JWP Joshi Pro Wrestling - Pure Wrestling Queens
Today, I wanted to do something that I always enjoy that I haven't done in a while - unearth an obscure Japanese puroresu game and shed a little light on it. Today's offering is JWP Joshi Pro Wrestling - Pure Wrestle Queens. I would say the title to this game is excessively long but, considering it's a puroresu game, long-ass titles like this are pretty standard for some reason. Come to think of it; a lot of Japanese games in general usually have much longer titles than North American games. I guess there's no time for me to contemplate the reasons why now so, let's just pop in this cartridge into my trusty old, modded SNES, and see how it stacks up with other 16-bit wrestling classics.
There isn't a ton of information about this game online so, I'm sort of going in blind on this offering. Man, I remember the last time I went in this "blind" while reviewing a game and the results ended up being that crazy Atsushi Onita FMW game that we took a look at here, years ago! I don't think we can expect that sort of "wackiness" with this offering because it seems like a straight-forward wrestling game but we shall soon find out.
I do know this game was released to the Japanese market in 1994 and, upon first turning it on, I can clearly see that it was developed and released by Jaleco by their logo screen appearing before the title screen commences. This honestly makes me a little nervous right off the bat because Jaleco was always capable of making great games (like City Connection or the Bases Loaded series of baseball games) but they were never consistent. They always sort of reminded me of dollar store developers, whereas Capcom made classic brawlers such as Final Fight and Knights Of The Round; Jaleco gave us the generic Brawl Brothers. You get the idea. Jaleco could be good but they weren't consistent with it... you know, like Jeff Jarrett in a wrestling match. Yeah, that's a prime example.
I then let the title screen play out and it shows us digitized pictures of the "wrestle queens" on the roster along with their names printed in English. I really dig that. This way, if I'm not familiar with them, at least I can learn their names. I'm happy to see even a few wrestlers that I recognize like Devil Misami and Cutie (spelled "Cuty" here, for some reason) Suzuki. Some of you may remember Miss Suzuki from having her own video game released in 1990, which I've also previously reviewed.
When we get to the first menu screen, I can't read kanji (life goals, am I right?), but we obviously have a few choices to highlight and pick from. One of these choices features a picture of what is either a werewolf or a homeless man wearing a "graduation cap" so, obviously, I had to choose that first.
I figured, due to the "graduation cap" this mode was going to teach us how to do certain moves or something and I appear to be correct in that assessment. What happens, though, is that I have no idea what move they're asking me to perform and I Judo throw and then bodyslam the trainer twice while he yells something at me which I don't quite understand. His yelling sounds negative, though, and I can only assume I'm doing it wrong so I quit out and decide to try a normal match.
Once my match starts, I can see that Jaleco took the time to animate ring entrances for each wrestler complete with added "entrance gear" and theme songs. I don't know how accurate these theme songs are compared to their real-life counterparts but they all sound good here. The game itself looks and sounds good, all around. Nothing amazing, mind you, but much better than the "discount bin quality" that I was afraid it was gonna be.
Pure Wrestle Queens ends up being pretty fun to play as well. There aren't many options or different match types but the game play is balanced and has a nice flow to it. The grapple system is set up like most Japanese games which means it's done with timing-based moves as opposed to button mashing. This is always my preferred method of game play because I hate feeling like I'm potentially breaking my controller by playing a game that requires you to push one button rapidly and repeatedly, countless times.
Going into this game blindly and seeing Jaleco was responsible for making it made me a little worried that this game was... well... I was afraid it was gonna suck, to be blunt about it. I'm glad I gave it a chance, though, because it ends up being a pretty decent (although perhaps simplistic) 16-bit puroresu game. I wouldn't rank it as one of the greatest ever but it's one every fan of the sub-genre of puroresu games should check out at least once.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!