VrE Online Power Move Pro Wrestling from Activision
Professional wrestling at its finest.

Ratings: graphics:80 sound:80 interface:85 fun factor:83 overall:82

The crowd is anxious as the announcer reaches for the suspended microphone. The two opponents sneer at one another, shouting threats. The announcer introduces the first wrestler and the crowd goes wild as he removes his robe and poses. As the audience dies down the announcer introduces the other wrestler who disrobes and flexes his muscles bringing the cheering to a roar. Sneering at each other, the announcer describes the match, and the fun begins. So starts out Power Move Pro Wrestling.

Power Move Wrestling Professional wrestling has made it to your Playstation in what may be the best wrestling game to hit the home market. (Considering that there aren't that many of them, I guess that says something.) The graphics are average, with few texture maps, but plenty of nice camera angles and realtime shading. The music and sound effects are, as well, average for this type of game. The controls are simple to use, but may take some time to master. Overall, the gameplay is smooth and responsive, though it can get to be a bit dull with only the computer. This is definitely a two-player game.

The graphics in Power Move are average with 3D rendered people in a 3D environment; there's nothing here that stands out as outstanding. Sure, the guys that you control are all gourad shaded and move with realistic, fluid motion but there aren't that many texture-maps detailing what they look like. In fact, because of the lack of detail, none of them looks muscular, strong or menacing. Additionally, you are given the option of four different locations with four different arena pictures to chose from. But all 16 arenas looked the same to me, bringing up the question of why? If they at least looked different, I could understand.

Sound and music in PM are on par with action type games such as this. The announcer's voice is accurately annoying: shouting every word with incredible enthusiasm--just like real life. Thankfully with the press of a button, he shuts up and you can get on with the game. The wrestlers themselves make the expected sounds of running, jumping and grunting. There's also the ambient sound of the audience getting into the action with the help of the wrestler coaxing them is good. The music is similar to rock and is hard hitting, helping you to really get into the game. It would have been nice, however, if you could turn off the music and leave the sound effects there.

Power Move Wrestling Power Move Pro Wrestling is easy to control once you learn the somewhat complex nature of the game. You see, pressing the same button will produce different effects depending on where you and your opponent are. So while pressing Square next to a downed opponent makes you pin them, pressing it again when your opponent is standing will do something else. And since each wrestler has well over 15 moves each, it can take you some time to learn everything. This is good because it allows for a lot of variety in play-style.

A feature that was missing from PMPW was that of a damage indicator. No, I'm not talking about the silly health-bar so common to most fighters. I'm talking about putting a tiny image of an outline of a person in the top corners of the screen. Then, when you get your opponent in a head-lock you can see the damage indicator on them turn from green to yellow. (And eventually to red.) This is important because you can attack the legs, arms, or head of your opponent until the referee stops the fight because of too much damage. Without an indicator of some kind, there's no way to know how far you are from being taken out.

Power Move Pro Wrestling is the type of game that is a blast to play with another person. Playing alone is okay, but it should be seen as just practice for when your real life opponent comes over to play. You can handicap better players by carefully picking each wrestler. However there are a few built-in fighting techniques I'm sure that the designers never thought of. For instance, pressing L1 and R1 will change the camera angles 90 degrees at a time (left or right.) If your human opponent knocks you down and starts to go for a pin, frantically press these buttons to confuse them. Of course, this could lead to a real wrestling match, so be careful!

Power Move Wrestling The computer is good to play against most of the time when nobody is there to play against. However, I have no idea what the designers were thinking of when they put in the Gauntlet option. In this mode, the computer pits each wrestler against every other wrestler. Lets do the math: 12 wrestlers fighting each other (12*12). Now since you can't fight yourself, you subtract twelve, leaving: 132 rounds! That's right folks, 132 rounds of wrestling. Eleven of which you will play. This wouldn't be so bad if the computer calculated the outcome of those matches that you don't play. Instead, the designers have the game played out realtime in front of you. You _can_ bypass the round if you press L1+R1+X+Down all at the same time. But that means that you'll have to press it 121 times! This is just plain pathetic.

Power Move Pro Wrestling is a pro-wrestler fan's dream come true. With realistic motions, 12 wrestlers to choose from and plenty of action, they'll be hooked in minutes. The rest of the real world will find that the graphics are average and the sound and music are average. The interface is easy to learn, but will take some time to master each wrestler's moves. It's best played with two people, but can be entertaining solo in Gaunlet mode if you don't have anything to do on Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday night. For a wrestling game, this one is pretty good. It could be improved, but that's what sequels are for!

-- Louis Stice
-- louis@psyber.com

Players: 1 or 2Password: No
Memory Card: Yes, 1 BlockLink-Up: No
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults

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