Power Punch II‘s development history is an interesting tale. Riding on the heels of its successful Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Nintendo decided to begin working on a sequel with the help of a development company named Beam Software. Things started going downhill before it even got started. Mike Tyson, the poster boy for the series, was facing trial for rape accusations. That served as a problem, for this upcoming game was to star him again, and this time, players were actually going to control him. To not raise controversy, Beam Software had replaced Mike Tyson with the look-a-like Mark Tyler, who wore pink short to differentiate him from his obvious inspiration. It didn’t stop there: As the game continued in development, Nintendo disapproved of the its terrible quality and dropped the contract, leaving another company to publish it. That dubious honor would go to American Softworks Corp. The original title was going to be Punch-Out!! 2, but since Nintendo of course kept the rights to the name, it was given the confusing title Power Punch II (there actually is no Power Punch part one).
So here you are, as Mark Tyler, the Greatest Boxer Ever. So great that humans can’t even touch you. Mark Tyler is so cocky, he says he’ll except any challenge form anywhere and anyone. Some aliens catch word of this and challenge him to an intergalactic boxing championship of epic proportions. Mark Tyler accepts this otherworldly challenge and prepares for the fight. With such an intriguing story, how could Nintendo pass this game up?!? If the story wasn’t enough to make you vomit in disgust, the rest of the game will. Before each fight, you can go and train, which is strongly recommended, or you will lose no matter what. Good luck however on figuring out what exactly to do in training. Correctly mastering the training segments will power you up for the next match, and my word, will you need it if you plan on seeing this game to the end (not recommended).
The actual fighting scenes are about the equivalent of someone spitting in your face. For starters, the essence of the Punch-Out!! gameplay is entirely removed – there’s no counterattacking, and thus, no real strategy. It’s just punching, dodging, and more punching. The computer-controlled combatants are grossly overpowered and always command the fight. They have an overwhelming reach and they back up to dodge your attacks. That would be just fine, if only you could do the same thing. You can only move left and right. That’s not even a sidestep like the usual Punch-Out!! norm, but just slowly inching either left or right. While the opponent is able to dance all over the place, you are stuck on a single plane. Want to give your opponent a swift uppercut? Go ahead. Oh wait, he moved back one inch, making you miss entirely. Another horrific downfall of this game during the fights is the sheer power of your opponents. They can attack you with quick jabs that quickly reduce life gauge, while it takes 20 jabs of your own to bring the enemies’ life gauge down even one notch. Turns out the aliens are better than Mark Tyler.
From a technical stand point, the game is mediocre at best. It would have had decent graphics for 1986, but this game wasn’t released in 1986. It was released in 1992. Every single character is remarkably ugly. Things don’t fare much better in the sound department, either. As a whole, the game walks a line between boring and massively frustrating. It’s like in the same league as Strider Returns: Journey From Darkness, as far as piss poor “sequels” go. It’s no wonder Nintendo decided not to publish this. A beta ROM that still features Mike Tyson was released on the internet in 2009, for those who are curious.