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Champion Wrestler
  opened by paleface at 18:47:52 08/17/03  
  last modified by paleface at 19:11:05 08/17/03  
  paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Wrestling; loc=Japan]
Fun isometric 2d-ish wrestling game, quite similar to Fire Pro in style and execution. For instance, you tap one or two buttons when the wrestlers make contact to perform a move, like Fire Pro, rather than just mashing buttons like nearly every other wrestling game. And again when you're pinned, you just hold one button to get free. If anything there's a bit more attack depth as you have five rather than three attack power levels in addition to Irish Whip moves, turnbuckle stuff, and a couple special moves for each unique wrestler. The original arcade CW came out in the same year as the first Fire Pro (on PC Engine), but this PS port came out years later, so I wonder if most of the Fire Pro similarities were in the original, or added later? One reason I'm wondering is that if you look up screenshots of the original you'll see health meters at the top of the screen; they took those out for the PlayStation version, so it has no screen interface to get in the way of the action (even moreso than Fire Pro, which just has a clock).
There's no CAW ("Create-A-Wrestler") mode, alas, but there are thirty or so wrestlers to choose from (pro look-a-likes) and each has a bunch of costumes and a couple moves unique to that character. Mode-wise you've just got single-player, practice, Vs, and a four-player mode. Graphically the wrestlers look a lot like Fire Pro men, meaning that they're pixelated and obviously stuck together at the joints. The whole screen seems kind of stretched horizontally, I think the original must have been in a different video mode or something. It's got multitap support for four players, yay!, but also the single-player isn't bad, just a series of bouts against tougher opponents.
The best part is how the Japanese announcer calls out the moves as you perform them. "Stomping! Stomping!" All the sound effects are great, come to think of it. The game is viciously difficult: even on the lowest difficulty level you'll kill your hand wiggling the stick to get out of submission holds and the AI will joyfully rip off an irresistable string of chops and throws just when you thought you had him on the ropes. Very good.
· Champion Wrestler (PCE)

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