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Fire Pro Wrestling 2

Review By:  Nick Arvites

Developer:  Spike
Publisher:  Bam!
# of Players:  1-2
Genre:  Wrestling
ESRB:  Teen
Accessories:  Link Cable
Date Posted:  2-25-03

Is it just me or have wrestling games been really lacking lately? After hearing great things about the Fire Pro series from a friend who imports them, I had high hopes for the domestic version of Fire Pro Wrestling 2. While it wasnít a terrible game in itself, there were some problems that killed the replay value.

This game features 200 wrestlers from 18 organizations. Let me break this down in reality for you. This game features 200 wrestlers and 18 organizations based on the real life 200 real wrestlers from 18 real organizations. If youíre not catching my drift, I mean the wrestlers do not have the real life names. That isnít a problem since itís pretty easy to figure out some of the WWF/WCW characters and the Internet is loaded with lists that display the game name and the real name. You can also edit the names to display the real life names, but anyone who does not follow Japanese wrestling at all will be completely confused as to who roughly 150 people actually are.

The graphics are pretty good, but they arenít something to write home about. The characters are visible and have some detail and I did not experience any sort of slowdowns at all. The arenas are pretty detailed and each arena has some sort of difference from the last.

Fire Pro Wrestling 2 plays much like a good wrestling title should. The action is constant, but does not cause the game to turn into a button-masher. However, I found that I did not use any normal standing attacks (punches and kicks) because you cannot get close enough. Why? Because grappling is automatic. You grapple by walking too close to your opponent. I would have preferred to have a manual grappling button, but this is not possible due to the GBAís two-button design. The grapple system behaves like most of the other wrestling games out there. Once in a grapple, you press one of the buttons (or both simultaneously) and a direction. You can also whip them into the ropes or corners. Unless you created the character, it will take a while to learn each individualís move list. There are a few different types of matches. There is the standard single and tag matches, handicap matches, battle royals, submission only, and (my personal favorite) death match complete with an exploding ring and electrified cage.

One of the biggest flaws is the main single player mode. The Japanese version featured a complete franchise style mode. The domestic version features a downright BORING "Ironman Road" mode. All this mode has is a bunch of matches. Some are regular, some are tag, but the mode is weak and boring. You will get sick of it fairly quick and wonít play through it long enough to unlock all of the wrestlers (you unlock wrestlers by doing this mode).

The create-a-wrestler is awesome. You can customize the complete look of your character, your size, your stance, your fight style and your defense style. You can designate certain moves as finishers and special moves and assign yourself some special abilities. The create-a-wrestler mode is really helped by the create-an-organization mode. You can make your own organization and add wrestlers to it. Granted, this means pretty much nothing since the Ironman Road does not take organization affiliation into effect.

The music bites. Even for Gameboy terms, the music in this game is really annoying. I found myself cutting the sound off most times playing it. Surprisingly, the referees have a limited voice. Aside from that and the occasional grunts, this game is drowned out by the bad background music.

One glaring problem with this game is the instruction booklet. I have never seen a 43-page booklet explain so little in my life. It does NOT run down the controls or gameplay and barely tells you anything. I HIGHLY recommend playing the tutorial because it is the only way you will learn how to play this game. Also, when creating a wrestler, remember to include a pin move. There is no universal pin button, so my first few attempts at a create-a-wrestler couldnít win matches.

Highs:

  • S200 wrestlers
  • Relatively solid gameplay
  • Excellent Create-A-Wrestler

Lows:

  • Little replay value
  • Ironman Road is terrible
  • Bad music
  • Terrible instruction book

Final Verdict:

From what Iíve gathered, they would have done better to translate the Japanese version of this game and kept the original career-style mode instead of insulting my intelligence with this Ironman Road nonsense. At least give me SOME options to keep gameplay fresh. Just going down a list of opponents is lame. If there was any sort of mode that drew you in, this game would be one of the top notch GBA titles. Instead, it is just another average wrestling title.

Overall Score: 7.3

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