This game picks up right where the Saturn version left off. The All Japan Pro Wrestling was one of the greatest wrestling games ever to come out. The makers of the American wrestling games could learn a thing or two from their Japanese counterparts. As far as the engine and fighting goes, this game is second to none. The graphics are clean and crisp and all of the moves are easily seen and exciting to watch. You'll be screaming about the mayhem in no time.
There are a good number of wrestlers that the game starts you with including 3 fighters from the Virtua Fighter series, Wolf, Jeffrey, and Kage (the first two were in the All Japan Pro 1). There is also a couple of Americans including Vader. However, unless you are really into the Japanese wrestling, not many of the other wrestlers will seem that special.
The two problems that I have with most games of this nature are the speed of the players and the camera control. I am happy to say that in this version those usual killers of a fun wrestling match are nowhere to be seen. First of all, the speed of the game is unparalleled. Unlike other wrestling games that have to sacrifice speed in or to display animations (or vice-versa) this game delivers both speed and excitement as well as detailed animated moves. The game moves so fast, in fact, that even reversals counter moves are executed so smoothly that you will forget everything is choreographed. Another big feature that far exceeds even the best wrestling game is the camera. Instead of simply remaining stationary the camera swings into all different kinds of views and the shot is changing to always give the best view of the action. Admittedly this can sometimes be annoying especially if you are getting used to looking at the ring a certain way and then all of the sudden it changes.
The biggest complaint that I have with the game is the lack of options. There is a regular arcade game, VS. mode, and a training mode. The main difference separating this game from the first one is the use of the VMS (the memory card that has its own screen). In the game you can download a wrestler onto the VMS and train him and then challenge a computer opponent or one of your friend's wrestlers. Sega has even released a VMS with a wrestler already on it to help you get started. While all of these options are all fine and dandy, there is really no difference in the types of matches that take place. Everything is pretty much 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. Some variety would be nice, but maybe in Japan they do not have all of the dumb gimmick matches that American wrestlers have.
I think that the main thing that will stop the American consumer from getting this game is the fact that there are no well-known players in it. To that I just have to say, "Get over it." This game is so choice that it will please even the most critical of wrestling fans. If you truly like wrestling then you will really appreciate this game. If you are just a fan of the hoopla and the hype then stick with the mediocre lic
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