This week we tackle the dreaded World Circuit in the official OS Punch-Out strategy guide (Minor Circuit, Major Circuit). This circuit will not only test your reflexes but also your patience. So if you want to keep your record unscathed, then be sure to spend plenty of time sparring against the holographic representations of your World Circuit foes.
If you are unfamiliar with Ryan's attack pattern, then he is the type of opponent that can TKO Little Mac in a matter of minutes. It is extremely important to realize that the only way to successfully knock out Ryan is by counter-punching him just before he throws a punch at you. Be sure to carefully observe Ryan’s attacks that are initiated to the left, center and right of Mac, and then be prepared to perfectly time a counter punch right before Ryan delivers a blow.
If you time your punches correctly, you will begin to notice that Ryan will be unable to land a punch on Mac before Ryan hits the canvas himself. If you happen to miss a counter punch on Ryan, simply dodge right since every one of his attacks can be avoided this way. It is important to note that if you dodge one of Ryan’s attacks and then counter, you will only be able to land one punch, rather than an entire combo if you catch Ryan mid-punch. If you avoid his quick left hook after your initial counter punch lands, then you should be able to cruise to victory.
The best way to land stars on Ryan is by blocking his headbutt at the last second. If done correctly you will notice that Ryan will be stunned, and he will leave himself open for a quick jab to the face, earning you the star. Another more difficult star can be earned by hitting Ryan during his taunt, just as his face flashes yellow. If you want to knock Ryan out, then you must earn stars, otherwise count on a win by decision -- Ryan "is like a piece of iron."
Vodka Drunkenski, ahem, Soda Popinski, is a surprisingly easy opponent to face this late in the game. To take the boisterous Russkie down with ease, just make sure to dodge to the right during all but one of his attacks, and never let him rejuvenate his health by taking a swig of his "pop."
Popinski will throw a flurry of hooks and uppercuts at you that are fairly easy to avoid. The only real challenge in this fight is when Popinski’s health gets low -- that's when he decides to throw a right hook at you that you must duck. At this point in the fight, you will be so used to dodging to the right that this change in strategy can be difficult. Make sure to dodge this punch, unleash a flurry of jabs, and watch Popinski crumble as you chant "USA! USA!"
Stars can be earned easily in this fight as long as you are quick on the draw. Anytime Popinski takes out his pop to regenerate health make sure to knock it out of his hands for an instant star. You can also earn an easy star when Popinski flashes yellow during his taunt (see a pattern developing here?).
Bald Bull returns to the Punch-Out franchise with a vengeance. As intimidating as Bull looks in 480p, he really is no more difficult than his previous incarnations from the NES and SNES versions of the series. All of Bull’s punches can be dodged by moving to the left, but the real difficulty during this fight is anticipating Bull’s punch timing. If you are able to train yourself to realize the fact that Bull varies his punch speed and delivery, this fight should be over quickly.
Bull’s most dangerous punch is his patented Bull Rush, denoted by the camera pulling in on Bull breathing steam. Make sure to quickly dodge to the left during all three of the uppercuts Bull throws, and you will be out of the woods Be careful, however, as one connection from this attack will have Mac seeing stars.
An even better tactic for countering Bull’s special move is to pull a Great Tiger on him: catch him with a perfectly timed body hook for the instant knockdown. While this is not an easy tactic to pull off, it can be accomplished if you are skilled enough and have quick reflexes (in other words anyone who has read all three of the OS Punch Out guides).
Earning stars against Bull is an extremely difficult task. You will be forced to awkwardly time your counter punches in order to unlock the star (e.g., four quick jabs followed by two slow jabs). I have not had much success using this tactic against Bull, and have discovered that it is much easier to unlock stars when Bull taunts and flashes yellow.
Super Macho Man
Much like Randy Savage, Super Macho Man relies on the wrestling clothesline to try and end your championship dream. The key to this fight is to dodge to the right during any uppercut, counter with jabs to the Macho Man’s pony-tailed head and then make sure to duck any other punch the wanna be wrestler throws.
Once you soften the Macho Man up by dodging his moderate attacks and following up with jab combos, be ready for a flurry of more powerful attacks. This is the point in the match where you will get your first taste of the standard Macho Clothesline, so be prepared to duck as soon as you see Macho Man begin this animation -- tipped off by a hand wiggle. Once you have successfully ducked this attack, you are free to unleash a combo of facial jabs that will dramatically lower Macho Man’s health.
The most powerful attack you will have witnessed in the game, at least at this point, is the Macho Clothesline move. As soon as you see the Macho Man beginning to pose and the lights begin to dim behind him, look for him to wiggle his hand just as he did during the standard clothesline. As soon as you see the wiggle, make sure to duck -- otherwise you will have to deal with an instant knockdown. If you can escape this attack unscathed, you should have no problem knocking Macho Man down and scoring a KO by round 2.
The best way I have found to score an easy star on Macho Man is by punching him in the face when he taunts you (his face will turn yellow). It is possible to earn stars by varying your punch speed during a combo to Macho Man’s face (much like earning stars against Bald Bull). While this method has been confirmed, it is incredibly difficult to pull off, and it is not really necessary to take Macho Man down.
Sandman is your final foe, and he is all that stands between you and the W.V.B.A. title belt. Strangely enough, Sandman is not even the toughest opponent you will face in the game. (I’m still giving that award to Great Tiger.) Sandman's attacks are the fastest you will see in the game, so it is necessary to stay on your toes if you hope to win the title.
The beauty of this fight is that you are able to dodge to the left or right during any of Sandman’s attacks -- giving you some leeway when reacting to Sandman's super-speed punches. As long as you can anticipate his punches, watch for his haymaker tells and perfect your dodge timing, you can get through this fight without taking much damage.
Be prepared to make it through all 3 rounds in this battle because of Sandman’s uncanny ability to recover from your counter punches after only a couple of them. Just stay patient and the damage you inflict will take its toll on the soon-to-be-former champ. One of the better strategies I discovered during my fight with Sandman was to vary my punch-types to extend the length of my combos later in the fight. Sandman seemed less likely to recover from head then body shot combos, at least when compared to straight head- or body-shot-only combos. Keep pounding away and Little Mac will put Mr. Sandman to sleep for good.
When compared to the last two foes, earning stars against Mr. Sandman is much less taxing. If you want to earn an easy star, the best strategy is to watch out for whenever Sandman flinches and winks one of his eyes. If you are able to jab the eye post-wink, you will score a star. You will have several opportunities to earn these stars throughout the bout, so be prepared to take advantage of them.
Congratulations, you have once again helped Little Mac claim the W.V.B.A. Championship Belt. But don’t be too proud of yourself, now it’s time to tackle the game's insanely difficult Title Defense mode. Do you have what it takes to defend Mac’s title? Hopefully the tips learned throughout these three strategy guides will help. Best of luck, you’re going to need it.