Wrestling memories with Mike -NESquester- Wright

If you did not know that besides being a gamer and a fantastic retrogaming writer, Mike NESQuester Wright was also a wrestler and during our interview with him on the Alt F4 show we just had to ask him to share some stories with us and he was happy to do so.

Now as you can imagine wrestlers can get crazy so the first story he told us was pretty NSFW so just keep that in mind as you watch this, but honestly, if you ever read or watched anything about wrestling (or football for that matter) it’s not surprising to hear of a story like this.

Mike also shared some other memories of his wrestling days in this clip about interactions with wrestlers and how they treated him and others on their way up and down in the industry.

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.

WWF Superstars

 

WWF Superstars

Technos Japan, 1989

One of the first major licensed arcade wrestling games to hit the US streets did so in 1989 when Technos Japan released WWF Superstars. While not an immensely deep game, it did offer its share of action and enjoyment to those who had enough quarters (it ate quarters like nothing else, save WWF Wrestlefest).

The story: Flashback to WWF in the late 80’s, after the amazing Hogan-Andre feud. Bobby Heenan, then Andre’s manager, sells Andre’s services to the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase (who brought Steve Austin into the WWF).

Their main rivals are the team of Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the Megapowers. This feud was enough to make DiBiase and Andre, the unplayable boss characters in this game, demigods in the eyes of those who played against them.

The Game:

Graphics:

The graphics would fit right into the world of Double Dragon, as they both have a very similar style.  It is definitely well above what the most popular home console, the NES, could do at the time.

Gameplay:

In fact, the punching in this game is Technos-y; IE very much a flailing style not unlike the aforementioned Double Dragon.  Quite different from their actual punches but that’s… fine.

When you pin someone, you immediately control your tag team partner.  This is useful for trying to block your opponent’s partner from breaking your pin, but it can be disorienting at times because as soon as the pin is broken, you’re back in control of your main character.

There is no way to regain your health… even if you tag out.  The only way you can heal yourself is to insert more quarters.  Once your power hits 0, you have no chance of kicking out of a pin.  And, your power does not regenerate EVEN if you win and go on to the next match.  You better either conserve, or have enough quarters ready to go at it.

The sequel, WWF Wrestlefest, would later improve on this mistake, allowing you to regain some health while tagged out.

Sound:

The intro music is fantastic.  I had that tune trapped in my head ever since I first laid eyes on this at Crazy Eights Arcade in Waterbury, CT.  This song absolutely signified WRESTLING to me for quite a bit of time.

Furthermore, when you’re low on power, the music can get QUITE dramatic… until you insert that quarter like you’re supposed to, ya dingus.

WWF Superstars

  Insert coin! Something you’re going to see quite often in this game.

 WWF Superstars Hey… all but two of these guys were still working all the way up to 1999!

Honestly, having six distinct characters to choose from was pretty good for a 1989 game.  A lot of games, including the previously released WWF Wrestlemania for the NES may have had multiple characters, but in many cases, they had the exact same moveset.  Here, each character had their own movesets!

Also unheard of was the fact that each character had their actual finishers (well, except for Duggan of course, who used a clunky bulldog, instead of his 3-point stance clothesline).  Again, this was a feature COMPLETELY missing from the aforementioned WWF Wrestlemania.

WWF Superstars

 Do you have what it takes?

In other words, do you have $50 in quarters?
Seriously.  Games like these were serious quarter
eaters.
 

WWF Superstars 
Ahh… good ol’ New York.  Appears to be Madison Square
Garden.  Noticeably absent is the Iron Sheik, bragging
about how many times he sold the place out.

 WWF Superstars

To demonstrate this game, I chose the Mega Powers.  The only matches available in this game are tag-team.  While this may be unfortunate to today’s wrestlegame fans, it is nevertheless a fun way to spend some pocket change in 1989.

