Game: "Tag Team Wrestling"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Other
Review: Now here's a game that I spent many hours of my youth mastering. I use the term "mastering" loosely since, in all honesty, it's a fairly simple wrestling game. This game never got the credit it really deserved because most people were obsessed with the more popular "Pro Wrestling" game on the NES at the time. Still, I thought having tag teams in a wrestling game was pretty damned innovative back then.
There are two teams you can play as: The Ricky Fighters (the good guys, Ricky and Ultramachine) or The Strong Bads (the bad guys, Mascross and Worly). The latter team was the original inspiration behind everybody's favorite animated web character, Strong Bad, from Homestar Runner. Unfortunately, you can only play as the Strong Bads if you're playing a 2-player game. If you're playing a 1-player game, you're stuck with the Ricky Fighters. Don't get me wrong, I like the Ricky Fighters, but there's something endearing about playing as the obese badass, Worly, and doing a flying headbutt across the entire screen.
Speaking of moves, Tag Team Wrestling has an interesting fighting system. Instead of grappling with your opponent and then executing a move, it's all based on who can land a punch first. Once you land a punch, a mini menu comes up and you have to quickly decide on which move you would like to do. It can be tricky since you have to mash the buttons quickly to cycle through the moves list, and if you hit them one too many times you'll end up with the dreaded body slam - the weakest of all moves and frankly, a complete waste of time. Some of the other moves you can do include everything from choke holds and drop kicks, to back drops and back briks.
Another interesting aspect of the moves, is that each wrestler has their own rival, and if they happen to be facing them, they can pull of a super move which does far more damage than any normal. I'm not sure there is any move in the game more damaging than Ricky's dreaded "Sasori" in which he pounds the hell out of Worly and then puts him in some kind of lock which requires his partner to come free him from. It takes off a ton o' energy.
Now I'll admit, playing the 1-player version of the game can get pretty old as your only reward for making it further in the game is larger trophies and your outfits sometimes change colors. It's a long road to becoming "Super Champion" (35 matches total) and always having to fight the same team does get old, especially since they can cheat at will. You see, the computer can actually get angry at you and its characters will turn red with rage. When this happens, you're shit outta luck, because their rage won't go away until they've executed a move on you. There's simply no way to defend against it. From what I've seen, they only get filled with rage if a) you wait too long to contact them or b) they're losing badly. It can definitely get annoying, and it cost me many a match back in the day. Fortunately you can hold up and press start when you lose and it will allow you to continue from where you left off (a lil' trick for those of you who have your ass handed to you by a cheating rage-filled computer who just doesn't want to let go of his championship).
A fun aspect of the game is when you take the fight outside of the ring. There's always a chair waiting on the ground and whoever gets to it first, gets to bash their opponent in the head with it. There are three moves you can do outside of the ring: a body slam, a back drop and the beloved Tecchu! This is the move in which you forcefully ram your opponent into one of the ring posts and he'll let out a loud "eugh!" sound. It also eats up some time, and winning with a "ring out" count out is one of the best ways to defeat the computer in the later levels of the game because that's the one area where it can't use the "rage" cheat.
I should also mention that Tag Team has a surprising amount of digitized voices for an old NES game. I always thought the referee sounded like The Count from Sesame Street whenever you would pin your opponent. "Von! Two! Three!"
All in all, it's a fun classic best played with a friend to see who can pull off their super moves first. If you're playing against the computer, just be prepared for a long, monotonous game which rewards you with trophies and multicolored undies.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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