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Rumble Roses (PlayStation 2) artwork

Rumble Roses (PlayStation 2) review


"The first few notes of Yuka Watanabe's "The Spirit of Hawk" float through the crowded Rumble Roses arena with beauty and grace unbecoming of the Mongolian girl Aigle, a conveniently legal eighteen-year-old who "wants become great warrior like great father". She rides her big brown horse towards the ring, flashing a dignified smile at the crowd as her plump butt bounces up and down."



BEGIN WARNING


This is an adult-oriented review of a sophomoric game! Sitting too close to the monitor is bad for your eyes!

END WARNING


The first few notes of Yuka Watanabe's "The Spirit of Hawk" float through the crowded Rumble Roses arena with beauty and grace unbecoming of the Mongolian girl Aigle, a conveniently legal eighteen-year-old who "wants become great warrior like great father". She rides her big brown horse towards the ring, flashing a dignified smile at the crowd as her plump butt bounces up and down. Stupid female Aigle has recently overcome such daunting opponents as the stupid female Aguilera lookalike wrestler and the schoolteacher wrestler searching for her delinquent, stupid female Canadian punk-rock student (who wrestles). The crowd acknowledges Aigle with cheers, but her emergency ward reject of an opponent greets her with a smirk.

Anesthesia (nurse wrestler): "Looks like we have a dark horse on our hands."

Aigle: "Yes, I have horse. Strong and obedient!"

This is the game I bought. With money.

Even though the misogynists over at Konami pretty much smashed warning signs across my face, I somehow ignored all of them. There's the so totally not erotic cover showing one girl choking another. There's a disturbing back-of-box pic of a chick in a devil dress caressing a black nurse's butt. And shame on me for not noticing it's a wrestling game. That last one alone guarantees no hope for people expecting a fast-paced fighter full of furious action, especially since Rumble Roses was developed by the team responsible for the slow slow SmackDown! games.

I love pro wrestling and I even enjoy the games, but I've never understood why they all have to be so slow. It's not as if reducing speed magically makes the games more strategic. So know this up front: Rumble Roses isn't quick and elegant like Dead or Alive. It's ponderously paced, featuring a lot of grabbing, wiggling, and slapping... with only ten characters instead of the typical wrestling game's 40 or more.

I'd like to say Konami compensated for the lack of characters with depth of characters. I'd also like a sexy Japanese supermodel pole-dancing in my lap. The ten girls have roughly the same number of techniques as any wrestler from the SmackDown! games -- perhaps fewer, since there are no double team attacks (due to Rumble Roses being possibly the only wrestling game in history not to include a tag team mode). For those of you who haven't played many modern wrestling games, this means Rumble Roses gives you about fifty ways to choke and beat questionably pretty young girls. Before you prematurely cream yourself in awe, keep in mind that most modern fighting games offer just as many attacks and combinations, if not more.

Whenever she's caught in a submission move, like an arm bar or figure four leglock, Aigle screams "Hurt! Hurt!", presumably so that you (the horny gamer with bulging pants) realize these attacks aren't just for show. The game tries to pretend injuring different body parts makes a difference, but all it really encourages is repeating the same attack over and over until a limb snaps.

Even though there are only ten wrestlers, each has a 'face' and 'heel' variant. In non-wrestling nerd speak, that means 'good girl' and 'bad girl'. You can usually recognize the bad girls because they like to say stuff like "I'll kick your ass." or clutch their heads in brainwashed pain while speaking in broken English.

"Go... home... Rei... ko... OWWWW"

The above is a literal quote from the game's subtitles. It sounds even worse when spoken.

Through a neat vow system -- the game's one cool innovation -- your wrestler can turn from good to evil (or vice versa) based on actual in-match actions. Whack others with chairs to turn evil; never kick anyone when they're down to turn good. As one example, naughty punk rocker Candy Cane can turn good and become Becky, the academically inclined cheerleader if she beats girls up nicely. The game tries to give every character -- even the mean ones -- a motivation for their actions. As Candy Cane sits atop the turnbuckle in an abandoned arena, she explains, "I was born on the streets... that's why I turned to the evil side of female wrestling! It was my only way to earn money for the orphanage... for all those poor children like me."

Obviously she never heard of prostitution. But Konami's not afraid to sell its own characters out in ways that would send Tom Itagaki into a fatherly rage. Rumble Roses tries (but fails) to look really, really slick and sexy. With a particular power bomb style attack, one girl grabs another and shakes the unfortunate lass's ass in front of the whole arena. Aside from wasting five seconds of my life every time it happens (which is quite often, since it's a basic attack), it's choppily animated. One moment the poor girl's rear is put on display for all to see, the next she's mysteriously got her face crammed in my character's crotch. Who needs transition animation -- all horny gamers care about are mock sexual positions!

No, scratch that. Horny gamers care about mud matches, too. Especially mud matches starring ninjas in bikinis.

"As a ninja, I entertain no notions of desire, except jello."

Bloody Shadow's desires go unfulfilled because Rumble Roses isn't innovative enough for jello matches. It's blatantly sexist, but not sexist enough to actually be cool. Where are the bra-and-panties matches from WWE games? Evening gowns? ANYTHING that involves forcibly stripping the opponent? Rumble Roses just doesn't put out. It's a tease... but without the Dead or Alive games' solid play or impressive visuals to give it any legitimacy.

Even the gallery mode, which is supposed to act as a masturbatory aid for horny young men (like we really need help), sucks. "Unlock the gallery mode. You won't be disappointed." taunts the instruction manual. Well, I was disappointed. It's a looping series of animations -- the same animation for each wrestler -- doing revealing stretches in the locker room. Or a series of animations -- the same animation for each wrestler -- lounging on the beach. Unlike DOA Volleyball's animated scenes (which are actually matched to each characters' individual personality), these scenes last forever and ever. That works great if someone is actually sitting in front of the TV with their dangling wang. Otherwise, the galleries are boring. Except for the interviews.

Interviewer: "What's your favorite color?"

Bloody Shadow: "Crimson, the color of blood."

Imagine: a girl is stretched out on the sand, wearing only a bikini and ninja face-mask. Talking about blood.

SEXY DYNAMITE!

Like the very first Resident Evil, Rumble Roses is filled with lovably cheesy dialog that made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. Every time I played. The difference between the two is that Resident Evil wasn't a derivative work of a stale genre. Aside from pointing and laughing, there's nothing fun about Rumble Roses.

//Zig

Rating: 3/10

zigfried's avatar
Staff review by Zigfried (May 08, 2005)

Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.

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