Preview - Wrestle Angels: Survivor

The game is officially released today. Considering the way the game looks, you could be wondering if this is actually a wrestling game or a dating sim. Truth be told, it's a wrestling SIMULATOR. I'm not really sure how it works, but some of the information I've dug up says that you basically run a wrestling promotion, make matches and manage wrestlers & resources to become the top promotion in the town. Sort of like the GM mode in WWE Smackdown VS RAW 2006. Whether the entire game is based on that concept, and whether or not you can actually control the girls in the in ring action is something I've yet to figure out. But I'll definately get my hands on a copy should it be available here.

Official Site with TONS of downloadables!



Kinnikuman MUSCLE Grand Prix MAX
The latest Ultimate MUSCLE game features more beat 'em style action than wrestling, but guarantees a few laughs along the way as you battle through anime-like scenarios in the story mode or just to kick ass in the other game modes available.

Fatal Fury Battle Archives Vol.1
The first installment in the Fatal Fury Neo Geo collectors series compiles the original Fatal Fury, Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and Fatal Fury 3 all in (say it with me now) ARCADE PERFECT quality.

Forbidden Siren 2
I never finished the original Forbidden Siren, but if this is anything like the original, expect a lot of bad voice acting to go with the scare tactics and continued innovation as you look through the eyes of the undead to plan your escape from their clutches.


Wrestle Kingdom

I was excited to hear that the first pro-wrestling game on a next generation console would be a Japanese wrestling game for the XBox360 and featuring wrestlers from New Japan, All Japan, NOAH, and a select few free agents. Hearing that the game was being handled by YUKE'S, who had a hand in making the WWE Smackdown! games for Sony as well as being the new owners of New Japan Pro Wrestling, I had hopes that they would actually make a fun puroresu game with similar gameplay mechanics as the Smackdown games. Initial reviews of the XBox360 game received mixed responses. And so when I heard that the game would be ported to the PS2, I was interested to see what the hype/fuss was about.

The first thing you'll definately notice is that the game looks good. I’ve heard some complaints about the audience being generic 2D characters in a 3D background, but seriously, do you look at the audience when playing the game or concentrate on the wrestler your controlling to get the win? Yup, exactly.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good seems to end for this puroresu game. Audio-wise, they couldn’t even get some of the actual entrance themes for the wrestlers, so were left with some remixed version of a theme that just sounds like the original, but doesn’t have the same kick in my view. There’s also the odd crowd going completely silent when the ring announcer is making the wrestler introductions. One minute you hear the crowd cheering, and as soon as the announcer opens his mouth, dead silence! Surely it wouldn’t hurt, or even help make it more realistic, to have some crowd noise while the introductions are made?
Gameplay is takes another hit in the negatives for me. The game plays like All Star Pro Wrestling 3, meaning you have to work over your opponent and build up your Voltage meter so you can do stronger and more damaging moves. But somehow even that doesn’t seem to work as I can have a Voltage meter in the high red zone, and yet my character can still only do a headlock takedown or bodyslam instead of something stronger! And of course there’s the CPU that can get really cheap with the counters when it wants to. It’s also not afraid to abuse using constant power moves continuously to splatter you into the mat for the win. It just doesn’t seem fair and it’s also not fun to have to struggle and mash the buttons on your controller just to get to your feet only for the CPU opponent to either instantly grapple you or knock you back down again with ONE punch or kick. It will definitely take some time to learn the timing to counter grapples and strikes, but sometimes it still seems like the CPU just doesn’t want you to scratch it.
And as far as the wrestler move sets go, it just seems really limited what the wrestlers can do compared to the mighty King of Colosseum 2 game. You only have about 10 front and back grapple moves, 6 ground grapples, and about 2 moves for everything else (dashing, diving, etc). You can even have one finisher you can hit from every angle (front, back, diving, dashing, etc) and at least the moves look authentic and painful when you pull them off.
On the plus side, YUKE’S added a new chain-grapple system where the two wrestlers lock up and can exchange or chain together a series of moves like mat wrestling holds and such. Problem is, I don’t think too many people will be fond of the button mashing involved, and I’m not looking for mini-games within a match like the WWE games have been using a lot of lately.
Another important factor of the gameplay is also the game modes available. You’ve got all the standard match types (singles, tag, handicap, etc) that can have up to four players, and one of the most fun options it the Survival Battle, where you see how long you can last. My current record is 13 wins with Kawada. The main career mode of the game is called Drama Mode. I think the major flaw with this is that you can’t use any of the in game characters to play through, but rather you have to create a CAW and play through a career with it, starting out as a rookie and working your way through the ranks. I probably wouldn’t have a problem with this, only I really would have preferred the option to play as an established wrestler instead of making it a CAW only mode. The CAW options aren’t even that deep, so don’t expect to make too many authentic looking wrestlers.

Overall, We know YUKE’S can make some good and fun wrestling games when they try hard enough (see the WWE Smackdown games), but so far the king of the Japanese wrestling games is still Spike’s King of Colosseum 2. Definitely give this game a try if you are a fan of All Star Pro Wrestling. Otherwise, maybe give it a rental only.

Graphics – 8
Sound – 7
Gameplay – 6
Lifespan – 5
Overall – 6


Early August previews

Battle Stadium D.O.R
Fanboys and otakus rejoice! For all those wanting the ultimate anime dream fight between 3 of the longest running anime action series in Japan, now's your chance as Bandai tosses characters from Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and Naruto into a Super Smash Bros. style beat 'em up action!

Flatout 2
Gentlemen, start your screaming! The sequel to last year's redneck racing classic returns, including more fun mini-games to crash, smash and launch your driver through!

Teen Titans
Titans GO! Play as all 5 of the characters from the popular (yet cancelled) cartoon series as they battle the forces of Slade and the Hive.