Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen’s Special

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen’s Special

As I’ve talked about herehere and here, joshi (women’s) pro-wrestling has been, at various times, a popular form of entertainment in Japan over the years. And since having been introduced to it via some TV exposure in the United States and via tape trading (GOD I feel old whenever I talk about the concept of tape trading nowadays), I’ve pretty much become a fan myself, even going so far as going to see Eagle Sawai’s retirement in 2007. But, the concept of women’s wrestling to be mainstream enough to get an actual licensed video game was quite novel to me at the time. So that’s why I did a bit of a mini freakout when I found that there were actually quite a few. For instance, did you know that Pro-Wrestling on the SEGA Master System was actually converted from a game based around the Crush Girls and their fued with Dump Matsumoto and crew?

Well, I found out about these while researching Fire Pro Wrestling games. This was well before my time in Japan of course, and therefore thought I’d never have the chance to be able to buy them, so I played the hell out of the roms. And the one I played the most was Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen’s Special.

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen's Special super famicom
Released in June of 1995 on the Super Famicom (and apparently there was a PC Engine CD version released in February of that year), Queen’s Special was unique in that it was an officially licensed Fire Pro game. Besides the joshi games, all Fire Pro games, from the first one on the PC Engine to the last one released on the PS2 even here in the US (I’m not counting that little XBLA loser) have been unlicensed games. Sure, the characters would strongly resemble real life wrestlers, but they had no official permission to have them in the game. However, these were different. And they were officially licensed from All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling.

It wasn’t until 2007 while living in Yamanashi that I was finally able to receive a full, in the box copy, and I’ve since played it to completion a number of times.

Let’s take a closer look.

Control:

Control is similar to just about any Fire Pro Game, IE you walk up to your opponent to initiate grapple, and press your desired button or arrow direction plus button at the proper time to execute a move. The game will then internally do some sort of rock-paper-scissors with both you and your opponent’s stats to decide who’s move gets done.

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen's Special super famicom

One thing to warn “y’all” about, and its something I catch myself doing from time to time, is that, like every Fire Pro game, when you perch yourself on the top rope, you’d better be sure of which button you want to press. This is because it doesn’t matter if the opponent is standing up or lying down… if you press that button, it’s only gonna do one move.

Unlike the wrestling games we’re familiar with today, Fire Pro had a single move dedicated to a single button in this case. If your opponent is down and you press A, then your Manami is going to attempt a top-rope dropkick, and miss horribly.

Visuals:

Animations are completely new and have not been seen in any Fire Pro before or since.

Notable:

Joshi Bridge!

Also, no breathe button!
Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen's Special super famicomMoves are animated to look very… joshi. If you’ve seen Japanese women’s professional wrestling before, you’d know that they work very differently from the men. This game does well in capturing that, and is probably why these animations have not been seen since.

Gameplay:

You work the match by wearing down your opponent using weaker grapple moves in the beginning, and then mixing it up with submissions and peppering in a few lucky strikes whenever you can. All of your moves are available from the outset, and you DON’T have to work up any “momentum bar” up to any “Specials” or “Finishers”. Nope. It’s all there.

Super Fire Pro Wrestling Queen's Special super famicom

Now why wouldn’t you want to use it?

Because you’d be reversed to HELL if you did. Sure, you might be able to land a lucky few… and if your character is relatively stronger than your opponent, maybe you’ll be able to pull off a few. BUT DON’T TRY IT.

Or, you know what, go ahead. Try it. See where it gets you.

However, I’ve noticed that as soon as you’re able to knock them down with a single strike, then they’re pretty ready to receive just about any grapple you want to hit. Just about.

Character Name Changes:

Chigusa Nagayo – Vampire Woman
Devil Masami – Demolition … something
Dinamite Kansai – Kansai Dinosaur??

Issues:

– Like any other Fire Pro game, the CPU logic makes no distinction between moves that should be done on the outside versus moves that should be done on the inside. Your opponent will always eat up valuable count-out time wrapping you up in a submission hold.

