I loved my Sega Dreamcast...I still love it in fact. I still find myself being drawn to it more so than most of my other next-gen systems. Why you ask? Well it's not because of big name franchises like Sonic, or obscure masterpieces like Jet Grind Radio. No...it's for the imports. One import in particular actually.
Fire Pro Wrestling, to me, is the greatest wrestling game franchise of all-time. It's simple 2D graphics mask the complexities that dwell beneath. Like watching wrestling in japan, or old-school tapes of the AWA days, the art of wrestling in the Fire Pro series is a sweet science.
Ultimately, it's an advanced game of rocks,papers,scissors. That's the easiest and best way to describe it. I first got my taste of the series with my Sega Saturn, where I got a hold of Fire Pro Wrestling: 6-Man Scramble.
The features for my young mind were mind blowing. Faction creations, wrestler creations, move list creations, referee creations, belt and ring creations. 6-man battle royals where the only way to win is by pinfall or submission.
It was a masterpiece that couldn't have been made any better...or so I thought. This is where Fire Pro Wrestling D came in. All features were retained, just made better. Others, like the exploding deathmatch, were added as sheer icing on the cake.
Where to start...first, the absolute endless supply of wrestlers from all over the world, from every federation known to man. Want Hayabusa vs. Rob Van Damn vs. The Rock vs. Vader? Go right ahead. Want Stan Hanson vs. Tazz vs. Terry Funk? Be my guest. Wrestlers from WCW,WWE,ECW, and various other Japanese and Mexican federations all bundled into this one disc of wrestling goodness. Not to mention a plethora of slots for your own created wrestlers.
Next, the A.I. I have yet to encounter AI in any smackdown game that matches that which is found here. You will feel like you were in a real pro wrestling match after you are done. After I say this, people ask me if the game is hard. I always say no, it isn't hard. It's exciting. It's everything a wrestling match should be.
Near falls, last minute counters, finishers pulled out of nowhere...the game is as exciting to watch as it is to play. That's not an exaggeration. You will be sweating and cheering until you hear that 3 count. One thing I will guarantee, you won't be upset or feel cheated if you lose a fight. It's one of those rare games, that are just so much fun to watch and play that you just simply tip your cap to the computer for a fight well fought and than just come back for seconds.
As far as features go, there is no story mode ala Smackdown vs Raw. Honestly, this game doesn't need it. If the Smackdown vs. Raw series ditched the story mode to adopt Fire Pro Wrestling D's gameplay, I could live with that...in fact I'd prefer it.
I don't care about cheesey stories, with terrible voice work. Give me exciting, splash mountain off the top rope matches filled with counters, near falls, and high risk moves that'll make Jeff Hardy blush.
Instead of terrible story modes, Fire Pro Wrestling gives you 4 titles to fight for. Cruiserweight, Heavyweight, Tag-Team, and 6-Man Tag Team belts.
There is also the battle royal mode which has been upped to 8-man battle royals, as compared to the previous 6-man in prior versions.
Also included is the exploding, electrified steel cage mages, and the barbed-wire exploding table matches. There is no shortage of blood in these brutal matches. In fact, at any given time you could just start bleeding in any match. There's no greater feeling than being in an 8-man battle royal and getting cut early in the fight only to outlast everyone and be the last, bloodied and exhausted wrestler in the ring.
That's another thing, there's no health bar or momentum meter, or even a finisher icon. You have to work for every finishing move or powerful move you want to land. The toll the match takes on your wrestler is visible by watching your wrestler or opponent. If you work on the legs the wrestler will limp, neck and he'll grasp his neck in agony and roll around the ring with the next DDT or piledriver you perform. Exhausted? He'll start gasping for air and take longer to get up to his feet after performing a move.
So spammers need nod apply to this game.
The graphics, while simple in both texture and animation play second fiddle. This game is all about the gameplay and no other wrestling game on the planet does it better. Til this day I'm still discovering moves I never knew existed. Every single wrestler in this game has their own distinctive move set.
No other wrestling game matches its gameplay, I don't care how pretty they make the graphics or dumb bra and panty gimmicks they add. The greatest wrestling game of all-time has been out for quite a while, and if you are a hardcore wrestling fan I'd suggest doing everything you can to get it. If you own a Sega Dreamcast already...than you're halfway there. read