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Monday, April 6, 2020

Punch-Out!!'s Unfair Music Treatment vs. What ARMS Will Get in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The whole Punch-Out!! series got robbed. What will ARMS do?

You may remember my live reaction to the announcement that the next new DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be from ARMS. It was somewhere along the lines of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. I also dislike the concept of yet another long-range-based fighter.

But there might be one positive to ARMS representation. There will likely be an ARMS-based stage with a lot of ARMS-based music. Much of the music from the ARMS soundtrack is around different character-based remixes to the main ARMS theme, which is a fine one. Nintendo's composers who worked on ARMS, Yasuaki Iwata and Atsuko Asahi, did a good job.

This is similar to how Next Level Games and their composers (Darren Radtke, Chad York, and Mike Peacock) approached Punch-Out!! Wii. As I wrote in my Punch-Out!! Wii review: “Sakurai should take notes. This is how you remix the same main theme over a dozen times in your game without backlash.” (That's referencing Super Smash Bros. Brawl.) Every opponent in the game (over 12) has their own variation, and they're pretty awesome.

But what happened with the music from Punch-Out!! as it relates to the Super Smash Bros. games? Well, here's all the music in the Boxing Ring stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:

  1. Minor Circuit Theme (Punch-Out!! Wii port)
  2. Minor Circuit Theme (remix)
  3. Jogging / Countdown (remix)
  4. World Circuit Theme (Punch-Out!! Wii port)
  5. Title Theme (Punch-Out!! Wii port)
Punch-Out!! My Music Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Boxing Ring World Circuit Theme NES Wii
The music that is in the game is labelled in a baffling way.
Why say that World Circuit comes from Punch-Out!! on NES but from Punch-Out!! Wii? Just cite Punch-Out!! Wii.

Boxing Ring on Super Smash Bros. For Wii U had three more tracks in addition to those five: A Culdcept title screen remix (which got me to buy Culdcept Revolt); a remixed medley from Shin Onigashima that I associate more with the Summit stage than Boxing Ring and has no place being on Boxing Ring; and a port of Tomorrow's Passion from Captain Rainbow, which is extremely relevant because it's Little Mac's “fight” theme in Captain Rainbow.

All three of those songs got moved to the Other category and out of the Punch-Out!! music category, meaning they're playable in places like Hanenbow, Summit, and Duck Hunt. But not Boxing Ring. Punch-Out!! got no new music between games, meaning Boxing Ring actually lost music. In fact, the Punch-Out!! series gained no content, besides trading its trophies for spirits, and adding spirits of Bear Hugger and Super Macho Man.

Let's not forget that the series went from having one Assist Trophy to having zero... though that Assist Trophy was Little Mac himself, so maybe that's okay.

Here's my point: ARMS is probably going to get a bunch of music ports with its Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC, even if they tend to be remixes of its main theme. Punch-Out!! has the same kind of music, but it didn't get anything resembling a wealth of music or content in general in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. (Little Mac is also still an awful character.) If you think that a bunch of songs that are remixes of the same theme doesn't make for good content, go listen to the Punch-Out!! Wii soundtrack, and then also explain to me why “DK Island Swing” gets SEVEN versions in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Maybe if Punch-Out!! represented Super Smash Bros. DLC you had to pay for, it'd get better treatment with far more content. And maybe Little Mac would be the best—or at least, be a much better—character in the game.

Ludwig is a big fan of Punch-Out!!, and he also hates ARMS. But if you want some pro-ARMS content, wait for later this week. An actual ARMS fan may disagree with Ludwig and say he mischaracterised the ARMS soundtrack, since its stage music sounds much more unique than the Punch-Out!! remixes for each fighter, but he thinks the only songs worth listening to are the obvious ARMS theme song remixes anyway. Ludwig will look like an idiot if ARMS only ends up having five or less songs in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Here is the pro-ARMS content, brought to you by Heavy Lobster (who is an actual ARMS fan).
ARMS gets 18 tracks in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Ludwig is vindicated.


  1. Um. Not to be that guy, but. Other than the tracks listed, how many music tracks does Punch-Out!! HAVE? And how many that aren't simply variants of the usual fight theme? You've even admitted that the Wii game remixed the same thing a bunch of times! Although, I was under the impression that it was really just 3 variations, one for each Circuit.

    Like, they're not going to remix the same track in more than one way for Smash...probably. I think. I'm pretty sure. And even if I'm wrong about that, I'm sure they wouldn't do so in more than TWO ways. Punch Out just doesn't have a great deal to work with for a situation like this is my point.

    1. I linked to the soundtrack in this article, and again in this comment.

      There's the one for each circuit, one for each circuit's champion fight, plus each fighter gets a remix unique to them in Exhibition Mode (plus a pause theme). And various other themes, like the credits, and things like the Head-to-Head VS mode, and the Wii Balance Board tutorial that no one's listened to in-game.

      You can also throw in Doc Louis's themes in Doc Louis's Punch-Out!!

    2. There's still the fact that most of those are variations on the same theme, which is a lot harder to get away with having more than a couple of those in a game like Smash Bros which has lots and lots of different musics.

      Plus, afaik Little Mac and his stage aren't really popular among the players. Though admittedly in this case I don't have as much knowledge on what casuals are thinking, because I live in Florida and even my LOCAL Smash community is seriously tryhard. That fact kind of put me off Smash altogether to be honest.

    3. And yet, as noted in the article, a Donkey Kong song has SEVEN versions in Ultimate, which is more than the entire Punch-Out!! series. And the different styles of the music in Punch-Out!! Wii doesn't make them repetitive at all. You could easily do medleys of them.

      That's a misinterpretation of cause and effect. The character isn't popular because he's poorly designed, not because people don't like Punch-Out!!.
      From personal experience, Boxing Ring was my most-played stage in Super Smash Bros. 4 (Omega form) because, while it was limited in its music, it was great. Then they removed a large chunk of the music, and there's little reason to play there compared to stages with abundant music like Fountain of Dreams or Wily's Castle.

      If you look back at the very beginning of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS, Little Mac was the most popular character played online. Then Sakurai nerfed him, and he slowly fell off ever since. But today, in Ultimate, Little Mac is still in the top-half most used characters, according to those fighter usage rankings I've published.

    4. Well, to be fair on that latter half, as I tried to indicate, I myself am only able to collate word of mouth information from people who play in a serious tournament scene, and "Little Mac = bad" was just a general consensus from that.

      As for why that DK theme got 7 versions, have you LISTENED to any of them? It's really friggin catchy! Compared to it, the Punch Out theme is only moderately catchy. I might concede that 3 variations is perhaps too few by 1 (4 being reasonable on the basis of my own comparison) but there's a point you may not have considered: All those individual character mixes would only make sense to be included if the associated characters were also to be included.

      And...putting in those guys would NOT be a good idea. Just no. There's really no way to make it work.

    5. The Punch-Out!! themes are way catchier than DK Island Swing. >.>

      They ARE included. They're in the game as Spirits. There are other songs in this game that seem to be in it just for the sake of a Spirit Battle. (Or Spirit Battle for the sake of a song.)

      Like Captain Toad's theme.


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