Super Famicom/Super Nintendo
Let's just get this out of the way first; No, Stardust Suplex is not a game about Cody Rhodes' alter ego taking other wrestlers on a trip to "Suplex City". It's actually a Joshi (Japanese Women's) Pro Wrestling game released in 1995 by Varie. Varie is also responsible for releasing the Shin Nippon Tokyo Dome series of wrestling games for the Super Famicom so they do have experience with this particular genre of games. Let's take a look at this fairly obscure, Japan-exclusive release to see what it has to offer.
Like most puroresu games that aren't licensed by a particular promotion; Stardust Suplex features (let's all say it together now) thinly veiled versions of popular wrestlers of the era. This game's roster includes Beauty Mutsuki (Cutie Suzuki), Naomi Sonoda (Manami Toyota), and Grenade Kanzaki (Kansai Dynamite). It also features two of my favorite Joshi legends; Raja Tonga (Aja Kong) and Hell Takano a/k/a Bull Nakano. I think it should be a legitimate crime to ever make a Joshi pro wrestling game without including a Bull Nakano character. She was the best! Later in life, after her wrestling career was over, she even made for a very good professional female golfer. Go figure.
The title screen features some great music and it shows Cutie Suzuki's character apparently in position to perform a Kamehameha wave (for all you Dragon Ball fans out there). Once you get to the match select screen, our options are a single or tag team Vs. match, having a Battle Royal, or participating in a Stardust Super Battle which is the "championship mode".
Each wrestler on the roster has their own unique ending here which is a nice touch. Things like that are what made me want to keep playing games like Mortal Kombat or even WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade game. I mean, yeah I beat the game and saw the ending where Bam Bam Bigelow sets fire to the entire arena but now I want to see the Shawn Michaels ending where he celebrates winning the title with some sort of "live sex celebration". Seriously, can we all take a moment to think about how crazy all of the superstars' endings were in that game?
Whichever mode you choose, the game controls with timed button presses for grappling as opposed to button mashing to gain "power". For those unfamiliar with this type of grappling system; when two wrestlers lock up, they do a collar and elbow lock-up and their knees dip just a little. You want to input your button press combo for the desired move you want to pull of at the exact moment they lock up and their knees dip.
You only want to press the buttons once, though. Button mashing or pressing the buttons more than once in any way makes your grapple fail and gives your opponent a free grapple to use. You also want to wear down your opponent with weak strikes and grapples before moving on to medium or strong attacks. These will also be automatically reversed when performed before your opponent is properly worn down.
I have to say, I enjoyed playing this game a lot. It's one of the nicest looking (graphics-wise), most fun, and most well put together Joshi wrestling games that I've ever played!
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!