And after 3 gutwrenching and heartbreaking matches for my opponents (and possibly for the poor fans in attendance who had to watch the same tag-team fight over and over again):

WWF Superstars

 WWF Superstars

 WWF Superstars

Mean Gene: “They’re claiming themselves challengers to your world championship belts.”“No one can beat the Mega-Bucks”, Andre says, while gazing longingly at Virgil…

“I’ll put you to sleep with my Million Dollar Dream!”

WWF Superstars Those lazy bastards!  They couldn’t be bothered to drawa new scene for Ted and Andre’s entrance, so they just decided to reverse it!

So as you may have guessed, your final opponents are Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase.  Andre is a notorious pain in the ass.  Do not try any power moves on him…  he can EASILY reverse them!  Once in a while they will work, but it’s best not even tried!  DiBiase is no slouch either, but Andre is SERIOUSLY tough.

After beating the Mega-Bucks:

WWF Superstars

 WWF Superstars

Your victory celebration!

Elizabeth: “I am pleased to present you

with these championship belts!”
But wait there’s more…

 WWF Superstars What??  Do mine eyes decieve me?
Is that the Budokan? Yes it indeed is!
I made many a trip here when I lived in Japan.

 So,yes.  After winning in New York, you are instantly whisked away to the land of Giant Baba and Stan Hansen, as the WWF invades Japan!  Could we be in for some 5 star classics, ala Misawa vs. Kawada?

WWF Superstars 

Nope.
No matter where the WWE goes, it’s always the same.

Hey, didn’t ya ever notice that the computer can duck,

but you can’t? And is DiBiase teaming with the Warrior?  
Only three more matches to go… again.

WWF Superstars 

This again??  “Declaring ourselves”?  I thought we were the champs!

WWF Superstars 
But we already have… nevermind.

Despite my apparent frustration with this game, I actually love it!  At this point, wrestling games, at least in the US (with the sole exception of Pro-Wrestling for the NES) were pretty much garbage.  WWF Wrestlemania for the NES was garbage, and Microleague Championship Wrestling (the C64 / Amiga game which was pretty much rock-paper-scissors with primitive FMV) was nothing but novelty.  WWF Superstars was pretty much the only game in town for a “proper” wrestling game.  It was great for its time, and it still holds up pretty well today!

The only things close to a “port” (and as Bobby Heenan would say, “I use that term LOOSELY”) would be Ocean Software’s 1991 WWF Wrestlemania for C64, DOS, Amiga, etc., and WWF Superstars for the Gameboy, both of which emulated the graphic style and had more contemporaneous wrestlers but added a weird promo mechanic.

But those are for another time!

Games coming out Oct 10th for Consoles

Video Games funny poster
Video Games funny poster

I hope you either have rich parents, a good job or the unemployment check can be diverted from being used for Ramen noodles to video games because the week of October 10th has some great cash draining games.

Medal of Honor

War is hell; war in Medal of Honor is beautiful. When you have the perfect mix of exciting gameplay and incredible graphics then you have a winner. MOH has come back in 2010 with engaging missions, intense firefights and state of the art sound and graphics that puts you right in the game. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Check out the video from the helicopter mission.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode

There is not much more I can say that wasn’t covered in our preview of the game, but while this is a download title, for Sonic fans it’s a slice of heaven. True enough this is not breaking new stuff and some even feel it is nothing more than a Sonic Rush rehash, but the gameplay is fun, the visuals are a prefect mix of classic and modern and the music… well the music needs work, but hey its only fifteen bucks.

Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring

We got to look at this game while at E3 and if you are a wrestling fan in the very least then this title is worth taking a look at. Lucha Libre is Mexican style wrestling and that means high-flying stunts and crazy insane costumes. Pretty much it’s like playing a highlight reel of the WWE or TNA, on crack. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are stunning so if you need a break from the normal step into the ring with the Lucha Libre’s

So there you are three titles worth checking out next week and since one is a download it shouldn’t break your bank too much. I’ll be back next with a look at the games coming out for consoles the week of Oct 17th. Until then go make some extra cash.