Sunday, 06 March 2005
Get ready to rumble as we take a look at yet another game with breasts as its USP. When will it end...?
This review contains gratuitous, throbbing sex.
Now I have your attention, listen up: The dirty word drives the world today, pushing forward the technological advancements of the entertainment industry. What else was behind the demand for home video recorders, Polaroid cameras, and broadband internet? What’s the real attraction behind the craze for using web cams and sending text messages? Why do people spend so much on personal beauty products that make lips shine twenty four hours a day and use chemicals to make them look or feel younger? It’s all about sex. And why not, after all it’s in the genes. Put simply, sex sells.
What then of computer games that use sex to make them more popular? In the pre-internet days any hint of smut in a game, from Leisure Suit Larry’s binocular scene through the buxomly Elvira to the rhythm action sex scene in French Sci-Fi B.A.T. (replaced by disco dancing for the UK consumer), brought frenzied interest and cries of morale degradation. Either way putting sex in a game was a marketers dream. There is no such thing as bad publicity, after all.
But with the advent of internet and the growth of easily accessible pornography there is less of a smutty appeal with games of a sexual nature. What’s the point in paying £40 to fulfil some curiosity when it’s practically everywhere for free? This fact, however, has not stopped producers trying and failing with games like BMXXX or singles, which are only memorable for their pointless ‘adult’ content.
The one example that goes against this is Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball, which although dripping with skin, is a very competent sports-cum-holiday simulator. There’s perhaps hope then for Rumble Roses, a game which appears to do pretty much the same thing – make an action “sports” game featuring beautiful women as the only playable characters.
The problem from the off is, where DOAXBV had little competition in terms of volleyball games and general relaxing and playing in the casino games, Rumble Roses has to square off with a vast collection of wrestling titles and beat-em-ups. So it’d actually better be a good playable game if it wants to succeed. Sadly, the only thing it brings to the ring is the aforementioned beautiful women. It is below par games like Smackdown when it comes to wrestling action although that is not to say it is unplayable.
The controls and moves are easy to learn, but take some time to master properly. There are a large number of playable characters and their alter-egos, which can be unlocked in story mode. The types of games are limited to regular pin-fall bouts and special mud wrestling matches, which soon become less special when you realise there is no real game play difference apart from the lack of ropes, and the only other difference is that the girls get covered in a nice mud effect. For the people interested in the smut side of the game however, it is probably quite exciting as the girls get out of their usual gear and put on the bikinis.
What is nice is that the damage dished out to an opponent now affects a certain area of the body, so it is possible to work on one part, say an arm, and then there would be more chance of getting a submission hold on it. The reversal and counters system is set up to make bouts surprisingly real (or as real as they could be) so there are periods when your character is suffering a beating, but just has to hold out to get in that one reversal then go to town. The game has some cool music too, but is devoid of commentary, which is a bit of a shame.
Games are limited to exhibition and story. The story mode is somewhat dire in terms of what matters in such modes – namely, the story. We had high hopes that this would be another step forward along the Smackdown line, where the player can make limited choices affecting the semi-believable plot. But no. Instead Rumble Roses presents some of the most ridiculous scenarios imaginable, which might have been funny in a deliberate ironic way, because after all wrestling is fake and staged (sorry kids), yet they managed to go beyond that even: Case in point, the fact that the final boss turns out to be a robot, yes a real one with lasers, not like how the undertaker was only pretend ‘undead,’ is just ridiculous. And no, we haven’t ruined anything revealing that little deus ex machina. Think of it as more of a favour.
Overall the appeal of Rumble Roses has to be limited to the hormonal crazed wrestling fan adolescents, though really they could do better getting Smackdown and having a browse on Google images. Otherwise it is very much an average novelty game and hard to recommend. Yes, it has to be said, the women are incredibly well realised, complete with a gravity even DOAXBV would be proud of, but they really are the only reason to buy this over another wrestling game. If that’s your cup of tea then fine, go for it, oh, and out of interest, how long did it take you to complete Ganguro Girl?