Little Mac (リトル・マック, Little Mac) is the main character of the Punch-Out!! series. Originally debuting as a nameless boxer in the arcade version of Punch-Out!!, Little Mac gained his name and backstory beginning with the NES installment of Punch-Out!!
As his name implies, Little Mac has a small frame, which grants him his trademark maneuverability and speed. Trained by former heavyweight boxing champion Doc Louis, Little Mac entered a boxing tournament and managed to become a champion by defeating several opponents much larger and more experienced than him.
Mac is a 17-year-old New Yorker from The Bronx who aspires to become a professional boxer. Due to being only 4'8"/142 cm, his below-average stature turned most trainers away from teaching him. However, upon meeting former heavyweight boxing champion Doc Louis by chance, Mac convinced him to become his trainer. Some time thereafter, the now rechristened Little Mac officially turned pro by joining the World Video Boxing Association (WVBA), with Doc joining him as his cornerman.
Due to his small stature, Little Mac uses a defensive playstyle that focuses on dodging the opponent's attacks before counterattacking, which makes up the gameplay of the entire Punch Out!! series. However, the greatest asset Little Mac gained from this training was Doc's signature Star Punch. After stunning an opponent, Mac can throw a powerful uppercut instead of his usual jabs and hooks.
Thanks to adhering to Doc's expertise and training regimen, which most notably featured him wearing a pink sweatsuit while jogging after a bicycling Doc, Little Mac proceeds to defeat opponents who are increasingly larger and more experienced than him. Ultimately, Mac manages to win the WVBA Minor Circuit, Major Circuit, and even World Circuit Championships en route to knocking out the promotion's top-ranked fighter: real-life boxer and then-world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in the original NES version, or the fictional and undefeated Mr. Dream in the re-released NES version.
What happens after Little Mac defeats Tyson/Dream is unknown, but what is known is that he returns in Super Punch-Out!! with a radically different look, a lack of titles and, perhaps most notably, without Doc Louis as his coach and cornerman. As he did before, Little Mac must defeat other boxers, almost all of whom are new opponents, in order to reclaim each of his titles. If he manages to go undefeated throughout his title hunt, Mac will also be able to challenge for a WVBA championship he never held in his original run: the Special Circuit Championship.
Due to having sandy blond hair, a pair of blue shorts, and lacking a tank top, originally there was confusion over whether or not the main protagonist of Super Punch-Out!! was actually Little Mac. Although Bryce Holliday, a member of the development team for the Wii installment of Punch-Out!!, claimed that this protagonist was not Little Mac, Nintendo later clarified that the two are indeed the same character, with Little Mac having changed his appearance after splitting ways with Doc Louis.
After a 15-year hiatus, the Punch-Out!! series was rebooted with a titular installment on the Wii, and followed by a prequel, Doc Louis's Punch-Out!!, shortly thereafter. In addition to borrowing a few elements from the home console versions of Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!, the Wii installment features multiplayer and a redesigned cast (such as Little Mac's height being updated to 5'7"/172 cm), while it and its prequel collectively expand Little Mac's backstory, his friendship with Doc Louis, and the personalities of his opponents.
In Doc Louis's Punch-Out!!, Little Mac undergoes three final training sessions as an amateur boxer by personally sparring with Doc. Although Mac is initially worried over the damage he inflicts on his trainer, the end of each session sees Doc reassure Mac of how proud he is of his progression. Upon successfully clearing the final session, Doc jokingly asks if he is ready for a chocolate cake in order to celebrate, to which Mac responds by laughing alongside him.
Following this, Little Mac's journey as a professional boxer unfolds similarly to how it did in the NES version, albeit with a few changes added for the sake of expanding the plot. In addition to retaining his classic jogging method, brief cutscenes show Little Mac learning other training methods from Doc (weightlifting, jumping rope, performing one-armed push-ups and inclined sit-ups, and punching a heavy bag, a speed bag, and Doc's focus mitts). As Little Mac progresses through Contender Mode, the personalities and/or lifestyles of his opponents are also gleaned over via brief montages of pictures, sometimes for humorous effect.
Unlike in previous installments, Little Mac's title hunt does not end upon winning the World Circuit Championship. Instead, completing Contender Mode will unlock Title Defense Mode, which sees each of his previous opponents become contenders that adopt new tactics and, in some cases, much more antagonistic attitudes. Upon retaining his title against each opponent, Mac's Last Stand will be unlocked. Some time after the events of Title Defense Mode, Doc Louis is exasperated to learn that Little Mac intends to repeatedly fight each of his past opponents in a random order until he loses three times, at which point he will retire.
Despite his initial shock, Doc relents to Little Mac's decision upon seeing his determination, and continues to support him as his coach and cornerman. In addition to previous opponents, Mac can potentially face the iconic and fittingly powerful Donkey Kong as a challenger, while winning ten fights will unlock the optional Champion's Mode. Ultimately, Mac loses three fights and subsequently retires, but not before receiving praise from a somber, yet proud Doc. Some time after Little Mac's retirement, Punch-Out!!'s epilogue shows Doc walking alone in a museum exhibit showcasing various highlights of his and Mac's journey and success. After gently ringing his bicycle's bell one final time, Doc congratulates Mac on a job well done.
