Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fun With Folding Chairs: Pro Wrestling

I have long held the opinion that there are only two professional wrestling games worth playing. For good mechanics and a wide variety of moves for creating a wrestler, there is WWF No Mercy, which enthusiasts seem to agree is the last good wrestling game. For pure wackiness and a fantastic character creator in terms of aesthetics, there is WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role. Oddly enough, both of these game were released within a week of one another eleven years ago. Fourteen years before that, the selection of professional wrestling games weren't so great, which leads us to Pro Wrestling for the Master System.


As might be expected from an 8-bit wrestling game, there isn't much to Pro Wrestling. You get the choice of four different tag teams, and they play nearly identical to one another. I chose to play as the Orient Express because the one member has a severe amount of beard. The controls are simple, one button punches, the other kicks, and both together has the wrestler run. There are other attacks that are contextual, such as pinning or grappling when the opponent is downed. Movement and attacks feel a bit paralytic, but it is generally decent.

The presentation is actually pretty extensive for an 8-bit game. It might not blow anybody away, but details like ring entrances and writing the names of moves on the screen as they hit, as way of simulating match commentary, add some excitement to the excitement. The music is pretty good as well. Another thing that helps add that professional wrestling atmosphere is the ability to leave the ring, grab a chair and hit the opponent with it for massive damage. The only thing that could make this better would be for the referee to accidentally get knocked out before the chair is used.

The lineage of this game is actually rather stranger and interesting. As it turns out, it is a port of Sega's arcade wrestling game, Body Slam. In Japan, this game went by another name, and was actually a licesned game based on these weird Japanese female wrestlers. I recall hearing about it in an episode of Chronsega. In the Japanese version of the Master System version of Pro Wrestling, called Gokuaku Doumei Dump Matsumoto, it actually retained the signature female wrestlers, and surprisingly little was changed for the localization despite the gender swap. I'm quite happy with this change, because without it the Western box would not have been nearly as bizarre and terrifying.

No comments:

Post a Comment