What would happen if Stone Cold Steve Austin got into the ring with Goldberg? Who would win if Sting faced The Rock? Barring some pretty major federation jumping and contract wheeling 'n' dealing, we'll probably never know. That's where Fire Prowrestling G comes in. FPWG contains a ton of Japanese wrestlers from federations like AJPW and NJPW, plus, it features a large roster of WCW and WWF wrestlers, as well as a few Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pancrase fighters. The names have been changed to protect the game's makers from legal trouble, and the moves aren't exactly the same, but the similarities are there, and they're extremely cool.
The long-running Fire Prowrestling series has roots on the SNES and Saturn, where games like Super Fire Prowrestling X Premium and Fire Prowrestling S: 6 Man Scramble appeared. There's a small, extremely hard-core following for these older games, which feature some of the deepest create-a-wrestler options ever. While the sprite-based graphics give the game a slightly dated appearance when compared with other recent wrestling games, those little sprites do a lot of different things. The number of different moves in the game is simply staggering, though their small size occasionally obscures the action a bit. All those moves, combined with the tons of create-a-wrestler options, pretty much ensures that you can create almost any wrestler you'd ever want to make. But the game's stock set of wrestlers is nothing to sneeze at either - most current American wrestlers are already in the game in some form. There's a character that looks a lot like The Rock, and as one of his taunts he takes off his elbow pad and does the whole setup for the people's elbow. The Kane-esque character does choke slams and a tombstone piledriver.But what good are a few hundred wrestlers without a good gameplay model to back them up? Thankfully, Fire Prowrestling G plays pretty well. The tie-up system is pretty simple - the wrestlers begin to grapple by simply walking into each other. From there, the player that gets the move off first (usually by pushing a direction and a button at the same time) performs it. You can attempt your finisher right off the bat, but it'll usually be blocked and countered unless you've already beaten your opponent up quite a bit. One thing that really blew me away was the constant presence of a ref in the ring with you. If you time it correctly, you can even toss your opponent into the ref, knocking the referee unconscious for a short period of time. Also, there's a button that lets you rest, which is key if you want to pull off some of the tougher moves.
There's a ton of different options and modes in the game, ranging from a story mode to matches that take place in electrified cages. There's also a mode that puts you in the octagon, where you fight a UFC-style match that goes to a knockout. You can also set up large tournaments, take part in five-on-five survival-style battles, and compete in tag team matches, which can be played conventionally or tornado-style, where all four wrestlers are in the ring at once.
It's a shame that Fire Prowrestling G will probably never see the light of day here in the US, but considering the changes that would have to be made for the game to be legally released here, it's probably for the best. Just find yourself a good translation of the game's complex menu structure, and have at it. The game might not appeal to those of you looking for a more arcade-style wrestling game, or a game with realistic ring entrances and voice work. But if you're after a simply great PlayStation wrestling game with enough options and modes to keep you entertained for months, if not years, look no further.