Virtual Pro Wrestling 2


Review by Karl Krueger



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Like WWF No Mercy on the N64? Don't we all? No Mercy was and still is a genius wrestling game that has spent a lot of time in many N64 cartridge slots since its 2001 release. Many people credit T*HQ, but the real brilliance behind the games is the Japanese development house AKI. Their amazing wrasslin' engine was, well, MADE for the Nintendo 64. T*HQ's contribution was the gimmickry (new word?) of the World Wrestling Federation. Women wrestling, Vince McMahon as a hidden character, Val Venis and the Godfather creating an... adolescent atmosphere, steel cages, ladders, backstage brawls, all that fun stuff. Ever wish No Mercy had all the trailer park taken out of it?

HAVE NO FEAR! Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 is here! With MORE wrestlers, NO steel cages, ladders or backstage brawls, and some great use of that extra space.

From the moment you set up your first exhibition match and... wow, look at that! You see them walk all the way from the dressing room to the ring! Oh, and there's a ring announcer with voices and the wrestlers talk! Anyway, yes, the presentation in this game is incredible for the old N64.

The roster is obviously for Japanese wrestling fans, with nobody the average WWF fan would recognize besides Ultimo Dragon, Taka Michinoku, and Andre the Giant. But all you need is some crazy-costumed cruiserweight like Super Delfin anyway. The roster does have a marked edge over No Mercy in size and Legends (Andre, Terry Funk, Antonio Inoki, MIL FREAKIN' MASCARAS, TIGER MASK) and most importantly, shoot fighters. Pride FC and others have contributions to the roster, but here's the thing: Shoot fighting is an entirely different match type. Instead of good ol' wrasslin', you can play Ultimate Fighting Championship style matches, where the goal is to take your opponent down and either knock them out or make them submit. This automatically puts it a notch above the American AKI games.

Most wrestling games have title belt modes, where you either just fight a few wrestlers and win the belt, or the "Story" mode of WWF games where you run through scenarios with even worse writing than the TV broadcasts. VPW2 handles this with (loosely translated) "Royal Road Succession" mode. You pick a wrestler (and tag team partner), and simulate his career. Your first matches open the weekly events, and you gradually work your way up the card, earning championship belts (there are a LOT in this game, current and historic) and legendary wrestlers. You can even watch the CPU run through the other matches on the cards (but fortunately you don't HAVE to).

The ever important create-a-wrestler is better than our American N64s are used to as well. Even more moves than No Mercy (you can also unlock all the unique moves from WCW/nWo Revenge and WWF Wrestlemania 2000) and details down to edit-a-mask for the cruiserweights. Unfortunately, there are only 16 slots for created wrestlers, one of the only areas of the game that needs improvement.

You may notice I don't really explain WWF No Mercy very much for those who haven't played it. Well, this game really isn't for people that don't like WWF No Mercy (or the previous games in the series: WWF Wrestlemania 2000, WCW/nWo Revenge, and WCW Vs. nWo World Tour) because there aren't any huge improvements on the gameplay, just bells and whistles like voices, new animations, more moves, and the almighty shoot fighting mode. Also, the hefty price tag makes this only for the really big fans of the AKI games. VPW2 is the best wrestling game you can possibly get for the Nintendo 64, but the genre isn't for everyone. If you're dying to try one of these out, WCW/nWo Revenge is a good start, and Game Crazy sells it for $3. You don't have to mod your system either!


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, May 01, 2005 09:34 AM