feel comfortable, right dodge Kaiser’s next attack, counter punch with a solid jab to stun him, and watch him cower behind his gloves and say "mommy." Within a second of this animation, Kaiser will lower one of his gloves to sneak a peek at you, and this is when you need to unleash your 1-, 2- or 3-star super punch. Rinse and repeat and you will TKO Von Kaiser in a matter of minutes.
It’s important to note that even if you are hit by Kaiser and lose your stars, you can still use standard face jabs to eventually knock him out over the course of three rounds. The above strategy is critical if you want to accomplish the Von Kaiser exhibition challenges, so try to max your stars out before unleashing your super punch.
Disco Kid is by far the most annoying character to ever be added to the Punch-Out franchise. Not only will his voice drive you crazy, his taunts will make you want to punch him in real life. The fight against Kid may seem complicated at first, but once you get through one of his attack patterns, you will quickly learn he is no tougher than Glass Joe or Von Kaiser.
Just like your previous two opponents, Disco Kid only has two easily avoidable attacks. If you pop Kid with a strong jab to the mouth as the pretty boy does his disco pose, you will be rewarded with an easy star. With a star under your belt, all you need to do is dodge right any time Kid throws a punch at you. Once Kid misses, make good use of your super punch -- or jab combos if you run out of stars -- to make quick work of this disco-loving jive turkey.
If you want to score an instant knockdown of Disco Kid, make sure to hit him with a star punch whenever he poses. Utilizing this strategy almost feels like cheating, but after listening to Kid’s catch phrases, you will want to end this fight as soon as possible.
King Hippo marks the game's first real challenge, and this title bout can be tough if you are not familiar with the King's new punch timing. Hippo's punches drain much more power from Little Mac's health meter than previous opponents, so all of the dodging and ducking practice you have put yourself through so far will come in handy. You only need to knock the King down once to end his reign of terror, but his ability to take large amounts of punishment allows him to survive into the later rounds unless, of course, you know how to best utilize your punches.
Hippo throws four main punches at you, two of which can be countered with well-timed punches and two that can simply be avoided by dodging right. As any Punch-Out veteran knows, Hippo is most vulnerable when he opens his mouth and attempts his overhand punches. When you see the monstrosity open his mouth and attempt this attack, make sure to tag him in the chops, which will initiate the classic stunned Hippo animation. Then make sure to work Hippo’s stomach, causing him to drop his shorts, until he recoils towards the ropes and attempts to throw a straight jab at you. You will not be able to counter Hippo’s straight jabs, but you will be able to dodge them by simply moving to the right.
As easy as Hippo may seem, he does have a secret weapon in his repertoire. It is an attack so powerful that it has the potential to completely change the complexion of a match. When Hippo raises both hands above his head, be prepared to either duck or quickly counter-punch the King with a body shot. If Hippo is able to connect, you will find yourself losing almost 50 percent of your health, so make sure you do not risk losing the match by being too aggressive. I have found that it is easier to survive the match by ducking Hippo’s super attack rather than trying to counter, but those attempting to complete the exhibition challenge (KO a Crownless King Hippo) will need to master the timing of the counter hook to his stomach.
Regardless of your strategy to deal with Hippo's special attack, by the end of round one you should be able to stay on your feet long enough to knock the heavyweight down and score an easy KO.
Check back next week as I examine the game’s much more demanding Major Circuit. I suggest perfecting your skills on the Minor Circuit before moving on to the next level -- things are only going to get tougher for Little Mac.
Have you been able to find a strategy that works other than what is mentioned in this article? Share your personal tips and tricks for the Minor Circuit below.