Pro Wrestling (NES) Retro Review
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Game Name: Pro Wrestling
Developer: Nintendo R&D3
Platforms: Famicom Disk System, Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: March 1987
I tried to find information on this game in regards to the arcade version. A quarter used to last me so long. I would alternate the gameplay with my brother. I do not think that the arcade game exists anymore, unfortunately. I would rent out this game for 1.00$. Does this game hold up after 30 years?
Graphics and Sound
This game came out before the WWF Wrestlemania game on NES. The graphics are pixelated, but they still hold up today. I mean, I can still make out who the wrestlers are and the environment looks like a wrestling venue from the 1980's.
The music for this game is very catchy. I think it ranks up there with Super Mario Brothers or Mike Tyson's Punch Out. It is just that this game was probably not as popular and as a result no one really remembers it.
From my understanding this was a port from the arcade and it was a pretty close replica. I believe that the graphics were a little more refined in terms of colours.
The gameplay was very simple on the NES. You grappled and depending on the direction you pressed with the combination of a button (A or B), you would be able to pull a wrestling move. I believe that the game worked on a rock, paper and scissors concept. I had read that at some point but I never was able to confirm this. When you made a move and it was better than your opponent, then you would win the grapple. Fatigue also made a difference as the more tired you were, the less chances you had to win the grapple.
You had a choice of a few wrestlers to fight with.
Asian characters and wrestlers were very popular in the 1980's and this is the games version of it. Hayabusa is from Japan and has the special move of the Back Brain Kick. I never really used him myself when I was a kid.
Giant Panther is the Rick Flair of this game. The golden haired American Wrestler. I would pick him from time to time as he is pretty good. His special move is the Iron Claw to the face or a head butt. I know, these moves nowadays are considered very lame.
Kin Corn Karn
This is a wrestler from Korea. Same reasoning as for Hayabusa. Asian wrestlers were very popular back them. I always loved the name for whatever reason. His special move is the Mongolian Chop and the Karate Kick. Not one of my favourites to fight with though.
Again in the 80's, King characters were very popular. In the WWF at the time you had King Harley Race. This is this game's version. not a great wrestler but he could be a little challenging. His finishing move was the Back Breaker.
This was my absolute favourite wrestler in this game. He had 2 special movies. The Somersault Kick and the Flying Cross Chop. The thing is that this game is bugged for this wrestler. If you use the Flying Cross Chop, it always works. So you can play for hours with this character by just doing that. That is why I would choose him in the arcades as he made my quarter last a very long time.
This game's version of the Undertaker. The mysterious character that no one knows much about. His special moves are a the Piranha Bite and the Outlaw Choke.
The Great Puma
This is considered the boss of the game. You can never choose him to play as a character. He is not impossible to beat but he is more difficult than the others.
Here is sample gameplay on the NES for Pro Wrestling. You will see how Starman can be a cheat of a character. You will also notice the in game music. It fits in great with this type of game.
In my mind, this game holds up for me after all of these years. The music is not annoying and the gameplay is very fun. Would a new generation like this game? There is a good chance the answer is no and here's why. The gameplay for the new games are all about presentation and moves. The moves in Pro Wrestling are outdated. A big wrestling power move in the 80's was the body slam. Now players like to see high flying tricks from the 3rd rope. This game has this but it is a simple elbow jumping from the turnbuckle.
There is no possibility of creating your player and building your wrestler. The NES did not have that power and hard drive space. This may deter a younger generation from playing this game.
Pro Wrestling is essentially the basis for the new generation of wrestling games that came after it. The mechanics are simple but effective and it was the best wrestling game for me until Royal Rumble on the SNES or Wrestlemania on the SNES.
I think that the younger crowd are spoiled with the new games as there is so much variety. Like other games such as Donkey Kong, River Raid or even Rad Racer, the games are simple but they are fun to play. You do not need 3000 hours to get through it but a sitting is enough. Also keep in mind, there were no save states back then.
All in all, I think that this game still holds its own. Yes we have made great strides in the last 20 years but we cannot forget the games that have made an impact on the genre and I think that this is one of them.
Rating: 8 Body Slams out of 10
Let me know what you think? Have you played this game? Would you like it?
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