Growing up, my bro and I were huge wrestling fans. I remember in the early 90's when the WWF superstars came to the local mall. My uncle drove us and I wanted to ask the guy "Is wrestling real?" I was maybe 7 years old. But anyway, when I got up to him and saw how big of a bloke he was, I timidly handed him my trading card of him, he signed it and I walked away, humbled by the size of his guns
In the summer of '94, my bro saw an ad for NCW in EGM. The ad is much like the cover, and to this day remains one of the cheesiest, laughable ads I've ever seen. Two wrestlers that vaguely resembles ANY of the actual NCW combatants are seen sparring. The text read NATSUME CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING IS DEFINITELY THE MOST INCREDIBLY EXCITING GAME EVER DEVELOPED. IT WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!!
Well hot damn. I'm sold. Ah the innocence of youth. In addition, it had a ton of engrish -- "Jumping Kneepat" ... "Shoulder Through" ... "Kitchen Sink" ... EH? O_o
My bro then uttered the words I'd heard a hundred times before...
"Steve, go rent it this weekend for me"
And so it was that Friday night that me and my dad were off to the rental shops. No store had the game, except... Ultimate Video, the new gigantic mom 'n pop that opened circa Spring of '94 (see Memories of Renting for more). I remember seeing Double Dragon V and wanting to rent that instead. But... I had a mission to finish. My dad checked the game out and we stopped by Burger King to grab dinner for me and my brother
I opted to stay in the car. Ultimate Video did a rarity in those days... they included the game's manual. Sitting there in the faint orange glow of the street lamp, I studied the extensive manual and to this day, it's a vivid memory that has stuck with me
I remember being impressed by the large move sets. Most wrestling games of that era simply didn't have very many moves. Here you had different moves for the SAME button! All you had to do was hit left, right, up or down to do a different manuever. Maybe the ad wasn't lying, maybe this was indeed the most incredibly exciting game ever developed. But then I spotted some funny errors in the manual. What the hell is a slipper hold? And why is Conan 6'9" when he's 6'0"? The ad also had its fair share of typo's and the like. And the game received extremely limited exposure in magazines. I was beginning to think I should have gone with Double Dragon V....
Long story short(er), we loved this game. It's a shame that NCW has never really been in the spotlight like it deserves... SO, without further ado, let's see why this game is the most incredibly exciting game ever developed.......
What is Technostasy? Why is there no space in between since and 1987? What an odd bunch!
[You're one to talk -Ed.]
5 game modes. If you play the CPU you can choose between easy, medium or hard. With friends, it's possible to have 12 players! (via the Round Robin Tag Match). If you're new, don't start on Hard if you wish to keep your front teeth intact. The system is based on timing, not rapid mad button pushing (thank goodness) but for newbies it'll take a while to get the timing down pat
FEEL THE POWER!
The energy bar system is one of the best I've ever seen. Like Vampire Savior (but much earlier, mind), when you take damage, it's possible to recuperate health. However, the more damage you take, the slower the healing process. There are six bars:
It's bloody ace. Other wrestling games of that time had one energy bar, with no healing potential. Think of all those WWF games as well as Saturday Night Slam Masters... you'll never look at an energy bar in a wrestling game quite the same way after playing NCW
In tag matches it's especially brilliant. Tag out with your health on dark red, 2 minutes tag back in and you'll find your health in the green. Therefore, tag team strategy in this game more closely mimic the "real thing" than other wrestling games of that era
Nothing satisfies more than beating someone up SO bad that his health recovers at a snail-like pace!
There are 12 in all, with 3 body shapes. Big, medium and small. Let's meet these barbaric thugs now shall we?
6'4" 269 pounds
My favorite. According to the manual he has won many championships and bloody hell, he does one mean face slam!
Do his face slam when close to the ropes...
... For it'll give them a whiplash to remember you by!
6'0" 259 pounds
One of two medium body types, he does a killer moonsault press!
