Review by IceQueenZer0
A winner is you!
The tagline is one of the most recognizable game quotes of all-time. You chose from one of six fighters in a quest to win the championship, defend the title ten times then face the ultimate champion Great Puma and win his belt. It starts out easy and gets harder as you progress through the matches.
GAMEPLAY - B+
You chose one of six fighters each with different skill and move sets. Fighter Hayabusa is the first default fighter. He has basic moves and his special move is the Back Brain Kick better known as the Enzugiri and it is such a pain to pull off as you must be at a higher angle than the opponent to execute the move whether or not it connects. Starman is the other default fight if you are in a two player game. He has two special moves. First one is when you are in a grapple and and he does a weird drop kick flip that is humanely impossible to pull off in real life even for a Mexican luchador. Next is Kin Corn Karn whose basic attacks are considered special moves even though they generate no crowd reaction. He is one of the best fighters to use especially with that kick. Giant Panther is more than likely inspired by the Von Erich family as one of his special moves is the claw and it's done out of a grapple. His other special is the head-butt which is also done out of a grapple. The Amazon's special moves are both illegal moves in the real wrestling world but the referee lets it go. They are both done out of grapples and even the move that looks like a noogie has him trying to play off that he has not done anything wrong afterwards. Last but not least is King Slender. By default he is the champion and he has a powerful back breaker that can end the match almost in a hurry and it is done out of a grapple. Normally, you have to beat the other five opponents to win the title but some versions have it where you must win eight matches with King Slender (whom he defeats Giant Panther) to win the title. From then on, you have to defend the title ten times to face the main champion Great Puma. He has all the moves of the previous characters and he carries a lot of stamina and strength.
Those of ya'll who follow wrestling should know that the game follows Japanese rules of wrestling thus the referee will will count to twenty instead of ten for the match to end via count out. The referee will also count up to five if a wrestler stands on the turnbuckle too long and disqualify him on the spot. When it comes time to face the tougher opponents, count outs are a great way to defeat them especially Great Puma. Get to the top of the ring and try to slam them outside the ring at the highest point and try to keep them there as much as possible by throwing them into the barrier and when time is almost up, make sure they are still down and head for the inside of the ring. Losing or Drawing will set you back in rank. End up at rank #6 and the game is over. There is a supposedly five minute time limit but during the course of the match the clock will freeze and allow for extra time. The match ends in a draw if time runs out. One final bit of advice. Never try to use the Brain Buster (up + A during grapple) early in the match or the opponent will automatically reverse it and do the move instead even though they do not normally have the strength either and same goes for those capable of Piledrivers (down + A during grapple) except the opponent can't reverse those but you can't pull off the move.
CONTROLS - B-
The controls can get a little tricky to get used to as when you are in a two player game, it is sort of random to find out whose move will be pulled off first during the grapple. Same is also said in a one player game but that is more of a button masher to win grapples especially when pulling off King Slender's special move the Back Breaker where you simply have to press A during the grapple but it gets tougher to do further down the line but it takes three of those and then a Brain Buster or Pile Driver to destroy the first few opponents. Another issue with the controls is trying to get on the same horizontal plane as the opponent as it is hard to connect with anything due to it being hard to tell which plane each other is on. The one move that is toughest to pull off but easy for the CPU controlled opponents to do is the dive over the top rope onto a downed outside opponent. I still have never been able to do that just once.
SOUND/MUSIC - B
There really not that much music to listen to but it gets a passing grade. The title screen shares the same theme as the title screen from Baseball which is also made by Nintendo. The in game music is real catchy as it helps you get so caught up in the heat of battle. Another tune that is also catchy is the winning screen where you are greeted with the famous phrase, "A Winner Is You" which is a poor English translation from the original Japanese game. As far as the sound effects are concerned, they actually play into the generic sound of being punched in the face or kicked in the stomach in a video game but other than that, nothing more is special. The crowd cheer would later be used in several other Nintendo games that used cheering. The most notable game being Mike Tyson's Punch Out and the Punch Out game that followed it.
GRAPHICS - A-
The graphics although not perfect are well detailed enough where you can make out the wrestlers and the referee. You can also spot the commentators among the crowd of same faces. In a one player game, pay attention to the announcer on the right. Whenever you try to pin the CPU opponent early and he kicks out, the announcer will raise his hand and show what looks like a glass of milk. You know when the CPU opponent is defeated when the announcer keeps his left arm down at the count of two. Matter a fact if the CPU opponent gets up at the solid count of two, the next move or two will finish him off. There is a sort of a seizure moment to watch out for. Whenever you win a match, the crowd will cheer but the ring will flash all sorts of colors.
REPLAY VALUE - A
There are six characters to test out. Once you have mastered one of the wrestlers, it is a good idea to try to master the rest of them. If you are playing against another human player, you will need all the skills you can get to win because you do not know what the other player is capable of. The road to Great Puma is a tough one and if you can defeat him with all characters then you, my friend, are a pro and an expert if you manage to beat him by pinfall.
OVERALL - B+
One of Nintendo's earliest sports game successes top down. Soccer, Tennis, Golf and Hockey might have had their little cult following, but they all pale in comparison to Pro Wrestling because they were not as entertaining as this game in most aspects of the games. GO FIGHT! Challenge Next Match! and if you don't like this game... What A Pity! Love them Engrish quotes. Sorry can't resist saying them all.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Pro Wrestling: Famicom Wrestling Association (JP, 10/21/86)
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