The flair of this game comes out with a bit of elbow grease. It quickly fades into a mass of nothingness very quickly.

User Rating: 3.7 | Rumble Roses PS2
Ah, the valor of women... a fight that has been going on ever since women everywhere found out there's a world outside of the domain of the kitchen. Rights have been fought over over the years, making the two sexes equal in today's western society.

However, the taboo regarding women performing certain actions still has not been overcome, and it is still hard today for society to openly accept some kinds of behaviors - from clothes to sports. While a man wearing a swim trunk is considered to be nothing in today's world, seeing a woman doing the same, at the beach, trying to get some sun is still seen by some as something indecent. Male entertainment is another taboo, being something that is always hidden, that is always a sensitive issue - from specialized magazines to full-out pornography.

So when a game like Rumble Roses comes around, it's likely to bump some heads in the process. Bear in mind that this game is not the first of its kind to feature women-only wrestling: Ringside Angel and others already started the trend way back in the golden arcade era. But there is a difference between both games, while Ringside Angel was a cartoony representation of the sport, due to the decision of the developers and the limitation of the technology, Rumble Roses features realistic graphics in a not so serious take at the sport.

The player gets to choose between a host of different fighters, each representing a common stereotype or sexual fantasy character: there's the naive and voluptuous cheer-leader and so on. Each of them has their own set of moves, from grapples to punch-kick combos. The game play in the game is simple, as there are not health bars: each hit scored, depending on the strength and 'style', is awarded with a certain degree of power, that is given out and measured in a bar placed at the top of the screen. Once that bar is filled, a power move is given: depending on the fighter, the move might be a powerful grapple or a humiliating hold.
The humiliation system that the game presents here is where these holds will come into play: each successful move of that kind takes away some of the prestige of the fighter who suffers it, filling a heart-shaped meter that appears at the top corners of the screen. Once that meter is full, the fighter becomes totally humiliated and with that, much more vulnerable to pin holds or normal holds with a press of a button. In fact, most moves are easily performed, not requiring much effort. This system is a neat idea, but it takes away much of the value of the game, since it makes it easy for a match to be ended: three or four successful grapples and it's all over. That is also helped by the fact that most fighters fall to the mat after a simple punching combo or kick to the head, making these sequential moves even easier to perform, ending matches in a matter of seconds.

Where the game is likely to attract an audience is the graphics department: the fighters are realistically rendered, each with a different but none of the less voluptious body, with detailed parts to make even the most robust man blush. And the costumes that are used don't try to hide much, in fact, as you progress to the game, unlocking the fighter's 'alter egos', the clothes become even more skimpy. These alter egos are nothing more than the same fighter with an opposite attitude: for an example, beating the game's story mode with the rebel girl unlocks the good school girl. Still, there are graphical defects, such as the clothes clipping into bodies and the bodies themselves clipping each other.

The game's story mode uses the same two environments for alternating fighters, with a ring and a changing room where the fighters speak their cheesy lines and act out the drama that the intervals between fights are. For the alter egos, the cheesy lines are just taken out, repeating the same scene over and over again between fights all the way to the final bout. There's not much else to be found in this mode: finishing it will unlock almost everything the game has to unlock, from clothing to fighters. There is, however, a exhibition mode, where a fighter can take on another in one single bout. In this mode, you can select 'vows' to be taken in the fight: these range from three successful air moves to not hitting a downed opponent. Completing these vows gives points to the fighter, for either their face or heel meters, depending on the alignment you decide. Scoring fully on whatever side it is chosen, the ability to play a championship round is unlocked. Beating this will unlock the gallery for the used fighter. This gallery is nothing more than a voyeur mode, where poses can be selected, lines can be played and clothes can be chosen all for the sake of watching the selected fighter stretch, work out and such.

Other than the normal ring bouts, there is a 'mad mud' mode, where the fighters will take the match to the beach, in a mud ring. The mud in this game is really strange, and it looks like the 'mercury water' found in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. The mud sticks to the character's skin, but it easily comes off when she stops falling to the ground. For this kind of fight, then fighters wear even skimpier outfits that range from normal bikinis to 'dental floss' tongues that came out straight from the beaches in Rio de Janeiro.

The music in this game ranges from punk metal to rock and roll, that is neither out of the ordinary or bad: it's there. The voice acting is what you can expect from fighting games: nill. What will really bring an audience for this game is the showing of half naked women, as nothing else can attract a normal player: the game play is figured out really quickly, making the experience go down fast. Once the grapple and humiliation system is figured out, which is quickly, all fights end up being the same, over and over again. The flair of the game really goes down after all the 'skimpiness' is taken into effect. All the fighters move the same, the moves don't really differ from one another and the game's unlockables really make the unavoidable end come a little bit slower.

To sum it all up: Rumble Roses is a shallow experience that prides itself for using the same modeling team as Dead or Alive, but does not share the latter's success. It's just a simple little game that tries to stimulate man's hormones and make them buy it, thinking they will get a worthwhile experience. It will not. A rental might not even be worth it, it is highly advised that the credit should be used on something else.

Thanks for reading!