Friday, 19 October 2012

Stardust Suplex (SNES)

If you know me, you probably know I like wrestling quite a bit, and women's wrrestling even more so! Unfortunately, the time at which women's wrestling was most popular was about 20 years ago, so not many games get made about it any more. There's the Rumble Roses series, which plays pretty well, and is excellently presented, but it also has a really seedy undercurrent of objectification in a genre that should be about the opposite, and you can play as women in the WWE games, but they seem to go out of their way to  discourage doing so.

It feels bad knowing there'll never be a super-awesome Ice Ribbon or Shimmer videogame. By contrast, Stardust Suplex gets it right. The atmosphere is excellent thanks to little details like how before each match, you see the wrestlers wearing the fancy and elaborate entrance costumes that were (and continue to be) a characteristic part of joshi puroresu. For a game released so early in the life of the genre, Stardust Suplex has a pretty decent amount of match types and play modes. There's an elimination battle royal for up to 4 players, a versus mode with single and tag matches, and the main single player mode, that can be played as singles or tag matches, with the tag matches also allowing for two player co-op play. The wrestlers all have a lot of personality, too. From those entrance costumes, to the fact that they all look distinct without having lazy stereotypical gimmicks, and they all even have their own taunts and victory poses. There's also some kind of dialogue between matches in the main single player mode, but unfortunately, the language barrier gets in the way of my enjoying that. They're all fictional, but it's the Fire Pro kind of fictional, where they're blatantly supposed to be real wrestlers with slightly different names. THe most obvious examples here being Hell Takano and Raja Tongo, two characters who bear suspicious resemblence to real life wrestlers Bull Nakano and Aja Kong. Luckily, going along with all the other good things i've had to say about this game so far, it actually plays well too! It's not slow or stiff, and though the grappling doesn't have the precision of the Fire Pro games, it doesn't feel completely broken. The only real problem I've had is that I haven't been able to work out how to tag out in tag matches. But other than that, the game's a lot of fun to play. I'd say it's even better than Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel! I haven't played Fire Pro Joshi All-Star Dream Slam yet, so I won't go as far to say it's the best old-time women's wrestling game.
As an extra note, the reason the screenshots are laid out strangely in this post is because the new blogger interfact has made it impossible to move them  vertically. THANKS GOOGLE GREAT JOB.

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