Super Bomberman 4

Super Bomberman 4

Super Bomberman 4

There are 5 Super Bomberman games on the SNES/SFC. Not many people know this as in the Western world only the first 3 were released. The problem is that Super Bomberman 4 was released in 1996 which was around the time the SNES had started to drop in popularity. The world was anticipating the next generation of systems, & the 16 bit machines were being abandoned. Not in Japan however, where SNES games were made well into the year 2000. On a side note, recently a Bomberman article featured in Retrogamer magazine where they claim that number 5 was the only one never released outside Japan, but I can’t find any evidence to suggest 4 was so we’ll put that down to being a mistake.

So let’s have a look at the game. A very nice intro starts us off with Shiro & Kuro (another little known fact is that the 2 Bombers actually have names) asleep on a rocket ship which is attacked by a group of 5 evil bombers.

Super Bomberman 4

The guys are then awoken from their sleep & they are sent into a world full of clocks for some reason with a little girl dressed in cowboy clothes. Hey, it’s Japanese, I don’t speak it, so that’s the best I can give you. The manual has a little comic at the start which explains the story, but as it too is in Japanese I can’t refer to that for plot points I’m afraid. Does the plot of a Bomberman game REALLY matter though? We all know what we’re here for. BLOWING THINGS UP!!!

As you can see by the title screen at the top of the page you have your typical 3 options of “Normal Game”, “Battle Game” & “Password” for the normal game. If you’ve ever played a Bomberman game you’ll be pretty familiar with these options. If not I’ll explain as we go along. How does Bomberman 4 differ from the others? Well I’m glad you asked…

Here’s the first stage:

Super Bomberman 4

Not a lot in it, is there? Looks like Bomberman 1, Bomberman 2 & Bomberman 3. Bomberman 5 had a massive graphics overhaul which will be covered in another review later on. But here we are, typical Bomberman play. For the uninitiated, You play as Shiro (the white bomber) or Kuro (the black bomber) & using an infinite supply of bombs (though initially you can only use 1 at a time) you must blow up boxes blocking your path to the enemies, collect any powerups that may appear from those blocks, then blow up the enemies, then an exit will appear. You go to that exit & it’s level over. It really is the simplest of concepts.

Super Bomberman 4

Each Bomberman game has little things which differentiate it from the one previous. Bomberman 3 was quite innovative in that it had the Louies (Rooies), who were kangaroo type characters that you could ride. When blown up, some of the blocks in the level would reveal an egg you could collect. It would hatch into a Louie & you could ride it. Each Louie has its own special ability. Yes, it’s Bomberman’s version of Yoshi, but we won’t dwell on that as the Louies aren’t in this game. They do come back in Bomberman 5 however.

Super Bomberman 4

Bomberman 4 expands on this feature by allowing you to defeat enemies & use their special abilities. Some enemies when blown up will become green spotted, or metallic eggs. You collect the eggs, they hatch back into that enemy you blew up & they become your pets, allowing you to ride them & use their special abilities.

Unlike Bomberman 3 you can stockpile these guys allowing you to ride one & carry 2 eggs behind you in reserve. The problem with this is when you lay a bomb you must get those eggs out the way or they WILL be destroyed, even if you’re clear of the bomb yourself. If you are in a 2 player game your ally can come & pinch one of the eggs. This can be a problem in Battle Mode which we’ll cover later.

Super Bomberman 4

Another new idea introduced in this game is the idea of imprisoned Bombers who you can free. In some levels you will see a rattling cage such as the one pictured below. It’s along the left. side of the image.

Blow up the cage & you get yourself an ally for the remainder of the level. Here he is in the top left corner of the screen.

Why is he up there for seemingly no reason? Well the problem is these Bombers aren’t too bright, just seeming to lay bombs at random. This can cause problems as they don’t seem to care where you are when they place them. You don’t HAVE to free them to pass the level, so if you want to leave them to rot in their tiny cages go right ahead. They deserve it!!

