Forgotten Treasures #2 – Fire Pro Wrestling: Returns (PS2)
Even though it’s considered the best wrestling game series in the world, Fire Pro Wrestling hasn’t seen much success in the Americas. In an industry where elaborate 3D graphics reign supreme, it was a breath of fresh air to see that 2D sprites still had a place in gaming’s present.
Fire Pro Wrestling: Returns boasts deep customization options that allows players to create their own organizations, wrestlers, wrestling rings, and even referees. As a hardcore wrestling fan, I customized every wrestler in the roster to look, and fight like their real counterparts. Ever felt like matching Josh Barnett and Royce Gracie in a cage? How about Hollywood Hulk Hogan against Jushin “Thunder” Liger? Now you can do it.
It was a treat to see many of the Japanese wrestlers like Masahiro Chono, Jushin Liger, and Tiger Mask were included as I’ve always loved the AJPW and NJPW promotions.
I haven’t even started talking about the gameplay, which is to say, incredibly in-depth. This isn’t Smackdown vs. Raw easy to play. It’s a pro-wrestling simulation in the purest form. The game requires players to time their attacks, grapples and throws instead of button mashing. That only got you beat.
The game boasted a staggering 327 wrestlers and fighters, space for 500 created characters, thousands of moves, and even custom entrances with accompanying music.
THE MMA CROSSOVER
Those who prefer MMA can also find enjoyment from the game as it features many global MMA fighters (Names changed of course) organizations and rule sets. Even before I knew about MMA, I knew about Fire Pro’s Pancrase fights, the octagon cage Gruesome fights, as well as the more hardcore electric fenced deathmatches.
If you’re a wrestling or MMA fan and haven’t tried the Fire Pro series, give it a shot. I guarantee you that it’ll take hundreds of hours to master the deep gameplay and to create your wrestlers.
You can find Fire Pro Wrestling: Returns (PS2) for $19.99 or less at most retailers.