Saturday Night Slam Masters – Review

SEGA Genesis

1993 – Capcom

While I love collecting classic videogames, my first love will always be professional wrestling. I remember being 4 years old, and watching highlights from Wrestlemania III when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant. From that moment in 1987, I was hooked. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and The Ultimate Warrior showing up on my TV each week made pro wrestling destination TV for me! Watching pro wrestling and going to live events are rituals in my life that live on with me to this day! So what happens when my two favorite things collide? Wresting video games, of course! During the mid-90s, I remember opening up a copy of Game Players Magazine, and seeing an advertisement for the game we are going to talk about today. That game is Saturday Night Slam Masters! For those who don’t know, this game was made by the good folks at Capcom. The same people who brought us the Street Fighter series in all its glory. It was originally released in Japan as an Arcade game called Muscle Bomber: The Body Explosion. The arcade game would be ported to both the Super Nintendo as well as the Sega Genesis. For today’s review, we will be looking at the Sega Genesis port as this was the one I owned as a kid making it the port I played the most.

The Story:

The wrestling world had grown stagnant! People were tired of seeing the same matches with the same results. Due to the wrestling climate being in a rut, the Capcom Wrestling Association was born! The CWA invited talent from all over the world to show up and take part. Only 10 wrestlers had the guts to take part in order to decide who would be the one to reign supreme as the CWA Champion of the World.

The Characters:

I feel that if I am going to review this game, I have to mention the characters as they are all rather unique.

You’ve got Biff Slamkovich “The Rocking Ruskie” who is from Russia. He is friends with Zangief from Street Fighter as he likes to mention Comrade Zangief when he loses a match! Then there is Titanic Tim who is from the UK standing at 7 feet and 9 inches tall, and is a former tag team partner of Birdie from the Street Fighter series. Then we have Gunloc from the United States, who is rumored to be related to a famous Street Fighter. With a move called the “Sonic Fist”, I will give you two guesses who that Street Fighter is! Coming to us from the Land of the Rising Sun, we’ve got the Great Oni who likes to spit mist out of his mouth and has a look reminiscent of a kabuki warrior! The next guy on the roster is Oni’s biggest rival named El Stingray who is from Mexico. Stingray is a masked luchador known for his speed and highflying abilities! Alexander the Greater is an agile big man from the United States residing in the great state of Kentucky! He is, as the instruction booklet says, a “Butcher by day and Grater by night”. A wrestling game wouldn’t be a wrestling without a wild man character! That man is King Rasta Mon from the United States who has a pet monkey as his manager. Our next roster member really needs no introduction if you are familiar with Capcom’s legendary beat em up game known as Final Fight! That man is the former mayor of Metro City, Mike Haggar from the United States! The final 2 guys happen to also be the final bosses. First you have a Canadian big man named Jumbo Flapjack! He is the right hand man to the final boss and champion Scorpion who is from Parts Unknown!

 

 

Gunloc

Titanic Tim

Great Oni

El Stingray

Biff Slamkovich

King Rasta Mon

Mike Haggar

Alexander the Greater

Jumbo Flapjack

Scorpion

The Gameplay:

It is WWF meets Street Fighter II. It has all the standard elements of a Street Fighter II such as an energy bar, characters from around the world, a map showing the locations of each opponent, and special moves while also having things you would see in your standard WWF wrestling game such as a wrestling ring to move around in, pin falls, submissions, moves off the top rope, and finishing moves. A wrestling video game was considered a pretty bold move at the time for Capcom as it got away from their standard of fighting games, beat em ups, and platformers.

The Sega Genesis port of the game allowed for up 2 players. It included 3 different modes. You had the standard arcade mode where you wrestled all of the wrestlers to win the championship belt, and then you would defend your title against that same roster in a series of rematches. The game ends when you are able to successfully defend the belt against all comers. The next gameplay option is the VS mode. This, of course, allowed for you to play against a friend. Last but not least, and a mode unique to the Sega Genesis port, you had Death Match Mode which is in lieu of a tag team mode. In Death Match Mode, the ropes are replaced with exploding barbed wire, the ring now has weapons such as a chair and a broken table, and the outside of the ring is lined with explosives. Another thing that made the Sega Genesis port of the game unique is that the boss characters were selectable in the game. This differs from the SNES port which doesn’t allow you to play as Scorpion or Jumbo Flapjack.

 

The Controls:

The controls are very standard here. There are three buttons for this game. A button to attack, B button for jumping, and the C button for pins. With this game, you will also have the ability to use every direction on the d-pad to allow you to spring off the ropes as well as throw your opponent into the ropes. The game also allowed for special pinning combinations and finishers such as Oni doing a Cyclone Kick when you hit the jump and attack buttons at the same time. Different button combinations allow for different moves depending on the character you select.

 

The Graphics:

What is the Sega Genesis known for? It’s 16-bit arcade graphics! Saturday Night Slam Masters was no different in that regard! I feel that this is an excellent port of the arcade game. The venues in each country look unique and vibrant, the characters look clean and detailed, and the fans all look to be very into the action. This is a very visually beautiful wrestling game giving the time period, and I feel it ages very well!

The Sound:

This game had an excellent soundtrack! All of the music on the game is very good. The sound effects from the cheering crowd are great too! The game did everything it could to get the feel of being at a wrestling event. The wrestlers even each have their own entrance music as the come down to the ring. I find myself playing songs from this game in my head pretty often.

The Difficulty:

Just like with most fighting and sports games, finishing this game is not really that difficult. You also have the ability to adjust the difficulty to make the same as hard or as difficult as you want. Since it is done in the same style as a fighting game, this is one of those games you can finish in 25-35 minutes, if not sooner.

 

The Verdict:

If you are a wrestling fan and a love of wrestling videogames, then you have to be sure to have Saturday Night Slam Masters in your collection. This is my favorite wrestling game of all time! The only drawback is that the Sega Genesis port does not have a tag team mode which is available in both the Arcade version as well as the Super Nintendo Port. While it may not have the popularity or look of a WWF wrestling game, it still holds up on its own. It is a great alternative to those retro gamers who can only play so many games featuring WWF guys. Add this to your library today if you see it sitting on the shelf at any store who sells retro games or of you see it available on Amazon or eBay!

4 out of 5 TROGS!

GameTrog Review By

Ultragoldenant

 

Ultragoldenant is a nerdy father of 3 from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He also collects wrestling memorabilia, enjoys cosplay, and has a deep love for the decade known as the 90s! 

 

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