PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous
RELEASE DATE: 1985 (JP)
Champion Pro Wrestling is a jabroni, a loser of a wrestling title that makes its predecessor, Champion Boxing, look like the People’s Champ by comparison.
You play an average gnarled face wrestler, while the computer plays a mighty luchador (already the game is unfair). Lower the luchador’s stamina bar by performing powerful moves on him, then pin him and advance to the next Challenge rank. Your moves are delivered not by complex button and joystick inputs, but from a move list – an element recycled from Champion Boxing.
This move list is where Pro Wrestling takes a chair to the face. Once you select and execute a move, you will no longer have a move selected. Your move may have struck your opponent or you may have wiffed. Either way, the move list will turn blank, and you will not be able to execute a move unless you select it again. This forces you to constantly re-select your moves, when the move should be highlighted for as long as you want to use it. The computer has no trouble keeping the moves going, but trust me when I say re-selecting your moves feels awkward and takes precious seconds away from the match. Strangely, Champion Boxing never did this. If you selected an Uppercut, your boxer would Uppercut punch until you chose a different move.
Some of your wrestling moves – particularly the simple ones like the chop and the kick – are worthless anyway unless you’re standing on top of the luchador. Your best bet for winning matches is to spam your two best moves, the drop kick and the pile-driver. This will be difficult, though, since the luchador is much stronger than you. He can take several drop kicks to the head and rise back up, no problem, but your boy will be dizzy on the ground for a few seconds after one similarly placed kick. Unless the luchador’s stamina is less than fifty percent, you won’t be able to pin him, but unless you pound excessively on the buttons, he’ll pin you after a few well-timed hits, regardless of how high your stamina is.
The computer’s excessive strength combined with the unintuitive controls knocks Champion Pro Wrestling out cold. Like an obnoxious gimmicky wrestler whose premise should have never made it past the development stages, Pro Wrestling could benefit from a cold shower and a group re-think.