Review by striker64

Reviewed: 07/20/02 | Updated: 08/26/02

An excellent game.


Capcom’s wrestling/fighting crossover, dubbed Saturday Night Slam Masters, is extremely impressive. It takes elements from both the wrestling genre and the fighting genre and combines them into one beautifully made game.

First glances at this game would tell you that it’s more of a wrestling game than a fighting game, mostly because of the squared circle, and the standard ways to put someone away: pin, submission, or count-out. As you play it more and more, you begin to realize that maybe this game is more of a fighting game. I say this because it is possible to completely deplete your opponent of all of his energy by simply standing and attacking with punches and kicks, and it really does not take that long to do. The grapple moves are kind of an “extra.” There are ten characters in this game: Biff Slamkovich, Gunlock, The Great Oni, Titanic Tim, El Stingray, Mayor Mike Haggar (of Final Fight fame), King Rasta Mon, Alexander the Grater, and two boss characters, Scorp and Jumbo. There are two modes of play: One-on-One and Team Battle Royal. After going through the one-on-one mode a couple of times, it gets a bit boring. However, Team Battle Royal is a different story. TBR is basically a tag team match with no tags... all four wrestlers are in the ring at the same time. It’s great fun for the whole family! Also, the two boss characters, Scorp and Jumbo, are playable here. This mode is what really makes Slam Masters a great game. Each character has his own unique set of attacks and his own finisher. The finishers are ridiculously unrealistic, except maybe for Gunloc’s Gut Wrencher, but this is what makes the game so much fun, I think. It also adds to the fighting-genre element... most attacks, like say a Dragon Punch or a Fireball, are unrealistic. Capcom crosses this game over with two other successful games that they have produced: Street Fighter and Final Fight. I’ve already mentioned that Mike Haggar from the Final Fight series is here. His attacks are the same: he still has his Spinning Piledriver and Spinning Clothesline, and let’s face it, he was modeled after Zangeif from Street Fighter anyway. Gunloc is based on Guile from SF and Gunloc’s profile even mentions his connection to a famous Street Fighter. Thought reveals that it must be Guile, through Gunloc’s attitudes and attacks.

Slam Masters is an arcade game through and through. The controls are very simple: walk with the directional pad, Y attacks, B jumps, and A pins. Three simple independent functions on three separate functions... true arcade style. Many of the special attacks are pulled off in much of the same way that SF special moves were pulled off. For example, one of El Stingray’s special moves, the Flying Jalapeno, is done the same way as Ryu’s or Ken’s Fireball. His special attack is done the same way as the Dragon Punch. Haggar’s Spinning Piledriver is done the same way as Zangeif’s except that you have to press 2 buttons after the 360 motion is complete. Some of the special attacks are a bit difficult to pull off at first, though. Titanic Tim’s special attack, the Backbreaker, is done by grabbing the opponent, then pressing Down-Back, Down, Up, Attack. This takes some practice. There are others that are also difficult to do at first.

Special care was made to see that each wrestler had their own unique entrance music, something that I think was very well done. You can’t hear much of the music at all when they actually enter the ring, only the first part, since the walkway is so short. However, in the Options menu, you can listen to the whole thing, and they were well made. The in-game music is not repetitive and there is different music for every area that you visit. Wrestlers also make their standard punching and grunting noises... again, no complaints here, they were very well done.

Slam Masters is a graphically superior game IMO. Titanic Tim is 7’9”, and when he wrestles, he really does look that tall. Jumbo is about 400 pounds, and again, he really looks like he weighs that much. Each character design is true to the attributes given to them. El Stingray is short, less than 200 pounds, and quick, and shows it in the ring. When the wrestlers enter the area, a big laser-like show begins and smoke comes from the ground. It may be a bit overdone, but I like it.

Overall, this is a great, fun game to play at anytime. It’s good for relieving stress or just beating up your friends. Up to 4 players can participate at one time if you have the SNES multitap adapter. I found a copy recently for just $10 and it was worth every penny. If you’re a fan of fighting or wrestling games I most certainly recommend this to you.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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