Whooooo! Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Phat Daily Column. Today, we'll discuss the latest wrasslin' issues in our Daily Apples segment, and we'll continue the NES Wrestling History with a review of the 1986 game, MUSCLE. Now that's a QUALITY game for ya. I guarantee many will download it just out of curiousity when they see it reviewed.
Oh, and many have asked where you can find NES roms at... Well, I'm not about to openly mention something in this very column, in case any of the copyright sharks are out there. I'm sure if you ask on any Message Board, someone will gladly tell you where you could find a site of that kind. That's what I did.
For today's column, note that it's totally spoiler free. Yesterday, I saw news that Hall, Nash, and Hogan were in Los Angeles for Smackdown. However, I did NOT read the spoilers if they debuted there or not, so note that this column is under the assumption that they are probably backstage cutting promos or just getting accustomed to the WWF locker room.
I don't report the spoilers because the majority of the fans, or it appears that way, don't want their show to get ruined. I can play dumb for a few days leading up to Smackdown just so I don't inconvenience anybody from their WWF watching pleasure. I don't read them myself so that I can enjoy the show, too. Or at least enjoy it more. :)
Anyway kiddies, on to the PDC.
Digression: Speaking of that, I will admit that the WWF has got me liking a bunch of songs from their promos. Oh yes, I'll admit it. For example, they got me liking "My Way or the Highway", and I'm not too big of a Limp Bizkit fan. Same goes for "My Sacrifice" by Creed, as I'm especially not a big fan of that group. The WWF got me listening to "Beautiful Day" again. And now "Lonely Road of Faith" by Kid Rock, thanks to the WWF History video. I've seen this effect on many other fans, so I'm not alone...
-The NWO was reported to be in Los Angeles to attend the Smackdown tapings. Like I said above, probably just for promos and to get accustomed to the WWF locker room. I still believe that it's going to be intense backstage, especially since all of the WWF wrestlers know that Nash and Hogan's egos helped destroy WCW in the long run. However, unlike the WCW Invasion wrestlers, the Good Ol' Boy Network © is fighting a much different animal. These guys aren't getting top dollar for the locker room to abuse. Oh no. It's likely that Vince will push them at all costs, and that Hall, Nash, and Hogan will cuddle up to Vince.
-As for reactions with the "big stars". I believe that the Rock won't have any problems with the NWO. He's the moviestar of the WWF, so his spot will always be protected and the NWO would WANT to wrestle the Rock as much as possible. Triple H will probably feud with them greatly, and he'll probably do his best to NOT associate himself with his old clique buddies. Triple H worked hard to get to the Main Event area, and he won't let the Clique mentallity to screw up his position. Undertaker will probably get along with all 3, and McMahon will love to have many big men matches with Nash, again. However, things could be different with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
You see, back in 1994, Austin was being groomed for the World Title in the early part of that year. Flair was the head booker, and he knew Austin's capabilities. Then, Hulk Hogan was signed in the Summer of 1994, and he was given FULL creative power in which he undermined Flair and all of WCW's hard work before Hogan entered WCW. Hogan probably saw Steve Austin as a future threat to his spot, so he brought in his friend Hacksaw Jim Duggan and convinced Bischoff to make him beat Austin for the US title. Total embarrassment to Austin's career then. Austin would then have an injury, to which he was fired by Bischoff. Probably from Hogan's influence. After this, Austin went to ECW where he cut some famous promos about Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. I'm sure Austin remembers what Hulk Hogan can do to a wrestler's spot, and as the top Main Event face wrestler now, Austin will definitely be more protective of his position.
-And I really like this assumption that many of the current WWF wrestlers left WCW years ago to get away from Hogan and Kevin Nash. Actually, there was only one. Chris Jericho is the ONLY WCW wrestler who made the jump to get away from Nash and Hogan trying to hold all of the younger wrestlers down. Jericho was becoming a sensation on the mic in 1998, and once Kevin Nash became head booker in late 1998, he made sure to bury Jericho. I believe he booked his then-friend Konnan to beat Jericho for a title, I think the television one at a Pay Per View event. After that, they jobbed Jericho out and just let him stay off television until his contract ran out.
