Fire Pro Wrestling Z


Review by Rob O'Hara



Graphics: 5

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 7


fireprowrestlingZ1ps2.jpg (54203 bytes)The first Fire Pro Wrestling game I ever played was on the Super Nintendo. Despite all the graphic improvements made over the years, this old 2D wrestling series is still one of my favorites. Fire Pro Wrestling games have appeared on several different platforms and consoles over the years, and eventually they made their way to the PS2.

Unfortunately, what it hasn't done is made its way the US market yet, and probably won't. If you want to check out Fire Pro Wrestling Z for the PS2, you're going to have to import it and wade through a lot of mostly Japanese menus. A lot. Fire Pro Wrestling Z is one of the most configurable games I've ever played. Pretty much every type of match and option is available in this game somewhere, hidden behind Japanese text.

Although the game contains no official wrestling licenses, you will see a lot of wrestlers that oddly enough look VERY SIMILAR to other wrestlers or shoot fighters you might know or remember. And when I say there are a lot of wrestlers, I mean there are a lot of wrestlers. Like, over a hundred to begin with, and even more are unlockable (240 available total). It will take you five to ten minutes the first time through to simply look at all the leagues and available warriors.

fireprowrestlingz2ps2.gif (46755 bytes)Once in the ring, my match quickly turned into an encyclopedia of every wrestling move known to man, performed on my little green-masked wrestler. There were body slams. There were pile drivers. There were leg locks. There was the abdominal stretch. There were leaps off the rope. I think he might have even shot me once or twice, I'm not sure.

Each wrestler has three attacks which correspond with three different buttons (handy, eh?). In that respect, it feels more like a Neo Geo fighter than most US wrestling games. The grappling system involves walking into your opponent and then pressing a button/direction combo. It's a big difficult to get the hang of at first -- I lost every single grapple my first two games.

After getting my ass kicked a few times I decided what I needed was a new wrestler. So, I headed back to the main menu and went into the create-a-wrestler mode. It was a little hard to get through all the Japanese text, but I ended up with a guy who looked a lot like the Missing Link and I headed back into battle with him. I got my ass kicked using him too, but at least I felt like I looked good while I was handed my beating.

fireprowrestlingz3ps2.gif (48498 bytes)Fire Pro Wrestling Z hasn't evolved much in the graphics and sound department over the past few years. Despite being a simple looking, two dimensional wrestling game, it's still fun as hell. If you take the time to get over the language hurdle, there are enough options, modes and wrestlers here to keep importers busy for a long, long time. Let's hope the final Fire Pro Wrestling Z finds its way to the US market eventually.


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Last updated: Friday, October 21, 2005 12:17 AM