Author: kerr9000

150 SNES games reviewed #24: Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Easy Type

Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Final Bout was released in 1993 as part of the Fire Pro Wrestling series.

Due to a large number of complaints about the game’s difficulty, developer Human Entertainment released Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Easy Type which is the version I own. The main difference in it – apart from a substantial lowering of the difficulty – is all of the hidden wrestlers are unlocked from the get go.

The first thing you will notice once you get past the vast screen of Japanese which represents your choices, you will be met with what I think is fair to say is a massive list of characters. You will scroll through some of them going: ‘No idea who he is’ or ‘Oh he looks neat’, and then you’ll fall upon US wrestling stars most of us will likely know such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Rick Steiner and the Ultimate Warrior. Each wrestler is ranked based on their attacking and defensive abilities, and their running speed. There are approximately 60 wrestlers in total, which if you compare this number to other wrestling games back at roughly this sort of time is impressive. Another interesting thing to note is that the original version of this game Super Fire Pro Wrestling 3 Final Bout was the first game worked on by the now famous Suda51.

The game initially looks quite simple. The graphics are not great but the game controls well, and has all of the moves you’d expect in a wrestling game – punching, grappling, running, etc. The game is full of little things which make you warm to it though. I obviously don’t have a massive knowledge of 90s Japanese wrestlers but I have picked every single WWF/WWE and WCW star who appears on the roster, and I have been able to work out who they are (their names are in Japanese so this has been done purely based on the fact they obviously look like who they are supposed to be), and I have played as them, instantly noting that the moves they use are moves frequently used by their real-life counterparts. The Warrior does the gorilla press, Hulk Hogan does his signature leg drop and so on and so on. There are digitised sounds that come from the wrestlers and cheers that come from the audience members, the music is fitting and overall this adds to the experience. Two of the buttons on your controller are used for strong blows, another button is used for low blows and the other face button makes you run.

The language is a bit of a barrier. It took me a bit of messing around choosing this and then that option, with no idea of what I was selecting. But once I got myself into career mode it was easy enough to play round after round and make some progress, and I have to admit that I was enjoying it. If someone was interested in this game I wouldn’t say it is too heavy going, but you need to be the kind of person willing to work around the language barrier.

The score I am giving to this game is 6.5 out of 10. this score is not an overall mark of the game’s quality, it’s the mark of how much fun your typical English SNES fan would have with it, taking into consideration issues such as having to fiddle with the language barrier, how it has aged, etc. I think if you were someone who could read Japanese when this game came out it would have been the absolute mutt’s nuts it would have been an easy eight or nine out of 10.

If you’re after this, well it might be hard. I have seen a few copies of the regular version of this for around £13, some boxed, some cart only, but you’ll need a Japanese machine, an import converter or a modified machine. As for the exact version I have reviewed the Easy Type version, I haven’t managed to find one for sale at the moment. It is an interesting game I would recommend you read about it, watch videos on it, etc. But I think your money in this case is better spent elsewhere either on a more modern wrestling game with all the bells and whistles or something a little easier and cheaper to get on the SNES (for example Exhaust Heat).

150 SNES games reviewed #23: Final Fight

I try to keep games like this that everyone will know to a bear minimum or at least thin them out as much as I can, but I kind of felt that I needed to get Final Fight out of the way – and not in a bad way.

The game was important for a lot of reasons. The fact that it was on the SNES but not the Mega Drive was one of them, as this was part of the reasoning behind Sega coming up with the Streets of Rage franchise. The game touched and affected the whole of the market. I am going to try to talk about it but do my best not to retread the exact same ground everyone does (this will be hard with how much the game has been talked about).

Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up produced by Capcom. Originally it was released as an arcade game in 1989. Final Fight was the seventh title Capcom made to work with its CPS-1 arcade system board. The CPS-1 worked a bit like the Neo Geo, you had a system board and other smaller boards could be mounted on top of this, and the large board was the guts of the arcade unit and the small board held the actual game. I actually own a CPS-1 board but the only game board I own for it is Pang! 3.

The game is set within the fictional Metro City. In the arcade game you get to pick one of three characters: Former pro wrestler-turned-mayor Mike Haggar, his daughter’s boyfriend Cody, and Cody’s friend Guy. The whole idea of the game is to take down the Mad Gear gang and rescue Haggar’s daughter Jessica.

The game originally began development as a sequel to the first Street Fighter arcade game but the genre was switched from a one-on-one fighting game to a scrolling beat ’em up and the title was changed following the success of Double Dragon. This is probably one of the main reasons that Final Fight characters have popped up in Street Fighter games.

