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Fire Prowrestling G (Import)
Review By: Chris Lee
Developer:   Human
Publisher:   Human
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   Wrestling
ESRB:   N/A

Have you ever wanted to see a match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bill Goldberg? Or how about The Rock(yeah!) and DDP? Well it's all possible now in Human's Fire Pro Wrestling G. I think this is the best wrestling series ever created. This installment is no different. Adding over 140 new moves and updated rosters, you won't find a better wrestling game on the planet. Maybe I should hold my enthusiasm till the end of the review :)

Human has been making this series for 10 years now. You can see a history of the series done by The Mysterious Kagura at http://pages.prodigy.com/firepro/ . I've only played maybe 4 of them but they've gotten markedly better each time. As I said earlier they've added 140 new moves which brings the total to near 850 moves, more than any other wrestling game to date! This time there are over or around 300 wrestlers in the game. This time they've got favorites like The Rock(yeah!), Steve Austin, Mankind, Big Show, DDP, and many others. They really beefed up the American rosters this time and have 2 seperate sections for WCW and WWF. Seeing as the game is made in Japan, the game has a plethora of your favorite Japanese wrestlers like Jyushin "Thunder" Lyger (the man), The Great Sasuke, Spel Delfin, Ultimo Dragon and MANY more! Like I said, the game has about 300 wrestlers in it that are represented down to a tee. For instance The Rock not only has Rock Bottom, but he has the entire sequence of the People's Elbow. Mankind has the mandible claw, which looks great, and he pulls out socko! If you're main man is in this game he's probably an exact representation of his real life counterpart.

The gameplay is much like the last game, 6MS, and as I said they've added around 140 new moves. The grappling system remains the same with one or two added features. If you've never played a Fire Pro game before I'll cover the basics. The grappling system is completely based on timing. In order to grapple you simply walk up to your opponent and they'll begin a grapple, as soon as they touch you try to execute whichever move you like. Sounds simple huh? Well it is and it isn't. If you got your game on then you can rock the competition but if your timing is off or your opponent is too strong for a move you're trying then your in for a real fight. And most times it IS a real fight. The difficulty goes from 1 to 10, with each level of difficulty the timing changes and the computer becomes a bit more cut throat. From the grapple you can not only execute a move but you can do a number of other things. One feature I really love is that you can put the guy in a headlock and walk him to where you'd like to place him in the ring. From the headlock you can also tag your partner in a tag match, which makes for a some great double team moves. Another great feature of the Fire Pro series is the inclusion of "Criticals". Criticals CAN happen when you execute your finisher. A character can also have his criticals set to any submissions, technical moves, or strikes. So for those UFC fights, watch out! A critical can happen at any time or it may not happen at all, but it sure makes you cringe when you get the setup kick for stunner or Shamrock slaps on the ankle lock. The sheer number of maneuvers and holds will also amaze you. Stuff that you won't see outside of Japan. When I first executed the double power bomb into a DVD it had my jaw on the floor. You won't be disappointed with the gameplay. It's something that you can't really describe, it's something you'll have to try for yourself. The sense of satisfaction when you move to a higher difficulty level and finally start to win against the computer is great!

The graphics are something else that you may like or not like. If you give the gameplay a chance then you'll see what I mean. When you first see the graphics you might be thinking "What the heck? These graphics are 2D!". The graphics engine fits in perfectly with the gameplay engine. What I mean is that in Fire Pro there are no little collision errors. You won't go flying through someone's chest, your arm won't go through someone's neck, and when you land on someone you really land on them. The collision detection is great. Another thing is that in this game when someone gets hit with a high impact move you can see and feel (dual shock) them bounce off the mat. There's a real feeling of pain. Something that was missing from WWF Warzone. Something else you don't see in other wrestling games is the snapping of limbs. In Fire Pro if you keep working on that arm, leg, neck, or back, eventually you'll see them rolling around in pain.That means that if you apply a submission to that body part you'll more than likely get them to tap. It just gives me a great feeling to see someone writhing in pain after that last powerbomb. Maybe I'm just sadistic though : ). You can also open someones forehead up and their stats and abilities will change because of it. Some people function better when they've lost a little blood. I'll explain that later. Anyway, the graphics become one of the games greatest assets once you get to playing it. Don't let first glance deter you from playing it. You'll love them eventually.

