Sunday, January 29

Ready to Rumble

Rumble Roses XX's new Create-a-Babe mode.

The first Rumble Roses game on the PS2 was a mixed affair. Obviously taking a stab at the niche established by the rival Dead or Alive series, the titillation-heavy all-female wrestling game from Konami had it's ups and downs. For one thing, it had a cast of female grapplers who fit a wide variety of fetishes and persuasions. You had the usuals (bubbly anime heroines, blonde cowgirls and S&M dominatrixes) and quite a few unusuals (megalomaniacal doctors, slutty judo champions) in the roster, with good and evil personas. As wrestling games go, the multitude of holds and grapples were perfect for putting the female characters into some pretty compromising situations. There was even some DOAX-type fanservice in the form of voyeuristic Watch Modes and even some iffy mudwrestling.
Unfortunately, even with all the eye candy and fan service, the game had limited appeal in terms of gameplay modes and variety. There simply wasn't enough game to get in this title. So while it provided a bit of bang, there was little to come back to after the initial play.

Well, a couple of years later, Konami is still at it with their DOA-killer, now aiming for the Xbox360 next generation console with Rumble Roses XX. Now, before you get any ideas, the 'XX' stands for tag team play, not for anything lewd (right).

Aside from the obvious assumption that the game will surely look tons better than the PS2 game (each character model will consist of 50,000 polygons, making for some very smooth and curvy characters), the game will rev up with new modes and gameplay elements. For one thing, there will now be two-three and four way fights, playable on or offline. This should make for some really interesting tag-team or triple threat matches.
What will really please creative types will be the new Character Edit/Creation Mode which will allow players to make up their own wrestling babe from scratch or edit/modify the existing 40 characters. In terms of editing, this entails everything from giving your babe more muscles, more boobage (yes, you read that right), changing hair and skin color, applying makeup or switching wardrobes. It seems that Character Creation is THE mode to have for next-gen fighters (except for snobby DOA). XboxLive users will be able to show off their Frankenstein-esque creations online. Don't worry though; developer Akari Uchida guarantees that you cannot create monsters or ugly wrestlers with his game- they'll always be babes. Wow.

Speaking of the 40 characters, there actually are just 10 base characters, each with three additional personas/versions; there's Face (good), Heel (evil) and the new Superstar versions of Face/Heel. The Superstar versions are flashier, stronger and more fab versions of the wrestlers, with all-new moves and over-the-top ring entrances. As before, the end boss seems to be the mechanical madame, Madame X. No Story Mode this time around, but with all the new stuff, we won't be missing the terrible dialogue or weird plotlines.
Also added will be a new 'Queen's Match', which seems to replace the now-missing Mudwrestling Mode. Losers in QM will have to go through DOAX-like penalty games, which are meant to embarass or put them into a titillatingly humiliating experience- from doing the limbo to bouncing on skippy balls or dancing some lewd dance. Weird but oddly compelling.

THis game certainly isn't for the easily offended or the weak of heart; it's really beyond being suggestive- the characters are just as good at being wrestlers as they are exotic dancers, it seems, and the game really doesn't care about depicting females in a pretty chauvanistic way (athletic as they may be, the girls act all girly and prissy in other situations). It's got it's own code and humor, but safe to say guys should keep this hidden away when offendable female friends are in the vicinity.

Behind all the tons of fanservice though, once again I hope they do the basic steps right, by putting in great wrestling gameplay and animation. When all is said and done, it's the wrestling and grappling that will keep this game in play as much as the T&A. Really. Well, we'll see when the game comes out in a couple of months in March 2006 on the Xbox360.

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