ASPW III has the best piledriver animation...ever. Too bad that's the only move you have. Zing!

User Rating: 9 | All-Star Professional Wrestling III PS2
All Star Pro Wrestling III is, when compared to other wrestling titles, nothing that special. There isn't much depth to it, there is a lot of button mashing, and once you beat the game in the four different story modes, you have nothing to do but exhibition matches. Somehow it still deserves a spot on my coveted gaming shelf, next to such titles as a tape trader copy of MAW "Hardcore Cup" and some weird US release of a Russian super-event with Vader in it. IT"S TIME!

Roster- As I mentioned, the roster is thin, Wrestle Kingdom thin. There are around 10 NJPW guys, 10 Noah, then around 4 or 5 Zero-One, and another 10 Freelance wrestlers. This kind of blows for me, seeing as how I'm a bigger fan of the smaller guys, such as Suzuki, KENTA, Gedo and others. However, the wrestlers they left in are fun to play with and all have their individual moves. An example would be Kenta Kobashi who, more or less, every move is special to him. Spinning back chop, Orange Crush, Burning Lariat, a crap ton of suplexes...The only downside is that not surprisingly, after you've played with everyone you wish there were more people.

Gameplay- This section is a mixed bag. The one downside I loathe is that each wrestler has around 12 front moves, and 12 back moves. Compared to KOC which has more than 48 for front and back. While it's the same amount of moves as Fire Pro offers, in Fire Pro you can perform the moves at any time. In this game there are kneeling grapples, and standing grapples, so you have to have them kneeling in order to do your moves. It's kind of annoying but once you get used to it, the problem minimizes. There are lots of unique parts of this game, so here is a list.

-By pressing L1+L2 you do a taunt which initiates a striking battle. If you counter an opp attack by blocking you shrug it off, then you attack them, they shrug it off, and you continue until you either accidently press L2 too early and go into a back grapple( GRRR!) or you do a running attack because you're too far away. That's another thing, if you're away from the opp, when you press the strike button you do a running's kinda annoying.

-Groggy mode. If you are owning a squash match, the opp will be in groggy mode and unable to counter anything, and they just wander around like zombies. Then a big fat guy with thick glasses comes out and talks about how he's making a political statement..Take that Romero! No one is safe! Still though, what's awesome about groggy mode is, say you're perform a german suplex, the opp will take the bump, then kind of slowly rise up, almost like out of instinct, but not like he's no-selling. So he's there, groggy, then you run over and give him a burning lariat! And go for the pin...

-Pin! Yeah, even the pin is kind of different. You hold the button for the pin, and release when you want to. It sounds kinda dumb until you get to a 2.99 and see the Noah ref's animation where it looks like he almost soiled his pants while nearly avoiding the 3 count (Evan Koragias wha!?) There are also different animations for the near 3 counts, in addition to the hilariously awesome "2..2..2.."

-Post Match Beatdowns- Much like in FPR, when you're done winning, you can continue to beat up your opp. What I like about this one is the ref will flail his arms and call for the bell, which will ring constantly while you attack. Pretty decent.

Modes- Eh, this is where it gets thin. Not to ride Fire Pro's johnson, but they do a good job of infusing enough gimmick matches to add spice. While they aren't Smackdown retarded with it, "8 man tornado tag rumble chamber!" they have something more than basic single, tag, and four way. Well, ASPW doesn't. Luckily they have enough in the way of gameplay you won't notice that you're doing the same match type again with probably the same wrestler.

CAW- meh, this is so confusing that I almost gave up on it. You choose a style and perform a story mode that is centered on it. You then level up and choose moves, but only certain ones because you have a limited amount of points..boooooo. You get more as you go, but I always wanted more. The visual aspect of creating had lots of physical options, but not that many costume options.

Final - I've been more serious in this review if only to recommend this game becuase it's sweet and you might be able to pick it up cheap. It's better than any Smackdown, and I prefer it over KOC due to it's fluid non-Johnny 5 feel. Pick it up, play it, watch Vader's breasts shake.