As an Assist Trophy
Little Mac makes an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an Assist Trophy. Instead of using a 3D version of his Super Punch-Out!! design as he did in the Nintendo GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2, Little Mac uses a 3D version of his design from the NES version of Punch-Out!! Fittingly, his punches retain their sound effects from said game.
When summoned, Little Mac dashes quickly toward his summoner's opponents, and will attack by throwing a one-two combo and an uppercut. The one-two combo deals respectable damage, whereas the uppercut is devastatingly powerful: it deals 25%, KOs under 50%, and is an instant shield breaker.
Due to his speed and immense power, Little Mac is one of the most dangerous Assist Trophies in the game. However, he is also very inconsistent, as he is easily prone to falling off-stage, especially if the opponents can lure him off-stage. Like his fellow Assist Trophies, Little Mac has his own trophy.
A lightweight scrapper from the Bronx. After meeting with a former boxing great named Doc Louis who fell from glory, Mac takes Doc on as his coach, and together the pair try for the championship belt in the WVBA. Little Mac works his way up the ranks of the WVBA, taking out foes several times his size. By landing multiple blows, Little Mac gains a "☆" uppercut.
As a playable character
Main article: Little Mac (SSB4)
Little Mac appears as a newcomer in Super Smash Bros. 4. He was formally revealed during a Nintendo Direct on February 13th, 2014, which commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Punch-Out!! series. Instead of reusing his design from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Little Mac now uses a slight redesign of his appearance in the Wii installment of Punch-Out!! Fittingly, he is also accompanied by Doc Louis during his victory poses, while Doc can also be heard sporadically when Mac taunts.
As in Brawl, Little Mac's dash is both extremely fast (surpassed only by Sonic and Captain Falcon) and lowers his hurtbox to the point that he can pseudo-crouch under a number of attacks and certain projectiles. By extension, the rest of his grounded mobility is also excellent, courtesy of his walking speed, traction, rolls, and sidestep each being in the top 10 of their respective categories.
The majority of Little Mac's grounded attacks boast quick frame data alongside impressive power. His forward tilt, the one-two combo he used in Brawl, is a prime example of this potent combination: it hits on frame 4, yet is capable of KOing middleweights below 120% while near the edge of Final Destination. Little Mac's smash attacks, in particular, boast outstanding power and even grant him super armor during certain frames, the latter of which allows him to effectively tank an opponent's attack despite his status as a lightweight. Slip Counter further supplements his defense, as it is a counterattack that is tied with Double Team and Witch Time as the fastest of its kind in the game.
Little Mac's Final Smash is Giga Mac, his gargantuan transformation that can be used during multiplayer of the Wii installment of Punch-Out!! As Giga Mac, his entire moveset drastically strengthens to the point of boasting a few one-hit KO options. Lastly, Little Mac has a unique mechanic called the Power Meter, which originates from his home series. When fully charged via damage dealt or received, the Power Meter allows him to use the KO Uppercut, an immensely fast and powerful uppercut that is capable of KOing the entire cast at extremely low percentages.
However, Little Mac's aerial presence is indisputably the worst of any character in the series. This is because of his aerial attacks being almost totally useless and, more infamously, his recovery being very easily foiled because of his very low jump/double jump and both Jolt Haymaker and Rising Uppercut having very short travel distances and small edge sweetspots. Although Little Mac's ground game is nigh-unparalleled, it is not flawless: his overall range is short because of his average size, while his grab game is very unimpressive because of his aforementioned range issue and his throws having very minimal utility.
Due to his exploitable weaknesses counterbalancing his potent strengths, Little Mac has difficulty performing in high-level play. However, he has nevertheless managed to achieve both average representation and varying levels of success: Cagt has achieved several top 10 placings and a few top 25 placings at local and regional tournaments respectively, Destany has won several local tournaments in both singles and doubles play, and Sol, Vash, and Alphicans have each achieved a few respectable placings in singles play and a few high placings in doubles play at regional and national tournaments. As a result, Little Mac is currently ranked 44th out of 55 on the tier list. This places him in the E tier, and posits him as the second lowest ranked mid tier character.
As a playable character
Main article: Little Mac (SSBU)
Little Mac returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was formally announced alongside the rest of the cast via Ultimate's E3 2018 trailer on June 12th, 2018. Unlike in Super Smash Bros. 4, Little Mac is now an unlockable character, and Giga Mac now performs a rapid barrage of punches instead of being a controllable transformation.
Despite being a lower mid tier character in SSB4, Little Mac received a mix of buffs and nerfs in the transition to Ultimate that resulted in him generally being viewed as being nerfed overall. While he has received useful direct buffs, he received heavy nerfs to his damage output and combo potential. In addition, the universal engine changes in Ultimate hinder him more so than help him, which is noticeable by how most of the cast benefits from said changes in comparison to him.
However, since update 3.1.0 granted useful buffs to Little Mac's ground game, his almost nonexistent representation improved to the point of gaining dedicated mains who have achieved impressive results in both regional and national tournaments.