Great way to end it all... not to mention nice Spidey impression in pic #2
6'1" 248 pounds
Fast as lightning, with some of the game's coolest moves
Wicked spinning heel kick!
Viper shows off his power with this lovely powerslam
Somewhere Randy "Macho Man" Savage is rolling over in his grave!
6'0" 258 pounds
Palette swap? Shh, Natsume knows no such thing... Phantom has that devious look to a science, but lacks cool moves
Nice cross chop to the throat though! Ooof!
6'4" 279 pounds
Tallest bloke in NCW. Sports one hell of a tan. Hmmm, he almost reminds me of Jake "The Snake" Roberts... naaaah....
Then again.... I'll be damn. Great jumping DDT!
6'3" 277 pounds
He sure could use Spike's tan! A former mental patient, he's earned his name for good reason!
I mean, just look at that kisser! He's a psychopath! J. Kraze was my brother's 2nd favorite wrestler. I loved to beat him up... nutthin' like poundin' crazy folk...
Clothesline from hell! If near the ropes, victim will receive a NASTY whiplash!
6'2" 322 pounds
Fattest bloke in town, a King Kong Bundy clone, Big Ape knows how to throw his weight around!
Oh boy, you certainly don't want to be on the receiving end of this!
It's like hitting a brick wall?
More like running into a building!
The Avalanche Slam is downright deadly
5'9" 245 pounds
No knee pads? Is he mad? Or just plain dumb? I hate this guy. I always take great pleasure in beating him up. He looks like the kind of guy you just want to plummel!
He's capable of this nice combination though... clothesline...
Bounce 'im off the ropes with a well-timed punch
Then evade the punch and deliver a perfect standing dropkick!
6'1" 262 pounds
Of them all, this guy is the dullest. Basically a swap of Asteroid but hardly any fun to play as
Not a bad power bomb though
6'2" 302 pounds
Hmmm, someone got a snake fetish? Viper, Fangz, H. Snake, now Python?! This fool is mad strong! Arguably has the best-looking move in the game too
This will damn near decapitate you!
His throwing power bomb is sick! You can also throw them out of the ring!
5'9" 229 pounds
My bro's favorite. Easy to see why. Not only is he great fun to play as, but those are some killer trunks!
His running hiptoss is smooth and effective
Drop the guillotine legdrop on them sorry faces! MWAHAHAHA! Ahem...
Exclusive to Roach is this super excellent-looking neckbreaker! Great animation
I love this move. The mat makes loud crunches when bodies hit. Lovely stuff...
Phantom is dazed here..... go for the kill!
Talk about C.O.D.!
Concussion On Delivery!
6'3" 312 pounds
A 3-time champion, Bruto lives up to his moniker. Check out his finishing move... that's gotta leave a mark...
His high-angled power bomb will compress your spinal cord and crack your skull
Post match quotes even rear their ugly head in NCW. I guess no brawler of any sort was safe in those days, no?
Take the fight outside for more destruction. Get back in before the count of 10
M. Roach shows off his reaching ability
Reach out and touch somebody! Har Har Har....
What's nice is when you pick up an opponent, he sits up half way. From here you can pick him up again so that he stands, or leave him sitting, whereby you can kick the back of his skull or wrench his neck in a sleeper hold!
Although no weapons like chairs and broken beer bottles are available, the steel barricades make a great ally if you fling 'em toward it. Try and time it so you can follow up with a killer clothesline combination, right as this animation expires. Simple, but highly effective stuff!
Blood?! Oddly, only for Roach
The tag team modes with four humans are the best. With the tag round robin option, it's possible for 12 to play (rotating of course)
Wanna know a neat trick in the tag mode?
Oh hell yeah! It's the little things that makes games so fun
You've seen how the ropes can come into play (e.g. face slam, clothesline) for a nice added whiplash affect.... you've seen the dirty tag team tactic.... there are some others but I have to show this one... the others you find out for yourself....