Super Bomberman 4

I haven’t touched on the powerups yet. Upon destroying blocks you may find one of the following:

Skates for speed
Wooden sandals to slow you down
Additional bombs
Additional blast power
Viruses that cause random negative affects
Remote control bombs
Protection vest
The ability to kick bombs out of your way
The ability to punch bombs
The ability to be hit once & still remain in the game
Extra lives
Spikey bombs that go through blocks
Clock that freezes enemies
The ability to go through walls
The ability to pick up other Bombermen & throw them
The ability to push other Bombermen
2 others I can’t understand from the manual. One has a picture of a question mark & another as a normal human face. I never saw this item while playing the game, so I don’t know what it is.

Super Bomberman 4

The single player mode showcases some impressive bosses. The guys at Hudson really have a good imagination when it comes to designing some of these.

Not much to say here. Hit them 8 times with a bomb blast & they’re history.

Music is fun as always with variations on Bomberman themes featured in the earlier games. In Bomberman 3 as soon as you turned the console on you would hear a voice saying “By Hudsonsoft”. This voice is back but it’s slightly slower & less high pitched. The little Bombers will speak occasionally, but as it’s in Japanese I don’t really know what they’re saying.

Super Bomberman 4

Let’s move on to Battle Mode. Bomberman 4 gives us a little more yet keeps the improvements introduced in Bomberman 3. You can either choose a generic Bomber or one of the 5 enemies.

Now these guys aren’t just new sprites that look different. Each of the Bombers has their own special ability which can be used to cause problems for the opposition. For example, one of them can swing a ball & chain over their heads knocking items off anyone they hit & scattering them across the screen for other players to pick up. Another one can shoot fire destroying anyone it hits, but he loses all his powerup abilities for a short time afterwards. Now you & all of your friends will want to play Battle mode over & over trying all 6 of them… presumably that was the idea anyway…

Super Bomberman 4

When a Bomber gets blown up you can switch on an option that will allow them to come back & exact revenge on the players still in the play field. They pilot little ships that hover on the outside of the play field & can lob bombs into it. If a player is hit on the head with one of these bombs they get stunned & lose some of their items which will scatter around the screen, so if you blow someone up watch out!!! They may come back & hunt you down.

Super Bomberman 4

Summary.

This is without a doubt my favourite Bomberman game & it’s a shame it was never released outside Japan. What makes it my favourite? I personally think it’s the most innovative of the 5 games. Lots of new ideas which expand on an old favourite. It’s got to be 5/5. Sheer Hudsonsoft brilliance.

Dragon Warrior III

Dragon Warrior 3 Box

Dragon Warrior III

This is definitely my favorite Dragon Warrior for the NES. Apart from the introductory Dragon Warrior for the same console, Dragon Warrior 3 introduces different ways to play the game. One of the neatest ways is the option to build up your ultimate team. You can change the characters of your team to your liking and therefore have a dream team! Well, wouldn’t call it a dream team since you will be trying a lot of different characters before you find the one of your liking. Your dream team could be different from every other players dream team. For myself, I would pick all fighters and one mage just to heal but then again there are some monsters that are weak against spells and strong against hits so there goes that idea. I would probably pick two fighters, one healer, and one offensive magic user. It’s just like in FF for the NES, it worked great all the way to the end.

Dragon Warrior 3 Gameplay Screenshot

 

Dragon Warrior 3 is just one of the best RPGs for the NES period. I personally liked it better than part four and more so than part 2. I don’t think the first one counts as it’s more of an introduction to the genre. The graphics of the game are your typical Dragon Warrior for the NES graphics and the music delivers the same Dragon Warrior feel. Old RPG fans will be in heaven with the complexity this game can accomplish. The quest also keeps you involved in the game and makes you want to come back for more. As for price range, this game goes in the 20-30s depending on condition and if it comes with that damn NES box.

 

Overall, Dragon Warrior 3 is a must have for an RPG collection especially if you are trying to find those old NES titles. You won’t be disappointed I guarantee it!

The Pirates Cove: Famicom Carts

Here they are my latest Famicom finds and they are all pirate carts!! Oh yes these are all pirate carts for some pretty fun games:

Famicom Pirate Cartridges 1

That game you see with the airplanes is actually Tetris. I don’t know why there are airplanes all over the cart but I guess they were trying to make it look cool. There is also Adventure Island, Sky Kid, and some Namcot baseball game.

