During the NES’s heyday, there were two wrestling games I spent countless hours on: Tag Team Wrestling & Wrestlemania. Because I had so much fun pretending to be the play by play announcer and making my own sound effects, I will always remember these games in fondness.
I also remember when Saturday Night Slam Masters was released. I was so engrossed by the pictures I saw of it in gaming magazines. I wanted to play it badly. Fast forward to 2012. Can this game be the SNES equivalent to my beloved Wrestlemania/ Tag Team Wrestling games?
It’s Saturday Night!
All around the world, wrestling was perceived to become a stagnant sport. Capcom decided to change all that. The big C issued an invitation for all the best and toughest wrestlers on earth to join the newly founded Capcom Wrestling Association. Only eight people dared to take the challenge. From venues like Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, and more, these mighty warriors battle it out to see who’s the Ultimate Slam Master!
Controls and Gameplay
Controls can get pretty convoluted. At the core, you utilize three buttons: Y to attack, B to jump, and A to pin. All the other controls build on that foundation. Using a different combination of the previously mentioned action buttons and control pad, you can do a wide array of things like grab, perform body slams, shakeout from a grab, jump out of the ring, jump on top of the ropes, and so much more. It’ll take due diligence in studying the manual to get the most out of your wrestler.
I didn’t feel it was easy to get a handle on the more involved movements. For example, you’re supposed to press the control pad toward the opponent and then press attack to execute a grab. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to grab my opposition unless it was sheer luck and I wasn’t trying to grab!
The unsatisfying controls leads me to the gameplay. I just didn’t have fun with this game. Not only does it take a decent amount of time to masterfully execute the advanced movements, the computer is cheap, cheap, cheap! It seemed like everytime your opponent gets within a couple inches of you, you are grabbed, thrown, and can’t do anything about it. This makes for a very angry reviewer.
Not only does the utter cheapness of the computer controlled wrestlers irk me, the sluggishness of the gameplay compounds my frustration with the game. Yes, you can run, but everything still feels a step or two slower than it should be. Where’s the hyper fighting star setting when you really need it?
I don’t know. Maybe this game isn’t meant to be played as a one player excursion. This is one of the few games that utilizes the Multitap. Four human players can play together for a rumble royale’. Unfortunately I don’t have others to play this game with me. This is a review strictly on the one player experience.
There are two game modes: Single Match Mode, and Team Battle Royal. Single match is between two wrestlers and whoever pins or submits the other, wins. You can play the computer and battle all the other wrestlers until you beat the game. Or a human pal can jump in for a little mano vs. mano action. Team Battle Royal supports up to four human players. This is where the game probably shines; with four buddies duking it out in a two vs. two wrestlefest.
In my opinion, the game seems like an average fighting game staged in a ring. The only real difference is the aspect of pinning or putting your enemy in a submission hold to win.
Yes, you can bounce off the ropes. Yes, you can climb to the top of the ring pole and slam down into your opposition. Yes, you can jump in and out the ring. Yes, you can grab a chair and bash someone with it. It has many of the ingredients for a good wrestling game, but for some reason things didn’t pan out.
In terms of options, you can change the difficulty, time limit, button configuration, and sound setting between stereo or monaural. There’s also the typical music test to sample musical pieces from the game.
Graphics and Sound
Graphics are good overall. The opening cinematic looks amazing and gets you pumped for the action. The fighters are of decent size, except for El Stingray. The games looks rich with color, which is highly appreciated by this reviewer. The crowd moves throughout the match. They look good, but many of them are recycled throughout the arena. There are ring walk ins that are entertaining to watch the first handful of times, but get tedious after awhile. Thankfully you can skip pass them. The various rings are a different color which sort of makes it seem like you’re in another stadium; everything else about the stages look the same as the previous ones.
Music isn’t very memorable. The tunes sound like something that could be produced on the NES. I can almost give this a pass since this is an arcade port. As people who went to arcades know, you rarely heard the music of arcade games due to all the chatter, commotion, and sound unison in the surrounding area. But I said almost. Many arcade games had wonderful music, so this game must be dinged for it.
Sounds are serviceable. You get nothing special. You’ll get the typical grunts, crowd cheers, the sound of slamming into the mat, etc. There is a ring announcer, but you won’t get a play by play of the action (If you want play by play, you’ll have to do your own). The announcer only says the location of the action before the match, “fight”, “you lose”, ‘you win”, or “ring out”.
This game isn’t meant for a one player experience. To get maximum enjoyment out of this game, you’ll need the Multitap and three other human players. But even with a full complement of buddies, the action will seem very sluggish which will put a damper on your experience. Controls are tricky to master, so you’ll need the manual or GameFaqs to get the most out of the character you are using. If playing against the computer, expect it to be cheap to the point of frustration! Only pick this game up if you’re planning to play with three friends.
I also didn’t like the fact it takes forever to get on your feet once you fall down and you have to tap the attack button like a madman to get out of a pin.
Two stars for the one player experience. It would probably be a three star game if you were playing with your buddies.
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