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Kinnikuman Muscle Generations
  opened by paleface at 03:47:52 03/21/06  
  last modified by paleface at 02:17:52 03/23/06  
  paleface [sys=PSP; cat=Wrestling; loc=JPN]
Latest version of the "M.U.S.C.L.E." or "Ultimate Muscle" cartoonish action wrestling series, as it is known in the States. Based on anime or manga or whatever, with absurdly exaggerated wrestling characters and moves, Kinnikuman is hardly subtle.
Muscle Generations plays pretty much just like the previous console versions (see entry 145): you have Attack, Jump, Block, and Grapple buttons, as well as a Power button that you can use in conjunction with Attack and Grapple to produce super moves once you have enough energy built up in your energy meter. You can counter some move by pressing the right button at the right time, and a fresh opponent seems to have an increased chance of shrugging off holds, etc, but for the most part, the key to combat is getting off the right attack first. So far, all-out attack is serving me far better than trying to be careful and block was, although I still kinda suck at this game.
This version is sort of cut-down, even compared to the fairly simple console version. There's no real Story mode--just a "Victory" mode where you pick a character and take them through some battles. Then there's a Battle mode where you can set up whatever battles and tournaments you like, and you can play Tag matches/tournaments too, if you like (these are fun because you can get team super moves that are just hilariously ridiculous), and then there's a LAN 2P battle mode (I think), and a mode where you can view all the little MUSCLE action figures you've unlocked (by beating Victory mode?), and that seems to be about it.
On the other hand, they really came through when it comes to playable characters. There are a whopping 51 character slots, most of which are locked to start with. Hopefully these unlock by beating Victory mode. Here are the characters listed on the manual cover (I think these are ones that are available from the start either in Victory or Tag modes):
Kinnikuman Great the 1st
Blocken Jr.
New Sunshine
Big the Budo
Prince Kamehame
The Ninja
Kinniku Mantaro
Terry the Kid
Kevin Mask
And yes, they are just as silly, or even sillier, than their names would suggest.
I don't follow the anime/manga or anything, and I can't read Japanese, so I guess it's just as well that they dispensed with Story and went straight for the action. Although there's no CAW mode as there was in the console version, that CAW mode kinda sucked anyway, and I'd say it's much better to have such a huge roster of full-fledged characters as they've given us here. The action is just as simple and furious as ever, and will probably wear thin just as quickly, perhaps even more quickly since there's no four-player mode (why?), although the increased character count could help quite a bit.
One odd thing is a lack of difficulty selection for Victory mode: you just start, and the fights get tougher. At first you'll get absolutely pounded, if you don't really know or remember what to do, because the AI can be merciless about getting you in what seems like an unending string of grapples. There's no real robust way to break these, as I mentioned earlier, unless maybe you have a super charge stored up, so you kinda just have to take a beating for a while until the computer leaves you an opening. That can be frustrating at the beginning.
But there's no denying the game has charm. All the zany wrestlers, pumping away at each other, flying around the ring, screaming at the top of their lungs, rendered in very sharp, shiny graphics with minimal load times, just have a certain undeniably endearing quality about them.
  paleface 03:50:00 03/21/06
The question is, do you keep going back for what seems like unremitting punishment? I'd be more inclined if stuff started unlocking faster (and there are 400+ figures to unlock, I think it said, so it's not like they really have to to all that stingy to start with here), but it's looking like you have to beat Victory mode with the various characters, and with no difficulty selection, that could take a punter like me a little doing to get anywhere.
  paleface 04:37:59 03/22/06
Download added: gazelleman.mpg (8286212 bytes)
  "I take Gazelleman down a peg or two."
No subtleties like pinning or submitting here: the winner wins by KO, which means reducing the opponent's health bar to zero.
  paleface 02:17:24 03/23/06
Download added: superb5.jpg (17894 bytes)
  "Gazelleman's super part 5."
Whoops, that last was part 4, of course.
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