When the SNES version was released it was in some ways limited. There was only Haggar and Cody – Guy had been dropped (although there was a version released in some territories called Final Fight Guy which removed Cody from the game and replaced him with Guy). There was also a level stripped out of the game and then there were some minor changes in connection to policies Nintendo had for games released on their machines. Female members of Mad Gear were altered to appear male as Nintendo had objections in regards to the ability to violently beat up women, even if they were busy trying to knife you to death. None of this broke the game or made a huge difference to how it played. I do think that with some effort they could have squeezed Guy in. I have seen games cheat to free up room by using the same legs or arms for characters before sometimes just colour swapped and I am sure there would have been a way to do something like this to free up a little room. The main thing that people tend to talk about is the fact that the game has no two-player mode, which I have to admit is a shame as this was one of the things that made the arcade machine so popular, the fact that you could go through the whole game with a buddy. It is not a game breaking deal though as long as you know about it in advance. The graphics are big, bright and impactful, the music is just as good. The only negatives there are can’t really be termed negatives with the game and more deficits from the arcade machine.

The game is a great scrolling beat em up to play on your own and even bearing this in mind I would have to give it eight out of 10. However I fully recognise that if you want to play with a buddy or have a friend around you would be better looking at one of its competitors or even one of its sequels (they are usually expensive though).

I have had my copy since I was a kid. I bought it before I even owned a SNES. It was September and I knew I was getting my SNES for Christmas, I already had a cheap converter and Final Fight came up for sale NTSC in my local games shop a place called Games World for £10. I used to get £5 a week pocket money and £2 a day lunch money. So I did what I think most game crazy school kids would do. I took an apple and a bottle of water to school everyday without my parents knowing and ate these for dinner while pocketing the money waiting for Saturday to come so I could buy Final Fight. Following this kind of logic I had a nice little collection by the time Christmas rolled around.

If you want to buy Final Fight PAL versions exist but whenever I see them they are crazy money. US NTSC versions crop up for around £15 for a cart. To be honest if you have a Wii U you can download Final Fight for £5.50 (the SNES version). Or if you have a PS3 or Xbox 360 you can get a perfect emulation of the arcade machine for about £6.50. It can be found under the title Final Fight: Double Impact, and for your cash you get both Final Fight and another Capcom game called Magic Sword (which was also ported to the SNES).

150 SNES games reviewed #22: Super Strike Gunner (aka Strike Gunner S.T.G.)

Super Strike Gunner (or Strike Gunner S.T.G. as it was known in the US) is a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up game originally developed by Athena it was released in the arcades by Tecmo (in 1991) it was then ported to the SNES, and this version was published/distributed in the UK by Activision.

There was quite a wide supply of shooters back in the 16-bit days and although the Mega Drive seemed to end up with more of them the SNES wasn’t exactly left short. It has to be admitted though the Mega Drive was better known for them, the SNES might have been superior in  a lot of areas but it definitely had a slower processor and this usually meant more slowdown in this particular type of game when there were a lot of small, fast moving objects on screen.

There were a few big, famous shooter titles on the SNES but this game seems to have been forgotten by a lot of people. When people talk about shooters on the SNES they tend to talk about Axelay, Gradius III, Super R-Type, or U.N. Squadron, very rarely will people mention Super Strike Gunner.

In Super Strike Gunner you take control of a high-tech jet called the Strike Gunner (hence the game’s name), and like most games of this type you face wave after wave of enemies. In this case they range from helicopters, to jets and tanks and so on. In this case you fly up the screen vertically with stuff generally coming down at you (some things will come from the side of the screen or the bottom corners but most stuff tends to fly down towards you). When you start each level though you have a large choice of special weapons, but there is a catch. You can only choose one weapon to use and you can only use it for one level. Among the choices are heat seeking missiles, super stronger lasers and there is even a mega-beam cannon, which seems to just blow the living hell out of anything in more or less one shot. This does add a bit of tactics to the game, because obviously if you use the strongest weapons or the ones you find yourself best suited to first then you wont have them available to you for the later stages. I would suggest starting with a strong weapon until you get a good feel for the level and then once you feel you know a level like the back of your hand taking it on with a weapon your less attached to.

You have a special power bar, which decreases when you use your special weapon. Some of the less powerful special weapons will drain the bar very slowly but then there are others which will just make the bar disappear in seconds. Heck, one weapon depletes the bar in one. There is however a friendly aircraft which comes to you usually several times a level and drops things to help you. It can drop power ups which speed you up, increase the power of your ship’s main weapon, or fill up your special weapons bar.

Over the years I have seen this game receive all kinds of reviews and scores. Back in the day I think it got score generally around the 65% mark. Some called it a mediocre shooter complaining that it was slow-paced and repetitive, with levels that felt too long and had predictable enemy waves. Yet others seemed to love the boss fights and the super weapons. I will say that the backdrops are very basic but I found the game rather enjoyable. In a world which has seemed to want all shooters to turn in to full on bullet-hell ballets I found this game rather refreshing. I am going to go so far as to say I think people have been a little harsh to it over the years and have slightly underrated it. The game is not an all-time classic but its a decent game so I would have to give it a seven out of 10.

If you want to try it you tend to see copies of it come up now and again for around £10. If anything it seems to be a game which is much cheaper and easier to pick up in PAL. My copy was got from a market five years ago for around £3, but the days of walking back from markets with three or four SNES games seem to be long gone.

I do recognise there were better shooters on the SNES but this game is not bad at all. It is also a game which is basically selling for what I would consider to be a fair cash-to-playability ratio unlike some good games which seem to go for a small fortune.