Last week was a bit of a cheat as far as games coverage is concerned. Just showing the trailer and briefly talking about the mighty Fire Pro Wrestling does not do the series justice. (something that will be rectified in the not too distant future) That being the case, I decided to jump back into talking about one of my very favorite wrestling games, Saturday Night Slammasters. Everything about this game is pure, 90’s fun. Check the video below for the amazing theme alone.
SNS was released in 1993 in arcades and in 1994 for home consoles. Developed by Capcom, SNS had a bit of 2D fighter mixed in with its wrestling gameplay. So strong was the connection that in the American localization, Capcom even went as far to include direct references to Street Fighter 2 with Gunloc being somewhat, somehow maybe related to Guile (his borther) and Biff Slamkovich mentioning Zangief in one of his post match quotes. (rumor has it that King Rasta is the original, more human design for Blanka) Each of the ten wrestlers had a more than passing resemblance to a real life counterpart with some being obvious like Grater being based on Vader, and some being somewhat more obtuse like Jumbo Flapjack being a combination of Earthquake and Big Daddy. Each wrestler had a unique style and moveset/finisher. Gameplay was centered around a three button system, attack/jump/pin. There were two main game modes; single match and tag team battle royale for up to four players. Your goal, obviously, was to become the CWA champion. Or, like any good fighting game, to get a bunch of people together and kick the hell out of each other.
SNS was a blast in the arcades and a damn fine time on home consoles as well. I played the SNES version to death, alternating between Haggar, (this is what he did before becoming mayor in Final Fight), and El Stingray. While not a pure wrestling title, the game did exactly what it was trying to do, blend wrestler with fighter, and did it well. The controls were responsive, the movesets were varied enough, and the character designs were super cool. (thanks in no small part to being designed by Tetsuo Hara of Fist of the North Star fame) To me, it always felt like an evolution of Pro Wrestling for the NES. (covered here and here) It’s outlandish in the way wrestling was in the 80’s and 90’s. It never took itself too seriously, and SNS nor its sequels ever tried to be a true recreation of the sport. This was simply a fun game. If you were lucky enough to have the four player adapter there was almost no better time to be had than getting four people together for a couple dozen matches. Trying to figure out the lore and where it fit in with Street Fighter and Final Fight was also a blast. If you’ve never played SNS before, I urge you to grab a copy and give it a go. You’ll be surprised at just how much fun the game is and wonder why there hasn’t been a more modern sequel.
Make sure to follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, to let me know what you thought of Saturday Night Slammasters. Who was your favorite character? Just how man hours or quarters did you spend trying to get up to and past The Scorpion? And make sure to check back next week as we look at another reason why I love wrestling. Until then…