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Big Bang Pro Wrestling
  NGPCWrestlingJ  
  opened by paleface at 05:10:20 02/26/04  
  last modified by paleface at 16:12:55 03/23/24  
  paleface [sys=NGPC; cat=Wrestling; reg=JPN]
           
I stink at this game, and I don't like it.
 
It's odd because in the Fire Pro series of 2D-ish wrestling games, the timing of the move input to win a grapple comes very intuitively to me. But in BBPW, which supposedly operates on pretty much the same principle, I can hardly ever win a toss. I can hear the little sound when their hands meet but I just can't seem to time the input like the game wants it. Highly frustrating.
 
And really the rest of the game doesn't make me want to care that much. The wrestlers don't have all that many moves. This would be okay if they were interesting characters, but they aren't--instead of SNK's usual trademark super-deformed pocket style, they're big weedy wanna-be-realistic sprites of large men, with no particular personalities to differentiate the different looks; each has a little generic entrance animation, and they don't say anything between fights... well, not in exhibition mode. I'm just not interested enough to try one of the lengthier modes (okay I tried one, they do say things, pretty good English too).
 
The AI can be fooled pretty easily. For instance if you don't want them messing with you, you can just run back and forth across the ring, bouncing off the ropes. You can slip out of the ring, then slip back in when they follow you, and drop them with a punch as they climb back in--pretty much every time.
 
It's a sad and puzzling failure, something hardly unique on the doughty NGPC. The setup was fine: SNK doing an entirely new action game, not based on any previous franchises, with sprites of impressive size and neat production values like the ring entrance animations. So much potential to amaze! But it turned out lame.
 
Ugh, having read another review, I figured I'd try this again: seems you have to use strikes to soften up the AI before you can have any kind of chance to throw them. Well, I tried that, and hit him some (even basic strikes are really hard to land in this game), and he still threw me all over the ring at will.
 
Clucking bell. This game is not for me. Back to Fire Pro.
 
  paleface 05:45:44 02/26/04
           
Okay! I figured something out. It wasn't spelled out by anyone anywhere, but the tip was in GDAkuma's FAQ: the grapples are numbered 1 through 4, 1 being just pressing A, 2 and three being A plus up or down, and 4 being A plus left or right. Well, I had been trying A plus left or right most of the time, ie grapple 4. Now, in Fire Pro, you can't land the bigger grapples until you wear down your opponent, so guess what? That's right, you have to start off with grapple 1 for a while, ie just A.
 
Yay! Now I can win fights. And the game gets a lot more enjoyable. Not yet super enjoyable yet, but more.
 
  paleface 06:01:40 02/26/04
           
Okay wait again. A is "body slam" in the manual, and up, left/right, and down are the three others (grapple, I suppose--it's in kanji). The three grapples seem to be about equal in terms of how tough they are to pull off, but the body slam is much easier. So you have to body slam for a while to wear the opponent down before you can do grapples reliably.
 
You can also mix it up with Irish whips, strikes, "finishing" moves (A+B to do the strike that initiates the powerful move), running tackles on downed opponents, and so forth. It keeps things interesting enough. Moves can be whored quite a bit--for instance sometimes you'll be charged up sufficiently that you can just do the finishing move over and over, and some characters have striking moves that can pretty effectively knock the opponent back down every time they try to stand up.
 
  paleface 19:48:07 02/29/24
           
Download added: 00_deitz.png (66222 bytes)
  "IEW Champion mode as Deitz"
 

 
Deitz
 
The developers, S-NEO Co. Ltd., were Fire Pro veterans, and this plays like a very streamlined, somewhat arcade-ified Fire Pro: it's still got the precision timing of the clinch, and working up from light to heavy grapples as you wear down your opponent, and turnbuckle stuff and throwing out of the ring and even knocking down the ref, all condensed into just two buttons.
 
PLUS now you power up to being able to do your character's signature super move, executed simply by pressing both buttons together and landing the little jab that comes out.
 
But that's about all there is: eight wrestlers with small move lists and supers, and some trash-talking intros between bouts in the "IEW Champion" mode, which is really just a somewhat elongated arcade mode, with no building up your character or even interim saving, as far as I can see--I got through all seven I think opponents and won the belt, and then it was like (oh yeah it's all in English too even though it was a JP-only release) OKAY but now you gotta DEFEND the belt in brutal NO RULE DEATH MATCHES but it seemed pretty much the same and the ref was still there. (Ah the FAQ says you can now go out into the audience and grab a chair to hit the opponent with without risk of DQ; also I think maybe pin counts are gone.) (And there are two wrestlers to unlock apparently, for 10 total.) (But the FAQs don't say how long Championship mode goes.) (Well, save states are helpful here for breaking it up instead of having to go however long it is in one marathon session before your batteries would run out, I suppose.)
 
So probably there isn't much to do by normal wrestling game standards; there isn't even a difficulty setting. But all I really wanted out of wrestling games in the first place was another type of fighting game, and this game actually comes closest to that of the ones I've played: the action is so concentrated that you don't really have time or space to do the usual posery and show-off stuff; it's so bare-knuckle that you don't have the luxury of okay what of my huge move list (it's tiny) am I going to impress the crowd with here--you just gotta do what you can to survive! At least I do with my big hulking thrasher "Deitz" plus general lack of skill. So, it DOES feel like a weird fighting game, rather than a performance art thing. But it's definitely 100% a wrestling game, AND a very compelling 1-on-1 struggle--things that Capcom's attempted wrestling/fighting hybrid Saturday Night Slam Masters failed to capture--while remaining very playable, which is where SNK's own arcade 3 Count Bout fell down.
 
So maybe at some point I'll be sufficiently encouraged to pick my save state back up and see what happens with these presumably seven death matches it'll probably inflict on me in the second leg of the Championship mode.
 
Oh, Irish Whip is just B from the grapple. I always seem to forget how to do Irish Whip in any wrestling game. = P
 
  paleface 16:12:55 03/23/24
           
I was maybe a bit harsh on Slam Masters as a 1-on-1, considering I was always playing it 2-on-2! It's a lot different 1-on-1, and I think I find it more compelling to go back to than this game, where I couldn't really win grapples and was left doing awkward poking against an AI who didn't seem to know how to do striking attacks or how to avoid them.
    
 
references:
· Fire Pro Joshi: Doumu Choujo Taisen - Zenjo vs JWP (PCCD)

 
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