Saturday, 1 February 2014

Monster Puroresu (PC Engine)

This game is a bit of a curiosity: it's a turn-based strategy wrestling game! Mechanically, it has more in common with Pokemon than Fire Pro Wrestling. This actually put me off the game when I first discovered it a few years ago: I saw the title and started it, expecting a probably-awful wrestling game along the lines of
Beast Wrestler or King of the Monsters, and greeted by many little boxes of Japanese text, I instantly turned it off.
Years later, I decided to give it another try and I'm glad I did! Although you'll be missing out on little, unimportant things like the plot or the names of moves, most of the stuff actually related to playing the game is expressed through numbers (and in case you're wondering, the plot, according to a website I found long ago is that an evil demon has taken control of the world, and a human scientist has created a group of mutant wrestlers to fight the demon's forces and liberate humanity).
Each wrestler has five stats: HP, ST, MP, SP, and GT. HP and MP are self-explanatory, serving the same purposes they serve in every game. SP isn't so obvious, and its purpose is still somewhat obscure to me. To explain ST and GT first requires explaining how the game works.
The matches are turn-based, and each turn both wrestlers select a move from their repetoire. Moves come in four categories: hold, hit, power and magic. On selecting a move, each wrestler also recieves a
semi-randomly generated number, the wrestler with the highest roll is the attacker and the other defends. Each move also has its own power rating, higher rated moves do more damage, but tend to get lower rolls. The ST stat also determines how likely a wrestler is to get higher rolls, and GT is a temporary stat, which is increased when a wrestler takes damage, and it can be decreased when selecting a move to slightly increase your chance of getting a high number. After moves have been selected, there's a few seconds during which the players tap button I as quickly as possible to affect a blue/red bar determining how much damage the attacker's move does. This repeats until one wrestler's HP is reduced to zero.
While all this is happening, the top half of the screen depicts the action. Although the animation is pretty limited, the sprites are huge and the animation that there is does do a good job. Moves look painful, even when there's very silly cartoonish things going on like heads being pulled off and limbs exploding. The
wrestlers also all have very expressive faces, and amusing reactions to dismemberment and pain, whether their own or their opponents.
Monster Puroresu is a pretty fun game, though it definitely isn't for everyone. If you like any combination of wrestling, monsters and strategy, and you don't mind wading through lots of Japanese text, you should probably give it a try.

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