The Big Show left WCW in 1999 because the feeling was that WCW got their most out of him. Plus, I believe that Hogan told the Big Show that the WWF would make him into a bigger star than he was in WCW. So, Hogan did undermine him, but Big Show wasn't in any hurry to get out of WCW, like Jericho did. Wrestlers like Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn, although they didn't like Hogan, they left because of Kevin Sullivan emerging as Head Booker when Vince Russo was fired. Billy Kidman hated putting up with Hogan, Nash, and company, but tolerated it once WCW gave him top dollar not to jump to the WWF.
Look for conflicts, though, with Austin and Jericho up against the NWO for their heated pasts. I don't think they could declare it "water under the bridge", as they almost ruined their careers!
Back in 1986, MUSCLE only had Pro Wrestling and Tag Team Wrestling to learn off of. I believe they took a little bit of both. They used the tag format from Tag Team Wrestling, and the graphic capabilities of the NES. The MUSCLE wrestlers look decent in the ring, as compared to the block wrestlers in Tag Team Wrestling. I don't honestly believe this game, though, was made to be a serious wrestling game. It was only made to promote a toy or a cartoon, although I don't recall many people having this game back in the day.
The graphics aren't TOO bad. In this game, you get an expanded ring for better ring movement than the other 2 NES games of this year. Lots of room to wrestle. Of course, these little MUSCLE guys can cover that ground in no time because they fast and can bounce off the ropes for any move. When you get the "special power", you can really move around that ring! The tagging is very smooth, although the wrestlers hop in and out of the ring. It's a shame, though, that you can't hop off the top rope in this game, nor can you go out on the outside. I've played this game for years, so I know that's indeed a fact. It's just hand to hand combat in the ring
The format of the game is tag team wrestling, in which you can select any 2 wrestlers out of the possible 8 to be your team. That's a good variety back then. You then wrestle a computer selected team, and if you win that match, that's it. No real meaning of this game, other than wrestling one match. The early games lacked the ideas of creating tournaments or season modes, but just making the games, back then, was ever so challenging.
The sound.... well, it's your basic goofy NES sounds. The jumps sound just like the Mario brothers games, and there's an attempt to make noise when coming off the ropes. It doesn't try to talk like the other two NES games reviewed.
The gameplay is very limited, though. You can only punch and make attempts to grapple. The grappling is key, for you can only grab your opponent when their back is turned. Unless the "special power" occurs within the wrestler, you'll just simply hit a bridged belly to back suplex at all times. With the punching, you can bounce off the ropes when you are near the ropes. This is very effective when your opponent backs you up into the ropes. You can actually soar half the distance of the ring when bouncing off the ropes.
But the most unique feature about this game is the "special power". Sometime during your match, a little flashy ball will appear. The first wrestler to grab that ball will have special powers to pretty much mess up their opponent. Their little punches become a spinning kick or punch move that quickly travels around the ring, and the grapple move is basically a finisher than will instantly defeat your opponent. Looking at my 3rd picture, you can see Muscleman's finisher. It's a flying spinning piledriver, and it's DEVASTATING! Even more devastating than Zangief's (sp?) one from Street Fighter 2, years later.
The game is different from other wrestling ones in that it has a Round system. It's the best of 3, and each tag wrestler has a power bar. Once one wrestler loses all of their power, the round is over. So basically, it's a lucky brawl until someone grabs the power ball to thoroughly dominate their opponent. That pretty much sums the game up.
LAST WORD: As a wrestling game, this is as basic as you can get, aside from the special powers part of it. This limitation hurts it as a "wrestling game", therefore the
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@That's all for today, folks. I hope to be back tomorrow with something, but if not, I'll see you Friday!
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.