Hands-on: All Star Pro Wrestling

TOKYO - Square showed off its PS2 wrestling game at the Tokyo Game Show. Screens and impressions inside.

TOKYO - When you think of the name Square, a certain image comes to mind. For the majority of you, that image is most likely that of a role-playing game. If you're one of those types that stray from the norm, you might think of Rad Racer. But regardless of how you think of Square, you probably wouldn't exactly expect the company to develop a wrestling game. But with All Star Pro Wrestling for the PlayStation2, that's just what the company has done.

The game will contain 27 licensed Japanese wrestlers, including ex-UFC fighter, Don Frye. In many ways, the game is identical to every other Japanese wrestling game out there. Not a lot of flair, heavy on technique, and none of the showboating that makes US wrestling so popular. The main difference is in the game's control. You use the left analog stick to move your character and the right analog stick for attacks. You use the shoulder buttons for actions such as taunts. While the control scheme is interesting, the version of the game we played at the Tokyo Game Show was abysmal. The right stick didn't really add anything to the game at all.

Graphically, the game looks OK - until the wrestlers actually start moving around. The current version is severely lacking in the transitional animation department, resulting in jerky sequences of moves. Hopefully some frames will be added before the game hits Japanese shelves sometime this year. Hopefully the controls will see a lot of fine-tuning, as well, because as it stands, this game simply isn't much fun at all.

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Jeff

Jeff Gerstmann

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
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