You remember the Goonies, right? Beloved 1980’s cult flick involving pirate gold, Cyndi Lauper (along with some pro wrestlers) and truffle shuffles? Remember the sequel where the Fratellis kidnapped all of the Goonies except Mikey as well as a mermaid, and Mikey had to rescue them with the help of a colorful cast of characters such as an old man and woman, a fish man and an eskimo?
I’ve long held that pro wrestling games would be more realistic if instead of inputting attack combos, each player had to input a “cooperation combo” to perform the moves in such a way that it looks realistic and no one gets seriously hurt. Sure it might not be quite as entertaining as a frantic button-mashing fest, but it would more accurately mirror real professional wrestling. In the case of this game, however, such a system would almost certainly be more entertaining. Frankly, it would be hard-pressed to be less entertaining.
The game has one game mechanic – you punch your opponent. Then, you input a direction and your wrestleman does a move based on that. Back and forth like this until someone can pin someone. There is nothing more to this game, and nothing interesting happens the entire time.
John’s Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0. This entire game – 100% of it – boils down to who punches who first. Positioning is largely irrelevant. The presence of a tag partner in no way changes the dynamic. Moves don’t have different chances of success or allow varied escapes. It’s just punch, lock, lather, rinse, repeat.
Publisher: Bandai Year: 1986 Genre: Fighting AKA: Tag Team Match MUSCLE M.U.S.C.L.E. is an awful, ungodly little wrestling game based on a line of tiny vinyl inaction figures based on some Japanese series that, as far as I can tell, is a parody of Mexican masked wrestling. I didn’t delve much deeper than that, so knowing how anime usually turns out, they’re probably actually magical schoolgirls who transform into tiny vinyl figures to time travel and do battle with a vile alliance of Mark Twain and James Joyce in a literary showdown to decide the fate of the world. Wow, that sounds vastly more interesting than this game.
The actual gameplay involves moving around on screen, attacking your opponent, and doing nothing whatsoever of substance or interest. Seriously, nothing about this game is fun, clever or well-made. If M.U.S.C.L.E. is a parody of Mexican masked wrestling, the game is a parody of video games.
According to Wikipedia, the original Japanese game had a Nazi character named Brocken Jr., whose finisher was called the “Nazi Gas Attack.” He was replaced with a native American character called “Geronimo,” presumably to keep the theme of genocide without celebrating the perpetrator.
John’s Score: 1.0 out of 5.0. This game is so shitty that it insults shit to call it shitty. Not to sound overly like the Angry Nintendo Video Game Nerd here, but the game is terminally bland, chronically glitchy and, even if everything goes according to plan, duller than watching paint dry.