only have four fights to go by in the game's very simplified "Minor Title" circuit, but in this hands-on it's clear that Next Level's nailed it. This is true Punch-Out!!, 15 years later and designed with current gaming standards in mind.
The first fight in the demo kicks off just like classic Punch-Out!!: a fight against Glass Joe, the brittle boxer who'll hit the canvas faster than a dropped sack of flour. The Wii rendition of Glass Joe has changed from a generic, weak white guy to a baguette-loving Frenchman who speaks in fluent Pepe le Pew dialect. Fight two features the return of Von Kaiser, an old-timey fisticuffs boxer who clearly has issues of being abused as a child – pummel him repeatedly and he'll cower into a shell calling for his Mommy. Literally. A new character returns for Fight Number Three: Disco Kid. His grinning anime-inspired smirk was a joy to smash, and he swishes his backside before big attacks with the dancing skills of a young John Travolta. The final bout was against the immense King Hippo, who had the same attack patterns as he did in the NES: nail him in the face, then pound him in his bandaged gut to weaken him severely.
The darkened arena surrounding the ring bristles with life, and we're sure we caught a glimpse of a joke or two in the sea of the crowd. The characters lip sync all their dialogue, of which there's a ton of well-acted sound bites. Doc Louis is incredibly charming as your ringside coach and offers the same level of advice, both useful and useless, all voice acted. He even hilariously asks you to join the Nintendo Fun Club before correcting himself, advertising Club Nintendo instead.
before the fights players are offered a bit of character backstory for each of the fighters through detailed, non-animating comic book-style cutscenes.
Though I was reluctant to test the motion controls, I gave them a shot. And I actually wasn't disappointed. The motion sensing is extremely responsive, and it's simply used for right hand/left hand punches – it's not trying to recognize direction or strength.