Power Move Pro Wrestling (PS1) Review

Power Move Pro Wrestling

The first entry into the Wrestling Game Rundown since the old game review blog got transferred over to this one, and it also happens to be the first 3D wrestling game on the list, and indeed the first 3D wrestling game I ever played. We’re also back into made up wrestlers / promotions side of things, though only briefly! (well, for the entire roster, anyway…) So let’s have a look at this old PS1 game, see if it’s a hidden gem, or a blocky mess… or both!

Background:

PMPW 2

Area 51 vs. Danny McGee… What were the programmers on about?

Power Move Pro Wrestling was originally released in Japan as Toukon Retsuden (Fighting Spirit) on the 29th of September 1995. It featured stars, refs and rings from New Japan Pro Wrestling, all of which were removed for the international releases under the Power Move title, including the US on the 14th of November 96, and Europe a month or so later.

The roster is actually the same as Toukon Retsuden, at least moveset wise, with the textures and names of the wrestlers featured changed to stuff like “Da Judge”, “Agent Orange”, and my personal favourite “The Egyptian Conniption”. The last one taught me a new word, if nothing else! (Conniption: “A fit of rage or hysterics”)

Gameplay:

PMPW 4

The legendary King Og! Could you manage to beat him? Did you actually know about him before reading this? What’s that? No? Fair enough.

The gameplay is quite odd. You have a strike button, a submission move button, and a “strength move” button (or a grapple move…), each one has a generic move by pressing the button, and a second move with each by holding the button down. Then each wrestler has two or three signature moves done by specifically pressing a direction and one of the buttons, all of which are laid out in the instruction booklet (remember those?) The thing that makes this odd is there is a rock-paper-scissors mechanic going on, with strike beating grapple, submission beating strike, and grapple beating submission. So even if you’re about to hit a strong strike, nothing will happen if your opponent happens to have tried for a submission move first…

There are also Irish whips with the remaining Square button, running moves, rebound moves, top rope moves, and you can fight outside the ring, though there are no weapons to speak of. That’s about it, control wise! I will say that while it’s an odd system, it does still work! The actual striking and grappling feels quite smooth and there is just enough variety in moveset to make it actually quite fun to play…

Modes on the other hand are limited in that there are only singles matches available. You can play an exhibition match (vs. another player or the CPU), you can run the gauntlet of all 12 other fighters with your chosen wrestler, you can go for a championship, and finally compete in a tournament or league (that’s when you know it’s based off of a Japanese game!) You can also save replays of your matches and watch them with your mates… I wonder if anyone ever actually did that…

Graphics and Sound:

PMPW 1

An actual ring announcer… with a voice!

The graphics are obviously not going to be good here, being an early PS1 game. That being said, they went with a simple approach to the models, and due to this there isn’t anything wrong with them, per say, except floating torsos and arms that don’t quite connect… The ring mats and crowd are what really look old now… That the menus, which are blurry static images and are all and soul-sucking grey that just makes everything look dull. The font for the names are pretty terrible as well… *ahem*, still, the models are fine for what they are…

Soundwise is fine though! You have generic rock tracks for menus and in-game, and they even have a (super-cheesy and badly acted) ring announcer! Plus you get chants for each wrestler that play when you get high momentum and your name flashes.

Thoughts Then:

PMPW 3

Look at the change in camera angle! (and don’t look at the guard rail…)

I was so excited about WCW vs. The World in 1997, I kept a single-page preview of it in a draw, looking at it from time to time in anticipation… then it got delayed for like, half a year. Thankfully when wandering around a second-hand shop, I found this tucked away, and I got my fix of 3D wrestling before finally getting my hands of vs. The Word the following year (or did I get it at the end of the year? Can’t remember, but I don’t recall getting it for Christmas, so… Anyway!) Power Move Pro Wrestling may lack any recognisable wrestlers, rings or even tag matches, but it did provide me with a fun 3D wrestling engine for the very first time, and trust me, a lot of later 3D games were a lot worse than this, control-wise… It did get old after a few weeks though, due to lack of things to do. Still played it with friends up until vs. The World though…

4 Star Game Old

Thoughts Now:

PMPW 5

The jaggedness happens mid-motion, that’s why the other screen shots are all during static moments…

Well, it was more nostalgic than I thought it would be, and I’d genuinely forgotten about the ring announcing, which was funny. The actual gameplay wasn’t bad either! I had quite a few more matches than I really needed to, though the lack of options definitely hurts it. I doubt I’ll come back to this again now I’ve covered it here, but for what its worth, it’s still fun to play, even if it’s just for a short burst…

3 Star Game New

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