Ah, the very first wrestling game for Nintendo. It’s hard to believe that it was just over 15 years ago that ‘Pro Wrestling’ first hit store shelves across the world. Featuring seven wrestlers, ‘Pro Wrestling’ became an overnight addiction for children (and adults) across North America, as they attempted to reign supreme in the VWA.

Six wrestlers (Star Man, Amazon, Kin Corn Carn, Giant Panther, Fighter Hayabusa and King Slender) are available for use, while a seventh, mystery wrestler serves as the final challenge. To reach this wrestler, you must not only win the VWA title, but successfully defend it through two rounds of each of the five other wrestlers.

Every grappler can perform several moves. Four of the wrestlers have two special moves while two (Fighter Hayabusa and King Slender) have one. For the first four wrestlers, however, the two special moves replace regular moves (eg. Panther’s iron claw and headbutt replace the backdrop and piledriver), while the latter two are moves which are added on (eg. King Slender’s backbreaker).

The moves are actually pretty advanced, given the time period. All wrestlers can do a Tope Suicida (so long as your opponent is lying down on the concrete floor), Hayabusa can perform an enziguri and Star Man can do a Tiger Wall Flip.

The only complaint is that there is little you can do with a fallen opponent. When an opponent is down, you can only pick him up, pin him, or do a top rope move. There are neither submission moves, nor striking moves like stomping or elbow drops. This makes it even harder to inflict damage on your opponent when he is vulnerable.

Possibly the most interesting part of the moves is that you have to weaken your opponent to perform certain manuevers. If you have not inflicted enough punishment, for example, your brainbuster will be reversed.

The game seems easy at first, but it gets quite challenging. Once you have an advatage over another wrestler, you might not keep it. Moves can go back and forth quite quickly, and if you aren’t careful you can end up with your shoulders pinned quickly.

Your strength, rather than being indicated by a bar, is alerted by two sounds, the “beeping” sound indicates that you are now succeptable to more harmful moves like the brainbuster and piledriver, while a second “danger” sound means that you can be pinned for a three-count at any time. Of course, this does not apply to your computer opponent, so be wary of using power moves early.

Like most Nintendo games, performing moves is as easy as hitting one or two buttons. There are no complicated combinations of buttons you have to press, which makes this game even better for pick-up-and-play.

Graphics and sound
The graphics are actually pretty decent for Nintendo. The characters are somewhat aminated, but look as stiff as a William Regal punch when they are doing moves. There is little flow, but this was pretty much the standard for Nintendo. It makes you appreciate just how far games have come in the last few years.

The sound is also pretty bad. The music gets annoying quickly and at times masks the damage alarms. The sound effects are simplistic as well, but aren’t terrible.

‘Pro Wrestling’ is definitely worth picking up. There are a few problem areas in the game, but nothing too major that you cannot enjoy playing it. The game is somewhat challenging, and can become quite addictive.

1/2 out of 5