Rumble Roses XX Review
Rumble Roses XX introduces a few positives into the first game's formula, but most of the content feels recycled, and the game is still rather unseemly.
- A decent bit of variety and strategy in the wrestling
- Great graphics
- Online play.
- The game's voyeuristic aspects are kind of creepy at times
- Not enough variety in the costumes and editing functions to make them worthwhile
- Gameplay becomes predictable after a short time
- Single-player experience is just kind of confusing.
Konami made its first foray into the world of professional wrestling back in late 2004 with Rumble Roses, an all-female grappler for the PlayStation 2 that was developed in tandem with longtime wrestling developer Yuke's. The game was in no way designed to be a simulation wrestling game. The characters represented patently over-the-top caricatures of various sexual fetishes and character archetypes (the naughty schoolgirl, the feisty cowgirl, the S&M slave, and so on), and the game included some of the most insane storylines and wrestling action you could possibly sit through without having your head literally explode. Ultimately, the semi-creepy vibe and dearth of content sank Rumble Roses, despite its inclusion of a fairly competent wrestling engine and great graphics. The newest Rumble Roses adventure is Rumble Roses XX for the Xbox 360, and with it, Konami has at least addressed a couple of key issues. Gone are the bananas storylines; in is competitive online play. Sadly, the improvements stop there. The gameplay, while still sound, isn't captivating enough to hold your attention for terribly long, and once again, the constant onslaught of schoolboy-grade sexual fantasizing just makes the whole game feel kind of tacky.
If you played Rumble Roses on the PS2, you'll be immediately familiar with the characters presented here, because all the same ones are present and there actually aren't any new ones. Like the last game, there are dual versions of each character available, one good and one evil. In addition to that, each good and evil character has a "superstar" version that can be unlocked as you play. The superstar version wrestles similarly to the good or evil version of the character she represents, but with stronger moves and snazzier costumes. As neat as the superstars are, they're still just variations on characters you've already seen multiple versions of. If you take away all the variables, you've really only got 11 unique characters to choose from, and again, they're all the same ones from the PS2 game. That's just lazy.
Speaking of laziness, Konami fixed one problem with the original Rumble Roses by axing the feature altogether, rather than trying to improve upon it. Rumble Roses had this ludicrous story mode that had individual storylines for each character. These storylines could be likened to the worst brand of wrestling fan fiction imaginable, with unfathomably bad voice acting. It went from oddly amusing to completely insufferable in a short amount of time. So now there's no story mode at all. Instead of a proper story or career mode, what you get is a completely hands-off brand of single-player experience. You'll boot up and jump right into the game. You'll pick up a character and travel around this map area that shows different fight arenas, your locker room, and modes like exhibition and online play. Once you've got your character, you travel from fight to fight, building up your wrestler's popularity until you eventually get a title match. Of course, you'll pretty much have to figure this out on your own. The game really doesn't provide any tangible feedback about how many matches you're supposed to fight to get a title shot. Even after you've maxed your popularity to the highest level, you don't just get a title shot right off the bat, so you might be a little confused about where you're supposed to go or what you're supposed to do. After all that, you just pick another character, and repeat the whole process over again.
At the very least, there is more fight variety to be had in Rumble Roses XX. You've got basic singles, tag team, triple threat, handicap, and fatal four-way matches, as well as a few gimmick matches. The queen's match is a standard match with an ending stipulation: The loser will be humiliated in a fashion determined at the beginning of the match by the opponent. These stipulations include such dastardly humiliations as forcing the loser to play a particularly tough game of limbo, pushing the loser into a swimming pool, making him or her dance, or just having the loser pose sexily. Of course, there's no actual work involved in this. Both players just sit back and watch the end result for as long as they can take it without wondering why they aren't doing something better with their time. The other main gimmick match is a street fight that involves punching and slamming opponents until a health meter runs out. This mode feels pretty tacked on, like a cheap way to cash in on the whole hot chicks fighting element from the Dead or Alive games, or something. Not that the whole game isn't probably trying to do that on some level, but the wrestling system just doesn't feel conducive to a typical fighting game experience, thus making it seem out of place.
The actual wrestling of Rumble Roses XX remains a relative bright spot, although, like the last game, the simplicity of it eventually makes winning a total breeze. XX uses what is, in essence, a dumbed-down version of the Yuke's SmackDown! engine. As such, there is some strategy to the fights. Reversals are separated out between grapples and strikes, and it's up to you to predict what your opponent is going to hit you with to successfully pull off a reversal. Submissions are separated out by body regions, including head, body, legs, and arms. The more damage you do to one area, the more likely you are to make the opponent tap out. The whole humiliation factor is still present here as well. You'll build an opponent's humiliation meter until it's full by performing certain moves, at which time you can do a humiliation move, which is a more elaborate and slightly silly finishing maneuver.