Rock 'N Wrestle is written by the authors of Way Of The Exploding Fist. Tony Hetherington grapples with the latest sporting challenge from Melbourne House.
You are Gorgeous Greg. The blonde hero that wants to be the world champion wrestler. Unfortunately nine of the meanest and nastiest characters in the world stand in your way, and you have to fight them all.
Before you make your bid you will have to learn the 25 possible moves that are all joystick-controlled and a few tricks to give you a fighting chance of surviving in the ring.
Rock 'N Wrestle can be played by either one or two players. In the two player game, each contestant selects one of the wrestlers and has a straight contest with the first to get two falls the winner.
If you are playing against the computer, you have to take on and beat each of the nine top ranked wrestlers over three minutes bouts.
If you win a contest you're in the ring with the next wrestler before the crowds cheer have died down.
It is somewhat unlikely that you will do this in your first attempt so points are awarded to you for completed moves so you can follow your progress.
Before you can leap in the ring and start grappling with the world's best wrestlers you will have to learn and practise the 25 moves that are available to you.
Each is selected by pushing the joystick in only four directions with each move leading to a selection of others.
As in Exploding Fist, the best way to learn the moves is to set up a two player game and, by using only one joystick, practise on an opponent that isn't trying to win.
Where Rock 'N Wrestle differs considerably from Fist, and why no player can assume he'll soon be world champion, is that the action takes place in the whole ring and not just in a straight line. Therefore your opponent won't just strike from in front or behind but from both sides as well.
Consequently, the result of your joystick will depend on the direction in which you are facing.
For example, pulling the joystick back while facing your opponent up the screen will result in a kick but will become a forearm jolt if you are facing to the right of the screen.
This is at first confusing but soon becomes second nature as you track your wrestler round the ring. The way the moves lead from one to the other is also well organised and allows you to follow the action without reaching for the instructions mid-flight.
For example, instead of kicking, punching or kneeing your opponent when standing by him you can attempt to grab him in a front headlock, full nelson or armlock depending on which way round he's facing. Once you've got him in your grips, you can either lift him about your head for an aeroplane spin or body smash or deliver a quick headbutt or devastating back-breaking drop on your knee or perhaps even throw him over your shoulder onto the canvas. When he's on the canvas you can deliver a quick kick in the ribs, an elbow drop, attempt to pin him down for a count of three (a fall) or you can even climb on the top of the ropes and leap on him from a great height.
My favourite move is the arm spin where you grab your opponent's arm and spin him around, faster and faster, in a circle until you let him fly off into one of the ropes. Then all you have to do is wait for the rebound when you can deliver a chop to the throat, flying body press or dropkick that will usually end the bout.
Frantic journey waggling is never far away from any sports simulation and Rock 'N Wrestle is no exception since this can get you out of a lot of trouble. In fact, whenever your opponent has his hands on you, you should start waggling frantically as this might get you free.
Each wrestler begins each bout at full strength which is displayed as a line of marks at the bottom of the screen. These are reduced as each blow and throw take their toll. Although a wrestler can continue, and even win, if this reaches zero but it does mean he's weaker and liable to be thrown around a lot more.
Consequently, it's a good idea to soften up your opponents with a few kicks and headbutts before you attempt a throw or spin as it's almost impossible to get a fully fit wrestler in a spin.
Once you've perfected your moves, you're ready to step into the ring and challenge for the title.
The opponents that stand in your way are almost as varied as the moves themselves. Each has his own speciality moves and an incredibly dubious background. However, they all have one thing in common. They don't want anyone called Gorgeous Greg as world champion.
Your first battle is with Redneck McCoy and his skill at the atomic drop that could end your bid for the title in 30 seconds flat. Next on the agenda is a headbutting fanatic called Molotov Mick followed by the youngest son of the most junior wife of a wealthy Sheik. The aptly named Angry Abdul likes to make up for the fact that he's a long way from the money by bashing your head against the canvas.
Don't be fooled by your next opponent's pink leotard as L.A. Bruce is no sissy. This is something you'll realise when he picks you up, spins you around and then slams you into the canvas.
Your halfway bout on your title bid is against the Missouri Breaker who builds his strength by throwing cows around his ranch. Next is a football hooligan that loves to put the boot in called Vivian, an Apache brave called Flying Eagle who loves to fly from the ropes to your head, the masked Bad Barney who loves to hear his opponents choke and finally the champion, Lord Toff.
Each bout takes three minutes and to win you must score a fall, otherwise your opponent wins by default. Against Lord Toff there is no time limit and only one winner.
After several late nights, a sore thumb and a broken joystick I am beginning to grasp some of the tactics needed to become world champion and get a good score.
In the initial attempts points are important as a measure of your success particularly since the higher points are scored for the more involved moves that will eventually win you the title. For example, a kick scores 100 points where as a pin can score 1,000. In fact, it's fairly easy to despatch Redneck McCoy with a few well-timed kicks and then a throw. The same tactics wouldn't work against Lord Toff. So it's important to get the practice in against the "easier" opponents.
The opposite is then recommended when you are in a position to make a serious title bid since then you should despatch each opponent with the minimum effort since you have nine fights to win without a single break.
Finally as a general rule you should keep on the move to make it as difficult as possible for your opponent to get his hands on you. If he does, waggle frantically until you're free then move quickly away. This is important as it is easy to leave yourself open for the same attack and it is unlikely that the computer will tire before you do.
Timing is the crucial factor when you go on the attack as a missed timed dropkick or Turnbuckle fly (jump from the ropes) could leave you out for the count.
Rock 'N Wrestle is a superb sequel to Exploding Fist which I find more enjoyable than the sport it simulates.
The variety of moves and opponents will present even the seasoned player with a new challenge every game.
The graphics are excellent and the package is completed by rock music that accompanies your road to the world title.
Rock 'N Wrestle costs £9.95 and is an essential addition to all Commodore 64 owners collections.