Written: 2.4.07 Acquired: 2.12.06 Status: Cart only Price: $6.10
How's that song go? Saturday night's all right for fighting?
[Look it up, you lazy bastard -Ed.]
Ah, Saturday Night Slam Masters. The summer of '94... the SNES was receiving a flood load of arcade translations during this time, and I remember it well and very fondly. Imagine my joy when I saw the import for rent before the US version was released! "You want some? COME GET SOME!"
Super Play put it best to describe the game's intro
"The game opens up with a steroid-pumped wrestler ripping off his vest with an accompanying, raucous, almost anthemesque poodle-rock number which, whilst a bit tacky, certainly makes you sit up and pay attention"
I couldn't agree more!
When me and my brother rented this back in the summer of '94, I immediately took a liking to the big guy, Titanic Tim
He had two charging attacks that I derived immense pleasure out of
Boot to the face
Any time I connected on the former I yelled "GET OUT OF THE WAY!"
The latter -- "MAKE ROOM!"
Hey, I was 10, and it was more fun that way, OK? ;-)
"GET OUT OF THE WAY!" "MAKE ROOM!!"
There are 8 wrestlers in the single mode, 10 in VS. The text profiling each combatant below is courtesy of Super Play (also note their original Japanese names -- in Japan this game is known as Muscle Bomber)
THE SLAM MASTERS
Fighting game tradition dictates two things: that there's a good all-rounder, and that he/she will have another fighter, almost identical to themselves. Have a guess where Zalazof fits into things
A shorter-haired version of Zalazof. The only real difference we could find is that Colt's slam goes forwards, not back. Said to be a close relative of Guile out of SF II!
A glitter-spitting Oriental bloke with a penchant for fancy costumes and weird moves including one whereby he grabs his opponent by the neck! A silly hair-do, but a tough little cookie
Stinger's the closest thing you've got to a traditional English wrestler, with a Kendo Nagasaki-ish face mask and his not-really-up- to-American-size-standards- really stature
Great corkscrew, though
Metro City mayor- turned-vigilante has reverted to his original trade. He brings with him a Zangief-like killer 360° spin, a frame packed with rippling sinew and that very suspicious moustache
Sheep's particularly porky presence belies his formidable power and skill in the ring. And look at that completely original and never-before-seen rapid slap move. Ahem
Gomes has got the most disgusting and violent move in the game. He leaps onto his opponent's shoulders, licks their face, then brutally bites it off (not literally)
A relative of T. Hawk maybe? He certainly has the same chiselled features and girly habit of putting feathers in his hair. He's the big blighter of the game with a breakdance like special move
At the end, you face the two boss characters, Scorp and Jumbo, or in Japan... Astro and Kimala
But who are these guys? Let's take a closer look, shall we...
Traditional wrestling moves are here, in addition to the unrealistic wild special moves (more on those later). Good ole fashion wrestling moves include: inverted atomic drop, gorilla press slam and the ever-delightful Tombstone Piledriver (the finishing move of one, The Undertaker, see WWF-SNES Connection for more on the "Deadman") These moves can only be done by certain wrestlers, though. All in all, the moveset is limited
And if wrestling finesse isn't your style, various weapons littered outside the ring provide grounds for serious mayhem. Unfortunately, this is only available in the 1-on-1 mode. Also, in the battle royal, it should be noted you can't leave the ring at all... shame, but let's observe the powers of a table when put to proper use...
Ouch! Table is good for up to two hits. That jagged edge is bad news!
Also available: metal boxes, chairs, beer bottles, etc.
Although it seems Stingray is struggling to lift it, he in fact gets the last laugh
And that rivalry Gunloc and Biff share? Check out the intensity...
"HA! I got you now buddy!"
Well I'll be damn. He must be a relative of Guile after all...
YOWZERS! Gunloc finishes the table off (and quite possibly Biff as well!)
Each wrestler has a special move or two. By applying various SF II like commands in addition to Mortal Kombat tap tap presses, you can unleash these wicked maneuvers...
Ugh, Scorp is a cheap computer, and seemingly pulls this off at the drop of a hat. Very unfair. As they say, it ain't the flight that hurts... it's the landing
El Stingray has a sick headsmashing dive. The opponent is forced into a daze as the little guy jumps high in the air, crashing down with all his might
Rasta gets one for good measure!
And with a simple Hadoken motion, you'll produce this effective (as well as cheap) Jalapeno Comet
Grater's special move is pure destruction. He may look like a dumb ox, but even he comprehends the basic fundamentals of gravity, as will Haggar, much to his dismay!
