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I wouldn't have thought that wrestling is a sport which could possibly be reproduced effectively or even sufficiently on a home computer.
Rock 'n' Wrestle illustrates the point perfectly -- it can't be done. While the idea is certainly a novel one, it hasn't quite come off and the end result leaves a lot to be desired. Graphically Rock 'n' Wrestle is poor -- the sprites are crude in both their definition and animation. The tune played throughout the game is the sonic equivalent of the graphics, ie awful, and the sound effects are even worse. Rock 'n' Wrestle is quite simply a poor excuse for a sports simulation and little else.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Rock 'n' Wrestle
1985 Merlbourne House
Programmed by Gregg Barnett
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twelfth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: March 13th, 1986).
 

ROCK 'N' WRESTLE
Melbourne House, 9.95 cass, joystick or keys


From the authors of the best selling martial arts simulation, Way of the Exploding Fist, comes an alternative computer sport -- wrestling, in the form of Rock 'n' Wrestle. As grapple supremo Gorgeous Greg (is this an ego trip for the main programmer Gregg Barnett or the graphics designer Greg Holland, one wonders?), you must battle your way past nine hardened opponents, each with their own distinctive style, to become champion of the world. Or, if the mood takes you, there is a two-player option so you can grapple with a friend.

Mick Molotov about to slam Redneck McCoy into the canvas.

There are 24 different wrestling manoeuvres at your disposal and all are accessible from a single joystick (or set of keys if you're so inclined), although only four moves are available at any time, depending upon the situation. For example, at the beginning of a bout you can't do anything other than 'soften up' your opponent by either grabbing, kneeing, kicking or 'punching' him.

You start with a limited amount of energy (represented by a bar at the bottom of the screen), as does your opponent, and this decreases with every assault. Once you've got your man firmly within your grasp he can be headbutted, lifted (energy permitting) and eventually picked up and thrown about the ring. Then, when he is sufficiently stunned, you can jump on him and attempt to pin him to floor for 3 seconds, success resulting in a win and a confrontation with the next, tougher opponent. However, when you find yourself in a similar, uncompromising position then a quick spurt of furious joystick jiggling is required to break the hold.

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What a disappointment! After the excellent
Exploding Fist I expected great things of this, but no! The graphics are awful and the gameplay incongruous and confused. When playing it's possible to kick your opponent in the nether regions until he has no energy at all, but when you go to grapple some sort of divine intervention gives him enough strength to pick you up and hurl you across the ring, making the energy bars pointless. Still, this could be considered authentic, since it seems to happen just like that in the so-called real thing! The graphics are very blocky indeed and the 'speech' (shcha, shchoo, shchii) garbled and unintelligible. The potential for a really good game is here, but unfortunately it just hasn't been realised.
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Despite consistently being told otherwise by numerous months of Melbourne House hype,
Rock and Wrestle is not particularly good. Certainly not what you'd expect from the programmer of Exploding Fist. The whole thing just looks so cheap and unprofessional. Graphically it is primitive to say the least and is severely retarded in the animation department. The characters lurch about the ring unrealistically, with seemingly no knowledge of inertia of momentum. Though not flickery, progression between different frames of animation is anything but fluid. Different wrestlers merely have different heads and different shades of leotard. Neither do they act differently when fighting, and one opponent seems very like any other. The graphics are bad but the sound is worse. When out for the count, the referee's digitised voice sounds unlike anything human. Admittedly there is some initial appeal once you start to play but this soon fades. I would say don't buy it, but it's only fair to let you find out for yourselves.
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Presentation 84%
Comprehensive instructions, adequate attract mode and many options.

Graphics 42%
Porky, blocky, poorly animated sprites and little else.

Sound 65%
Boppy background music isn't outstanding and spot effects are crude.

Hookability 60%
We all found ourselves quite excited for a few minutes despite the immediate impact of the graphics.

Lastability 51%
Just not gripping enough, despite the large variety of moves and opponents.

Value For Money 46%
It's quite a high price for a disappointing game.

Overall 53%
A hard idea to put on a computer, possibly a worthy try, but the potential hasn't quite been realised.

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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (29 Jan 2005)

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