King Hippo

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King Hippo

King Hippo, as seen in the Wii video game Punch-Out!! (2009)
Series Punch-Out!!
First game Punch-Out!! (arcades)
Designed by M. Wada (Punch-Out!!, 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!!, 2009)
Voiced by Gary Chalk (Captain N: The Game Master, 1989-1991)
Scott McFadyen (Punch-Out!!, 2009)

King Hippo (キング・ヒッポー?) is a fictional boxer from Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series. King Hippo first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, as the second competitor in the Major Circuit. Hippo also garnered huge fame on the NBC Saturday morning cartoon Captain N: The Game Master, which ran 34 episodes from 1989 until 1991. He was portrayed by Gary Chalk in the Captain N cartoon, and by Scott McFadyen in the Wii video game Punch-Out!!. He is depicted as obese, only wearing the bare essentials for boxing in addition to a crown, introduced in the Captain N cartoon. He has a bandage on his stomach, which is the weak point that lowers his defenses. When it is hit, his shorts drop, and he is distracted by having to put them back on, allowing the protagonist Little Mac to attack him.

Since appearing in Punch-Out!! for the NES, King Hippo has received sizable reception. He has been referred to as one of the most well-known Punch-Out!! characters, reasons including his weakness as well as his appearance. He is popular amongst fans of the series due in part to his role in the Captain N cartoon. His distinctive style is stated to have set him apart from other boxers in Punch-Out!!. However, his Captain N design was met with criticism, which included criticism over the artists changing his skin from orange to blue.

Concept and characteristics[edit | edit source]

King Hippo was originally created by Punch-Out!! character designer M. Wada. His most recent appearance was illustrated by art director Eddie Visser. King Hippo's face and girth resemble that of a hippopotamus, where his name is derived.[1] He is an obese man from the fictional location of Hippo Island. His age, weight, and height are all unknown, and he is often seen wearing a crown. He has tanned skin, though his skin is coloured blue in Captain N: The Game Master, and a large mouth. He is noted for his weakness, which requires the player's character, Little Mac, to punch him when his mouth is opened, causing King Hippo's shorts to drop, and lowering his defenses. The Wii version added an incarnation which taped a manhole to his stomach, protecting his only weakness.[2] While he originally was able to speak, the Wii Punch-Out!! game had him speak in grunting noises. He was portrayed by Gary Chalk in the Captain N cartoon, and by Scott McFadyen in the Wii Punch-Out!!.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

King Hippo first appeared in the NES video game Punch-Out!!. He would not appear in another video game until 2009, with the Wii video game of the same name. The advertisements for the Wii game featured protagonist Little Mac training to reclaim the World Circuit Title to King Hippo.[3]

In other media[edit | edit source]

King Hippo also had a huge role animated series Captain N: The Game Master as one of Mother Brain's henchmen. Strangely, he appears with blue skin, and was often paired in a comedic duo with Kid Icarus enemy Eggplant Wizard. He was voiced by Gary Chalk. This version of King Hippo also appeared in the comic books based on the series. He makes a cameo appearance in the Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness comic book as part of a guest comic written and illustrated by Girly creator Josh Lesnick. In it, the titular character Scott Pilgrim is battling him, and has to discover his weak point.

Promotion and reception[edit | edit source]

File:King Hippo pants.png
King Hippo, as seen in Punch-Out!! for the NES.

Since appearing in the NES video game Punch-Out!!, King Hippo has received largely positive reception. He has appeared in several pieces of merchandise, including being included in a series of Punch-Out!! Topps trading cards and figurines.[4][5] Promotional merchandise was created for the Wii Punch-Out!!, which included replicas of King Hippo's crown and boxer shorts, as well as a King Hippo desktop punching bag.[6] Game Informer described the battle with King Hippo as being a "puzzle".[7] He has been described by sites such as IGN as one of the more famous boxers in the Punch-Out!! series,[8] often being used as an example of what characters appear in Punch-Out!!.[9] IGN listed King Hippo as the 64th best video game villain, though they describe him as a "push-over" in the NES Punch-Out!!.[10] Cracked listed him as one of Nintendo's greatest villains.[11]

Destructoid editor Colette Bennett featured King Hippo as a headline to her article "What makes a boss unforgettable?". She discussed how she became humiliated after losing to King Hippo in the NES Punch-Out!!, presuming him to be easy. She went on to discuss how King Hippo had a distinctive appearance, making him more memorable and more important to conquer as a result.[12] IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas listed King Hippo as a character that he would want in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, commenting that in spite of his exclusion from most later titles in the Punch-Out!! series, he is still popular amongst fans due to his role in the NES game and in the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon.[13] Operation Sports editor Christian McLeod, in praising the visuals of Punch-Out!!, commented that through them, King Hippo "gives new meaning to the term "fat slob.""[14] N-Sider editor Brandon Daiker similarly praised the visuals, citing how King Hippo "launches fruit into the air once you knock him on his ample duff."[15]