Good grief! Grater flicks his victim with incredible english -- they plummet straight on their head, causing a huge BOOM! explosion on the mat... impressive every bit as it is effective!
Don't worry Mike Haggar fans (I know you're out there), he gets his revenge as he spins out in a blind drunken rage!
In the single match, quotes are posed at the VS. screen
And of course, taunting win phases are in there too. Hey, it's Capcom
Recall that Nintendo of America loosened up during this time period. If this were 1993 you wouldn't see all those cuts on Gunloc there
The meat of the game though is the four-player tag team turmoil mode. I'll use my favorite bloke, and I'll take Rey Mysterio as my partner
Our opponents for this fine evening...
Before the match, each wrestler (or team) storms to the ring, complete with their own individual tune, billows of dry ice, flickering lasers -- the works. It's fun to watch once, but after that you'll probably omit it every time. Still, nice detail
Opening the match, I chop away at Haggar as if he were wood... or something
Jumbo rams his size-22 boot down my throat
Allow me to return the favor, fatso....
"GET OUT OF THE WAY!"
Oof! Jumbo lives up to his name Meanwhile, my poor diminutive partner eats a fist that's bigger than his own head!
It's a close ball game, but this cranium-crunching brain buster just pulled the odds in my favor
Oh my, it's a reverse Russian Legsweep!
My team is pulling way into the lead now. As I choke out Jumbo, Stingray executes a well-placed cartwheel kick! Talk about tag team cohesion! Working as one! Like a well-oiled unit! Like Batman and Robin! Like Starsky and Hutch! Like Peanut butter and jelly! Like... like... well, you get the idea don't cha?
[Oh? He's done now? -Ed.]
Haggar is gassed! Look at the strength of my guy! "That's my dawg!" as they say
[So you roll like dat, huh -Ed.]
Haggar never quits, the stubborn bastard. Here's a back suplex for my troubles
Jumbo catches me in a giant swing. He can also spew a poisonous mist. Meanwhile, Stingray goes for the kill....
[I'll refrain from a really distasteful joke... -Ed.]
WHEN REASON FAILS, FORCE PREVAILS!
Slam Masters is best when played with four players. Pretty obvious statement, but it takes a huge hit when you're by yourself, moreso than other four-player games, in my opinion. EGM said it best when one of their reviewers said, "This is awesome for parties and gatherings, but not one I'd want to sit down and play all day"
I had a blast with this game in '94. Me, my bro and our friends would all rotate having a go. I played it recently, for the 1st time in over a dozen years. It's aged well, but I'm reminded of how limited this game is. Yeah, it IS an arcade port, but you wish Capcom would have thrown in some extra modes. It's simply a straight port. What you see is what you get. This worked fine with Street Fighter II, but Saturday Night Slam Masters is the CLASSIC arcade game. By that I mean it's a hell of a lot of fun to play for a short go every time you stop by the arcade hall, but in longer spurts the game's flaws really creep up through the surface
Super Play put it best:
"It's totally atmospheric and, along with the over-the-top glitziness of each of the 10 fighters, it makes for an entertaining game to watch, if never totally satisfying to play. The problem is it's very much an arcade experience. It's fine to stick a couple of quid in for a laugh when you happen to come across it at the Trocadero, for example, but it doesn't have the gameplay or depth backing it. It's just a matter of exchanging punches/kicks for a while, moving in for a spot of grappling, and hoping you get in there first. Sure, it may take a while to learn the special moves, and when to best apply them, but there aren't many, and that's as far as any strategy goes"
I don't mean to, pardon the pun, slam the game, as I do like it. I did then and still do now. In fact, I'm not much disappointed, if at all. I knew coming in what this was. It's not even a real wrestling game. Just play it for a bit and one can see with the various nuances it just doesn't come off as a wrestling game, even though it masquerades around as one. It's more of a free-for-all brawl lacking depth and strategy
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
EGM:7, 7, 7, 8
Super Play: 78%
Fun with four, or fun in spurts. But when you take it for more than what it is, you may come away feeling a bit cheated. Computer can be very cheap, pulling off miracle comebacks and knowing your next move before you even attempt it
Pretty shallow, all in all, but as far as an arcade port goes, a solid job. Extra's would have been much appreciated, but graphics and sound are on par and what you'd expect from Capcom
Gameplay... it's by no means a deep game, so I knocked it down a point or two. It's just a matter of hanging in there and hoping for the best
Overall, it's a great arcade translation, but it was best played in spurts with four. Same applies here