Super Punch-Out!! (lost beta builds of Super Nintendo boxing puzzle game; 1994)

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Screenshot of a beta build.

Status: Lost

Super Punch-Out!! was the fourth entry in Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series. Originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in September 1994, it tasks the player to guide a boxer towards achieving glory in four boxing circuits, learning their opponents' patterns to secure victory. In a Japanese commercial, and as part of the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, beta versions were showcased, featuring different sound effects and a considerably altered player model.


Like with the other games in the series, the challenge for the player in Super Punch-Out!! is its puzzle elements, as the player must fight against larger, considerably more powerful foes.[1][2][3][4][5] Only via the player's reflexes and timing will they stand any chance of succeeding, being required to dodge, block, and duck various powerful strikes heading their way and then counter-attack.[2][3] Unlike with the NES version, the SNES game incorporated more elements from the original arcade versions.[6][1][2] By landing consistent attacks without getting hit, the player can activate a "Power-Up" status which will enable them to land more powerful attacks like rapid punches and KO uppercut and hook punches.[2][3]

The player progresses through four circuits, culminating in facing Minor Circuit champion Bald Bull, Major Circuit Champion Mr. Sandman, World Circuit Champion Super Macho Man, and finally, Special Circuit Champion Nick Bruiser.[4][3][2][6] The most striking element of Super Punch-Out!! compared to the previous games and later Wii release is the player model.[7][1][5] While he still retains the traditional smaller look that makes him an underdog, the character is considerably brawnier and has blond hair.[1][7][5] It has led to debate over whether the character is actually Little Mac featured in the other games, or a separate individual.[8][7] Nintendo itself insists he is Little Mac.[9][8][7]

The game would be showcased at the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, held from 23rd-25th June.[6][1] Interestingly, the beta version, which could be played at the event, featured certain differences to the finished product.[1][8][7] Among these included different sound effects emitting from the player characters and opponents, with Bear Hugger's theme also having yet to be incorporated into the game and thus relying on Gabby Jay's. More interestingly was that a completely different player model was programmed into the beta version.[1][8][7] With darker hair and a considerably leaner physique, some Punch-Out!! fans have noted this player model resembles Little Mac more so than the final release version.[1][8][7] Footage of the event indicates the beta version nearly reflected a complete version of the game, with similar gameplay and with the player model being fully animated.[1] It is unknown if the beta player model had a pose celebrating a championship victory, as the footage from the available 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show shows the player unable to beat Bear Hugger. Considering Super-Punch Out!! was originally released in September 1994, it meant the player model changed within just three months of release.[10][1][6] Currently, it is unclear as to the reasons behind the change.[1][8][7]


A prototype version was also featured in a Japanese trailer, featuring a different announcer than in the end product. Additionally, it was featured in the Nintendo King of the Jungle showcase at the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, and in a WOWK-TV Kidsmag! segment focusing on the games featured at the show. Ultimately, the only known pre-release build of Super-Punch Out!! to have publicly leaked came in July 2022, when a near-final PAL build was unearthed.[11] This version apparently does contain differences within its binary, though the exact alterations remain unclear.[11] No builds containing the more significant differences have ever resurfaced, though the aforementioned videos plus screenshots from gaming magazines are available to view.[1][8][7]



Footage of the beta builds, including from a Japanese commercial and at the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show.

Gameplay footage of the beta version.

See Also