Ok, I admit it: I’m a bit of a wrestling fan. Not a follower or attendee of things like WWE or whatever the other ones are called, but the actual sport. I suppose you could call it grappling as well. You see, I’ve always been a fan of martial arts, but striking isn’t my thing. I like a good old’ wrestle. Don’t judge me.
As a kid, I loved wrestling when we had Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks in the UK, WWE when it was called WWF, and then we had it’s counterpart WCW with one of my favourites, Sting. Nope, not from The Police. I know my demographics, huh?
Anyways, I grew up and put the above behind me, but always picked up a wrestling game when I could find one. My favourite for a lengthy period was in the arcades called WWF WrestleFest. It was the golden age of wrestling for me with the likes Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan and Legion of Doom. I think it’s aged quite well.
Let’s quickly get back on track with this show and bring up today’s NES title, Pro Wrestling. Now, Pro Wrestling is arguably one of the better early wrestling games I’ve played as the majority of them omitted the grappling side and were men in pants slugging it out with punches and kicks, but no throws.
I expected this to be quite dull – most of the sports games I’ve played thus far have been – Super Dodgeball, Tennis and Soccer, to name a few – but it was ok. There is a choice of six fighters to choose from. The first one I went for was Fighter Hayabusa as he looked average and sounded cool. Ahem. I lost the first fight, and then the second so felt it appropriate to change my character to Kin Corn Carn. No logic, I just thought I’d try him.
Interestingly, I started to smash through the rounds in Pro Wrestling with ease. Kin Corn Carn was a winner. That was until I met Giant Panther and encountered my first loss. I was under the impression that it would be game over, but you can continue, to improve your rank. After the defeat, I was back on track and the top banana. I reached rank #1, played for a few more rounds and won, then called it a night.
There is a further boss in Pro Wrestling named Great Puma, and he’s supposed to be pretty tough. Well, I guess I’m glad I didn’t get that far as I probably would have seen this game in a different light as I enjoyed it once I got the hang of it.
The gameplay is straightforward: it’s wrestling. You punch and kick your opponent to wear them down and then you can start with the throws and moves like a suplex or piledriver. When I was on my winning streak, I thought I could cheese it and throw my opponent about like a rag doll then go in for the pin. This doesn’t work though as your wrestler will sweat it out and won’t be able to pick them up.
So, you wear them down with punches, throw them into the ropes and do a dropkick. You can even throw them out of the ring to get some dirty hits in. As you’d expect, the graphics won’t blow you away, neither will the sound, but it’s good clean fun. There is a two-player mode, and I’m quite tempted to give that a go. Once I can make a friend.
How much did I pay for this title? Nuffink. It’s part of the NES Online catalogue, and so far, this is going in the top ten. However, there isn’t much competition, in my opinion. While it’s no Tekken or Street Fighter II, it’s worthy of a play – whether it be nostalgia or just a bit of old fashioned button mashing. What a rush.