In his celebration of "gaming's greatest fatties", Antista commented that the NES Punch-Out!! was King Hippo's game, in spite of featuring Mike Tyson in its original release; he described him as being its most memorable character.[16] GameDaily listed him as one of video game's "most lovable lummoxes", commenting that he seems invulnerable until his weakness is discovered.[17] When asked if the Wii Punch-Out!! would bring the cast of characters into "Nintendo pantheon" games such as the Super Smash Bros. games, Next Level Games designer Bryce Holliday commented that he considered characters such as King Hippo and Little Mac as already being at that point due to their appearances in Captain N: The Game Master.[18] Wired editor Andrew Kardon commented that when he purchased the Wii Punch-Out!! game, he was worried that it may be too violent or scary for his children, but he was also excited to show them King Hippo, who he regarded as the best opponent in the NES game.[19] editor Scott Sharkey listed King Hippo as the fourth best fat guy in video games.[20] GamesRadar editor Brett Elston called King Hippo one of the most famous boxers in video games.[21] A parody article appeared on the web site The Onion, purporting that a Mike Tyson interview featured an interview with King Hippo, amongst other Punch-Out!! boxers.[22]

In discussing his race, Retronauts discussed how King Hippo was a racial stereotype of islanders, commenting that the stereotype was that they were all fat and lavish.[23] Bit Mob editor Brian Shirk commented that the stereotypes utilized in King Hippo were uncalled for, stating that his "subhuman caricature is particularly offensive, and it likely stems from the typically savage portrayal of Polynesians in literature and film."[24]

King Hippo's weakness is considered one of the things that makes King Hippo iconic. Game Informer writes that the "secret to beating this flabby fighter was probably even more widely known than the 30-lives code in Contra".[25] GamesRadar editor Chris Antista commented that fellow Nintendo character Wart's "open mouth weakness" was the most notable since King Hippo's.[26] His pattern was described as being the most difficult to discern by Shack News, who used it as an example of the idiosyncrasies of the game's boxers.[1] Colette Bennett echoed sentiments of the notability of his weakness, stating that "anyone could tell you King Hippo's weak point".[12] editor Bob Mackey also listed him as the third worst dressed video game character, commenting "Who could have guessed that a fat man and his ill-fitting shorts could have produced such an iconic moment in gaming?". Mackey added that King Hippo's shorts falling down was "talk of the schoolyards during the 80's".[27]

His role in Captain N: The Game Master, however, has been met with negative reception, in spite of contributing much of King Hippo's fandom.[13][18] Destructoid editor Conrad Zimmerman, while discussing the Captain N episodes, frequently criticizes the primary antagonist, Mother Brain, for using King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard, an enemy from the Kid Icarus series, also questioning why King Hippo was blue.[28] In his review of the Captain N: The Game Master DVDs, DVD Verdict editor Judge Johnson criticized King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard as being idiots.[29] However, GamesRadar editor Chris Antista comments that his role in Captain N was his biggest achievement.[16] IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas described King Hippo in Captain N as being a "muscle-headed moron".[13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 David Craddock (2007-04-17). Punch Out! Featuring Mr. Dream Wii Virtual Console Review. Shack News.
  4. Topps' Nintendo Game Packs - Scratch-offs. TRS Rockin. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  5. Nintendo Player :: Database. NES Player. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  6. Colette Bennett (2009-03-31). Take to the ring in the Punch-Out!! King Hippo Contender kit. Destructoid. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  8. Lucas M. Thomas (2007-04-18). Punch-Out!! - Wii Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  9. McKinley Noble (2009-05-11). New Punch-Out!! documentary is a knock-out. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  10. King Hippo is number 64. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  12. 12.0 12.1 Colette Bennett (2007-05-05). What makes a boss unforgettable?. Destructoid.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Lucas M. Thomas (2008-01-18). Smash It Up! - Delayed Again?!. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  16. 16.0 16.1 Chris Antista (2008-02-22). Gaming's greatest Fatties. GamesRadar.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Punch-Out!! Post Mortem Interview. Armchair Empire (2009-08-26). Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  19. Andrew Kardon (2009-07-23). Losing the Upper Hand in Punch-Out!!. Wired. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  20. Scott Sharkey. Top 5 Fat Guys. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  21. Brett Elston (2009-05-09). Exclusive boxer reveals!. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  22. New Mike Tyson Documentary Features Exclusive Interviews With Super Macho Man, King Hippo. The Onion (2009-02-26). Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  25. "Punch-Out!! Boxer Breakdown," Game Informer 188 (December 2008): 74.
  26. Chris Antista (2010-05-25). 10 things you didn't know about Super Mario Bros 2. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  27. Bob Mackey. Top 5 Worst Dressed Videogame Characters. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  28. Conrad Zimmerman (2008-04-17). Death By Cartoon: 101 - Kevin in Videoland. Destructoid. Retrieved on 2010-07-29
  29. Judge Johnson (2007-04-27). Captain N The Game Master: The Complete Series. DVD Verdict. Retrieved on 2010-07-29

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