ZX Computing

Rock 'N Wrestle
By Melbourne House
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #27

All this violence and not a Ninja in sight - Melbourne House are set to pummel you into submission with this grappling package

Rock 'N Wrestle

Melbourne House with Way Of The Exploding Fist and Fighting Warrior have been the trendsetters for combat games and Rock 'N Wrestle is yet another simulation that seems destined to enhance their reputation.

There are no mystical depths to plumb, no other aim except annihilating all opposition with a bewildering variety of wrestling moves. You play Gorgeous George, the tenth ranked contender for the world title who must headbutt, forearm smash and dropkick his way to the top.

As with Melbourne House's previous combat games, the different moves and combinations of oves are initially very tricky to master and playing in a two player mode against a stationary opponent is very necessary to sharpen up your repetoire of devastating blows.

Rock 'N Wrestle

There is a keyboard option for both one player and two player mode but this could cause fingers to become severely knotted during a difficult bout.

Altogether, there are 25 separate moves and holds. Moving around the ring simply requires joystick control. A single trigger press will give you some softening up options such as a sharp lift of the knee, forearm smash and kick. But it is the grab (pushing the joystick forward and pressing the fire button) that will lead you on to the more spectacular (and satisfying) moves.

Once you've grabbed your opponent, one option is to spin him around the ring and throw him onto the ropes. On the rebound, pressing the fire button and moving the joystick will produce a nice range of flatteners such as the body check, dropkick and flying body press.

If you grab your opponent from the front it gives you the chance to inflict a headbutt or a lift which again gives you a choice of masochistic options - a body slam or pile driver with an aeroplane spin for starters if required.

Grabbing your opponent from behind opens up the possibility of a backbreaker or 'Atomic drop' (dropping your opponent feet first onto the canvas). When you get some of these moves working smoothly Rock 'N Wrestle is a joy to play and the complexity of moves you can make gives the game plenty of mileage. Due to the number of movements included, the graphics do seem to be under strain and realism of the wrestlers seems to have been sacrificed in order to cram in as many moves as possible. On balance, this was probably as having well depicted wrestlers with fewer moves would not have made a better game and in the end there are few, if any, of the well-known wrestling holds omitted.

There are no knockouts, two pin falls are needed to secure victory and when you are playing against the computer you could well find yourself pinned before you've made a move. Trying to escape a hold depends on your strength level but you are not entirely helpless and furiously jiggling the joystick can force your opponent to break the hold.

Overall, the furious action of Rock 'N Wrestle more than makes up for less than startling graphics and almost non-existent sound and if you are bored with martial arts games it makes a good alternative for venting aggression. If you are a grappling connoisseur, it's definitely for you and even if you aren't it may still exert an addictive hold over you.