Review by Jerrold Ng

"Best Wrestling Game Thus Far... No kidding"

Fire Pro Wrestling makes a big jump to the Playstation 2 with King of Colosseum. Well, sort of. While King of Colosseum shares some traits with the old Fire Pro (especially in the Edit Mode), it's on it's own in terms of the grappling engine, which takes a fair share from AJPW King's Soul, but improves various poor aspects of that game (the speed). All in all it produces one of the best wrestling games in existence. And that's a big thing, considering the game was programmed by 4 programmers and 1 lead programmer, and still manage to outdo most of the big name wrestling titles produced by entire schools of programmers.

The aforementioned grapple system is the star of this game. It takes some practice to get used to, but once you do, it's pretty much the best grapple system around. It's not slow as molasses as in some ''sim'' type wrestling matches (read All Star Pro Wrestling 1&2), and it's not fast to
the point of being totally unrealistic (read any of the Smackdown! series). It's just right. It's also an improvement on many aspects that has been neglected by other games as of late - a good submission system which lets you lock a submission on a LONG time and has the crawling to ropes bit; a weight system that makes smaller guys have trouble lifting bigger guys; a Powerball System that makes you really careful how you use finishers and not dish 'em out every few minutes; and an accurate wrestling system which forces you to start off with weak moves and move on from there.

Also needed to be mentioned is the well-designed ''Season'' mode called Trial Road. It's almost an RPG in itself, with leveling up wrestlers, training and health management. Oh, and there's plenty of matches, feuds and other usual Japanese wrestling occurrences (no ridiculous story lines though, we'll leave that to that other big fed in the US).

Of course, there's still room for improvement. The Create-A-Wrestler mode is 100% Fire Pro, so it's pre-made heads all the way, so it's by far inferior to that of Smackdown's outrageously detailed CAW. And not to mention no women's parts either, so the fairer sex gets totally left out
in this game! And my personal complaint - just four wrestlers in the ring, even without a referee, is a tad bit little. It's not like the game has particularly flashy graphics for each wrestler either. And with all the big Japanese federations doing 3- or 4- man tags with such frequency, it would be nice to sim those as well.

All in all, there's a lot of faults with this game, but simply put, it excels where others don't - gameplay. I've never played a wrestling game with a better game engine than this. And at the end, that's really the one field that matters most, at least for me.

Ratings
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Music - 7/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Replay - 9/10
Overall - 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/09/03, Updated 04/09/03


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