Review by MJCx

Reviewed: 09/29/08

The best wrestler of the era!

I’m a huge fan of the Fire Pro Wrestling series and this is where it began.

Now there weren't too many great wrestling games during this era (1989 to be exact). The best ones were on the Arcade, but many of them lacked depth or were just button mashers. Finding a good wrestling game on console was even scarce especially with the horrible licensed titles dominating the market. This one however offered a more unique and realistic experience in comparison.

Like I said many wrestling games were just button mashers during this time so mastering those just required a fast tap or controllers with auto fire. Fire Pro Wrestling uses a time based grappling system. So instead of just mashing buttons down, you simply tap a button once at the right time.

The characters lock up automatically when they get close to each other.
After about a second they will lean forward, at that point you just hold any direction and pressing any attack button to perform various maneuvers.

The characters can do a good array of attacks other than basic moves we saw on most games. For example they can do submissions on the floor and standing, jump off the turnbuckle, double team grapples, jump out of the ring, etc. Also performing moves next to the ropes or if a fighter falls on the ropes they will fall out of the ring. That’s just a nice touch of realism in my opinion.

The graphics are a little on the crappy side. There is little detail and animation is choppy. However, I do believe this was the first wrestling game where you could bust the opponents head open. When this occurs they will actually fight covered in blood. This was pretty extreme at the time may I remind you.

Modes found in this game include One-on-One, Tag-Team, and 5 Man Elimination. There are no options to configure; you just pick your characters and play.

Speaking of characters, there are 16 to choose from and they're clearly inspired by real life wrestlers. I'm not too familiar with Japanese wrestlers, but two of them are obviously the Road Warriors; Animal and Hawk.

This is definitely a great game, too bad it took about 12 years before we got a Fire Pro Wrestling game here in the states. This game is also currently found on Wii’s Virtual Console in Japan. It would be nice if they brought it here but they would have to translate it and change the appearance of characters to avoid law suits. With that said, I don’t see it happening.

Final Score: 8

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Fire ProWrestling (JP, 06/22/89)

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