Using a fast guy, toss a slow guy the other way
Immediately tail gate him!
At the right moment, go for your leaping attack
OH! How so very embarrassing for them, and sweet for you!
Ah, the "monkey commentators." My mom was the first to coin this phrase, and it stuck. Gotta love this bizarre little touch!
Uh yeah... let us move on, then...
MEMORIES OF NCW... AND THE DAY IT DIED
After my brother and I enjoyed the heck out of Natsume Championship Wrestling, we decided it was a game we were going to buy, once it went on budget. Sure enough, one year later we were browsing the SNES game aisle at Toys R Us in good ole 1995
And there it was, like a beacon of light
NCW on clearance for $19.99
I grabbed that classic Toys R Us game slip -- turns out it was the last one!
We played NCW for a good long time. My mom would casually walk by and actually stand there to watch for a minute or two. She couldn't care less for video games, but something about the barbaric game tactics (rope whiplash trick, catch-you-from-behind, etc.) appealed to her, and of course, the outlandish chimp commentators. Looking back, those were truly the good old days...
We played together mostly, but when against, I usually got the better of him
We played NCW well into 1997. It was loads of fun, but one day, my brother finally "laid the game to rest" -- as they might say
"Hey, let's play NCW," I said
"Naw, I had enough of it"
"What? One more time... c'mon"
"We've played it to death..."
And he was right. We had slammed J. Kraze's crazy ass probably a ga-zillion times, crushed Snake's wind pipe five hundred thousand times and sent Spike to the hospital more times than I could count. We truly exhausted the game for all it was worth. With my brother retiring from NCW, so too did I...... it was a sad day, but inevitable... such is the life of video games...
ZEN NIPPON PRO WRESTLING BUDOKAN!
If you like NCW, then you simply must try out its Japanese counterpart and sequel Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling Budokan. It improves on NCW in just about every darn aspect, including a super fun fatal four way match option. It is, quite frankly, the best wrestling game you could play on your SNES
February 20, 2006
A little over a month into my SNES resurrection, I re-bought NCW to relive not only the memories, but just to play again, a very very good wrestling game
And some times... good memories obscure the game's flaws... the game's shortcomings... well, not the case here! NCW is just as good today as it was many many moons ago, I'm happy to say
THAT'S MY GUY! Asteroid! CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS :)
Unlike other wrestling games from that time period, the move set was extensive, the grapple system relied on timing (much like the awesome Fire Pro series) and there were so many nice touches. Got your opponent on the ground? Stomp his face OR his knees. Do an elbowdrop. A kneedrop. Fling them into the ropes? Backdrop. Clothesline. Running hiptoss. The list goes on and on. Y is for weak moves, B for medium and A for power. If you attempt too strong a move on a fresh opponent they will counter! Before you can apply your finisher, they must be weakened
The first time you witness a running clothesline followed by your opponent ducking seamlessly into a back suplex you will go, "OH NO! But damn if that wasn't cool!"
While the graphics don't match that of a Saturday Night Slam Masters -- its gameplay is simply unrivaled. And that's the ultimate area of concern -- game play. There is no comparison. NCW also has nice sound and music too, actually, quite nice
Here's another cool twist -- instead of 2 going to 3 -- there's 2.5 and 2.9 first! If you kick out during these close counts, the fans can be heard stomping in unison from the rafters!
The wealth of moves, how extremely playable it is.... it's a shame this game went under the radar as much as it did. There was ZERO coverage in GameFan and EGM only had a 1-page preview in their May '94 issue. Neither publication reviewed the game. It also came out the same time as arcade champion Slam Masters. Tough way to break in, eh?
What a shame. It deserved so much better
What is the best American SNES wrestling game?
Without hesitation, I'd say...
It's not the most incredibly exciting game ever developed.... BUT... it is pretty damn good