This is the features section of the review. I may ramble and digress in some areas but bear with me. I'll start with the create a wrestler feature. It's still the most extensive one ever. It's based on a point system. Each ability you give your wrestler costs points. From endurance to special abilities, it'll cost points. So you can't make Mr. Invincible. You can pick from when and where your wrestler was born to what style he uses. Your style is directly related to how effective your moves are. For instance you can't have a shoot fighter that can deliver a monster powerbomb , I mean sure he can do it but the likelihood of it getting reversed is much higher. When you assign moves the CPU calculates how effective the move is by giving you letter grades from A-E. It really helps in making that perfect wrestler. I could list everything that you can adjust and customize on your wrestler but I'll stick to the new stuff. This time they've added special abilities. You can pick from one of 8 abilities. They range from Stardom to Guts. It adds another personalized touch to creating a wrestler. You also have the ability to open up female bodies so you can make favorites like Chyna and Debra (puppies!). You have to earn a lot of thing through gameplay. Like extra points, hidden moves, new costumes, and hidden characters. The modes are as follows:

One Night Match: A single match, one on one or tag
One Night Tournament: You run a singles or tag tournament consisting of 2 to 16 participants
Open League: You run a round robin league. Singles or Tag. 4 to 64 participants
Elimination Match: Two groups of five wrestlers each compete one on one till one team is eliminated
Battle Royal: Four wrestlers compete in the ring at once until there's one man left
Death Match: One on one competition in an electrified exploding steel cage match. You set the match time limit and the explosion time limit. You can fight after the explosion although you'll be considerably weakened after it
Gruesome Fighting: UFC style fights in the octagon. The object is to either knock your opponent out or make him tap. Great!
Edit Ranking: A new feature. You create a character and his CPU logic from scratch. You start at rank 30 and have to work your way up to 1. You earn hidden goodies along the way. Very entertaining to watch a guy you create kick butt.
Dojo: For all those new to the Fire Pro series, the Dojo helps you get the grappling system and controls down to make playing the actual game a bit easier.
Fighting Road: Ah yes Fighting Road.One of the coolest features in a wrestling game to date. You start off in a training facility and work your way into any or many of a lot of the wrestling organizations around the world. Where you go and wrestle is determined by your win-loss record and how you respond to certain questions that you are asked. The cool thing is that your wrestler learns moves along the way. You can't just give him the Diamond Cutter right off the bat. As you go along you get edit points and moves so that you can improve him and give him a real personality. This mode is genius and I hope the American companies are watching.
Title Match: And finally after you beat Fighting Road once you unlock Title Match where you can win the Heavyweight singles and tag belts, and the Lightweight singles and tag belts.

The sound department is the only real weak point of the game. The In-Ring sound effects are great, it's the music that has a problem. To clarify it more, it's mainly the entrance music. You can't blame Human for that because they can't put people's real entrance music in the game. They tried to get as close as possible though, but it falls short. As I said though all the other sound effects are really good and they add to the atmosphere of the game.

Human should be commended for a lot of things, but one thing that stands out to me is the fact that they stuck to their guns with the Fire Pro series. They knew that the Fire Pro series is at it's best in 2D. With all the 3D wrestling games that are or are coming out, Human has made an incredibly solid game that manages to excel past all the others. If you think you're a true diehard wrestling fan, there's no way that you can do without this game. The number of options is incredible and the gameplay has so much depth that you won't find it anywhere else. I can't praise this game enough. With the number of signature moves in it and the depth in the edit department, you just can't go wrong. Call an importer and order it today. And somebody better call your momma cause somebody's about to get whooped-"The Cat" Ernest Miller

Overall: 9.5

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