For the past several years fans of wrestling and video games have debated what is the best pro wrestling video game. Is the current Smackdown series the best? Or was No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 superior? Well, there is one group of fans out there that would tell you neither are the best. Those fans will tell you the best pro wrestling video game is Fire Pro Wrestling.
The Fire Pro Wrestling series is a long running series of video games. Human Entertainment released the first Fire Pro Wrestling game in Japan in 1989. Since then the Fire Pro Wrestling series has produced more than twenty video games.
So why haven’t some of you heard of the Fire Pro Wrestling series? When I said that the first Fire Pro Wrestling game was released in Japan in 1989, I meant only Japan. The next Fire Pro Wrestling game also came out only in Japan, so did the next, and the next, and every single one of them after that. The only way to play a Fire Pro Wrestling game is to get a Japanese import.
That is, until now. Spike, the current developer and distributor of the Fire Pro Wrestling series, has announced that for the first time ever Fire Pro Wrestling will be released in North America in the form of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns.
For anybody unfamiliar with the series there are some things you should know before deciding whether you should buy or rent Fire Pro Wrestling, some good and some bad.
Let’s start with the bad. Just by looking at Fire Pro Wrestling you can see a big difference between the current pro wrestling video games. Fire Pro Wrestling is not a 3D game it is 2D. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is also being released on the Playstation 2, not one of the next-gen systems.
On the positive side, any Fire Pro Wrestling fan will tell you that the Fire Pro Wrestling series is good despite the 2D graphics. The gameplay and the amount of fun you get from playing the Fire Pro Wrestling games is so great that it doesn’t matter what the graphics look like, much like the classic Nintendo games that you can still go back and enjoy.
There are plenty reasons that Fire Pro Wrestling Returns will be just as good as the other pro wrestling video games. For example, the best selection of wrestlers, the best selection of wrestling moves and the best selection of match types. Sounds pretty good, eh?
The Fire Pro Wrestling Series does not have the rights to use names of a lot of real pro wrestlers but they still make characters that look similar to the real characters, with their real moves, and you can easily edit their names to the correct name. If you correctly name them there are tons of real wrestlers including wrestlers from New Japan like Koji Kanemoto, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Curry Man, wrestlers from All Japan like Great Muta, Toshiaki Kawada and Kaz Hayashi, wrestlers from NOAH like Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi, wrestlers from Zero-One like Shinjiro Otani, Masato Tanaka and Steve Corino, wrestlers from Michinoku Pro like Jinsei Shinzaki, wrestlers from Kaientai Dojo like Taka Michinoku, American wrestlers like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, Sting and AJ Styles, American Legends like Andre the Giant, Davey Boy Smith, and Bret Hart and a whole lot more.
If there is a pro wrestler that you like and he’s not in the game, you can make him and can save hundreds of wrestlers rather than the handful other games allow. It doesn’t stop there either. You can make your own referee, you can make your own ring, you can make your own logo and you can even make your own Championship belts.
As for the moves, well I’m not sure everyone would recognize the names of the moves if I listed some of them and I know that any description I give won’t do the moves justice. The good news is that Fire Pro Wrestling Returns has already been released in Japan so you can find videos of the Japanese version on YouTube including highlight videos and entire matches.
As I said before, the Fire Pro Wrestling Series also has the best selection of match types of any pro wrestling video game. Don’t believe me? Well, how many pro wrestling video games that you know of have an Electrified Barbed Wire Ropes Exploding Deathmatch? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
There is also a mode called the Promoter mode. In the Promoter Mode you get to be the promoter of a wrestling organization and you create a wrestling show and try to convince all the big free agents to come and wrestle for you.
On top of all of that, since Fire Pro Wrestling Returns is being released on Playstation 2 and it is in 2D, a lot of people are suggesting it will only have a price tag of $19.99. If Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and the next installment of the Smackdown series were the same price I would consider getting Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, but since it looks like Fire Pro Wrestling Returns will be about one third of the cost of Smackdown, it makes this decision a no-brainer.