Since last week's Worst Wrestling Games Five Count was such a success, I figured we'd keep the video game trend going. This week, we take a look at the best wrestling games without a license from a major promotion. No WWE, WCW, ECW or TNA games... though the latter two don't have any games worthy of any best of list anyway. These are the five best fictional wrestling games:
5. Tecmo World Wrestling (NES)
Tecmo World Wrestling was way ahead of its time: it was the first wrestling game to feature commentary, as far as I know, it's the only wrestling game where you had to train to make your moves more powerful, each wrestler had a huge moveset (often including the dreaded Northern RIGHTS Suplex), and finishing moves triggered cut-scenes. The characters in the game shared a striking resemblance to some real life wrestlers (El Tigre was obviously Tiger Mask), but didn't share some of the hilarious similar names from other series ala Fire Pro's version of Kurt Angle known as "Burt Buckle." Very fun game that was far better than any WWE or WCW game that was out around the same time.
4. Battle Royale (TurboGrafx-16)
Okay, I haven't played this game since I was about eight years old, and you've probably never even heard of it, but I remember loving it at the time. Looking back, it was probably a terrible game, but I was one of four people that had a TurboGrafx-16, so what does that tell you about my taste? But c'mon, it had a dude with an orange mohawk named Spitfire Spike who screamed "OOH YEAH! OOH YEAH!" and other dudes with mohawks that screamed "YOU DIE! YOU DIE!", what's not to love?
3. Saturday Night Slam Masters (Arcade, SNES, Sega Genesis)
Hopefully you've played this game though, if you haven't, go track down a copy, because it is awesome. A Capcom-developed wrestling game featuring Final Fight's Mike Haggar? I'm there! SNSM was different than most other wrestling games out there since it had more of a fighting game vibe, but great gameplay, cool characters, and that awesomely bad 1990s video game music combined to make the most unique wrestling game that I've ever played. There needs to be an HD update for this game on Xbox Live and Playstation Network.
2. Def Jam: Fight for New York (PS2/Xbox)
I know, I know, it's not really a wrestling game like its predecessor Def Jam: Vendetta, but it used the AKI engine and retained most of the elements from the previous game. Sure, there's no ring, but there was no ring in WCW: Backstage Assault either, and DJ:FFNY is more of a wrestling game than that will ever be. Aside from the #1 entry on this list, this game is probably my favorite wrestling game to come out since WWF No Mercy. The awesome story mode and phenomenal gameplay make you forget the ridiculousness of a wrestling/MMA-style fighting game featuring rappers and actors. Oh and Henry Rollins will kick your ass.
1. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (PS2)
Game developers, don't even try to top this game, you won't, because not only is it the greatest unlicensed wrestling game of all time, it is the greatest wrestling game of all time, period. Sure, the graphics are dated, but the gameplay, the sheer amount of moves, and the insane levels of customization (you can literally create ANY wrestler, right down to how they'd react if they threw their opponent out of the ring) and the rabidly dedicated fanbase constantly providing new updates, make this game unstoppable... unless Spike makes a sequel (pretty please?). If you're a fan of wrestling games and you've never played Fire Pro, you're only hurting yourself.
Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!