Long before consoles had the muscle to handle 3D, Nintendo's Punch-Out!! games were arguably the best place to get a boxing fix. The franchise led a double life by featuring arcade and console incarnations that players were drawn to like bees to honey, thanks to its accessible control scheme and fun gameplay. Sadly, the series hasn't seen a new entry since its heyday in the late '80s and early '90s, which means that a generation of gamers has missed out on the classic title. Fortunately, EA and Nintendo have teamed up to offer an unlikely history lesson, courtesy of the upcoming Fight Night Round 2. It seems that EA has packed the GameCube version with pieces of exclusive old-school content above and beyond the impressive array of new features and refinements being added to the original game.
This time around the franchise is making up for lost time by being introduced with these extra features on the GameCube. In addition to matching its PlayStation 2 and Xbox cousins with most every gameplay feature, except for online play, the GameCube version of Fight Night will include the entire Super Nintendo installment in the Punch-Out!! series, Super Punch-Out!!, as well as Little Mac, the game's main character, as an unlockable extra in Round 2.
Super Punch-Out was a pixel-per-pixel re-creation of the SNES classic on the GameCube, but this time, Little Mac's appearance in Round 2 has required a bit more work on developer EA Chicago's part. Little Mac has been given a hefty makeover for his guest appearance, which has required a full 3D update. While Round 2's characters showcase an impressive realistic look, Mac manages to retain the cartoony roots while also featuring some concessions to Fight Night's art style. Better still, Mac appears to have retained some of the memorable bits of animation while he's being pummeled.
The exclusive content of the GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2 should help reduce the sting of no online play. While the addition of an old-school classic and an extra playable character won't totally make up for the lack of online play, it's still nice to see EA doing what it can to ensure GC owners receive some exclusive additions and features. Fight Night Round 2 is currently slated to ship in early March for the GameCube along with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game. Check out our batch of exclusive media, which includes never-before-seen screenshots and the first footage of Mac in the game that you won't find anywhere else.