Punch-Out!! (パンチアウト!!, Punch-Out!!) for the NES is the first home console installment in the Punch-Out!! franchise of boxing games, and the third game in the series overall, after the arcade Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!. It was released in three successive versions: a contest-only version in Japan named Punch-Out!!; a licensed release named Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! which added real-life boxer Mike Tyson as a bonus opponent; and finally Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, which replaced Tyson with a generic character due to the license having expired.
While the arcade Punch-Out!! games used a wireframe model to show the player character from behind while keeping his opponent visible, the NES was not capable of such graphics. Instead, the developers opted to make the player character small enough to see over. This resulted in a comically short protagonist who had to jump up to hit his opponents' faces; he was thus dubbed Little Mac and characterized as a plucky underdog. In later appearances, Mac's short stature would be less exaggerated, though it remained a defining trait.
Gameplay in Punch-Out!! revolves mainly around dodging and countering opponents' attacks, as if Little Mac attacks aggressively, his strikes will be blocked and he will tire out. Well-timed blows reward the player with stars, which can be used to unleash a powerful Star Punch. The game features a variety of quirky boxers to fight, each with unique attack patterns.
Though it was eventually followed by sequels for the SNES and Wii, the NES installment of Punch-Out!!, and in particular the Mike Tyson edition, remains the most popular and well-known game in the series by a considerable margin.
In the Super Smash Bros. series
Little Mac's first named appearance was in this game. However, Smash seems to somewhat conflate Little Mac with the unnamed, differently designed protagonist of the Punch-Out!! arcade titles, giving him an alternate wireframe design and promotional artwork based on the arcade cabinets. Little Mac's trainer, Doc Louis, also debuted in this game.
The training theme that plays whenever Little Mac is jogging, as well as the main Circuit theme, play on the Boxing Ring stage.