Famicom Pirate Cartridges 2

Then finally the top games of this find. Behold are Contra, Super Mario Bros, Yu Yu Hakusho + Dragon Ball Z, and some strategy game. These are actually the carts that cost me that most. The Yu Yu Hakusho is pretty unique which lets you play the whole dark tournament saga and maybe even more since I haven’t gotten that far yet. You can also pick which fighter you’ll fight with and they also have their own unique powers!!
Famicom Pirate Cartridges 3

Well that’s about it. Lots of good stuff here and there. There will be more new things in the future so stay tuned.

Captain Tsubasa 3

Captain Tsubasa 3 - Box

This time around I will suggest any of you to pick up a copy of Captain Tsubasa 3 for the Super Famicom. This game is unique in many ways. The most unique way this game separates from any other game is because it has a Soccer/RPG genre glued to it. How can this work together you say? Well the geniuses at Tecmo did it with high success.

Many people who have played the whole saga throughout the years will tell you that this is the one everyone must have in their collection. The game plays very simple as you receive the ball and then use the d-pad to move around the soccer field. The bottom of the screen has a radar look since it shows where you and your team mates are as well as the other team. Once you approach a member of the other team you will encounter him and will have to make a decision on what you want to do. In some cases, you can try and dribble the ball past by him although this will depend on how good the player holding the ball is. You can also pass it to another team member among other things.

Captain Tsubasa 3 - Gameplay Screenshot

Overall, there is a lot of interesting aspects to this game including a player vs player mode where you can go against a friend with the games’ all stars. I highly recommend this game as well because of the fantastic soundtrack it holds. If you are still unsure you want to pick this game up, I suggest you try the rom via-emulator and see for yourself if this game is worth the money.

Did you know? This game has been hacked into various versions including one that was translated to Spanish? One day I’ll find a copy to show the world!

Commercial Wars: Best use of Mario Bros – Japanese edition

super mario bros mushroom girls cosplay
super mario bros mushroom girls cosplay

If you don’t know who the Mario Bros are stop reading right now. The fact is like Pac-Man Mario is a video game icon and with over 25 years of Mario Bros featuring many classic unforgettable hits it is no wonder the plumbers are still going strong today. Even when Mario is not fighting against Bowser or trying to rescue the princess many of his games have been entertaining from Tennis to Go-Kart racing. Obviously he has been in a ton of commercials and this week we look at the ones who used him best.

As you know the Nintendo Entertainment System originated in Japan and anyone who has watched any extended amount of Japanese commercials knows they can go from funny to crazy to downright disturbing. Let’s take a look at some of these commercials and vote on who gets the top spot.

Super Mario Bros 2 USA

If you thought Birdo was weird before this commercial from Japan will not make things better. Honestly, they makes things worse. Funny thing is there is an ongoing debate as to whether Birdo is a guy who dresses like a girl or a girl. My question is do you really want to know the answer. Unfortunately, I don’t have the translation for what Birdo said, but man watching him, her, it push that egg out of its snout was just disturbing.

Super Mario Bros: DS

So I won’t lie I just put this commercial here because the Japanese lady is cute and what she says and her facial expression are pretty cool. This was part of a series of Japanese commercials that showcased people acting naturally while playing the game instead of acting out a script. I think it was a winner.

Super Mario World: Super Famicom

I really think Mario could win America Idol I mean just look at his moves and singing style. Do you really need to know what he is saying? I have to say I like the presentation with the animated Mario and particularly the animated Bowser at the end. You have to give it to the Japanese; they know how to roll out a product.

Paper Mario

I swear this commercial makes Mario look like a mix between Barbie and Batman. Mario is just chillin on his own private beach, golfing, playing tennis and then boom, he has to go be all bad ass. Mario was smart and made sure to get all the royalties and now he is the Bruce Wayne of Japan.

Mario Kart: DS

It’s Mario Kart United Nations style. I love how the Japanese portray the American version, lol. I can’t blame them we do it to them.  I wonder why they are called the Hot Mario Bros, sounds like a porno.