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2D Sumo Wrestling Games

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Page 1:
The Grand Sumo
Shusse Ōzumō
Tsuppari Ōzumō
Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō

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SD Battle Ōzumō
Chiyonofuji no Ōichō
Ōzumō Spirit
Super Ōzumō

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Tsuppari: Heiseiban
Tsuppari: Risshinshusse Hen
Wakataka Ōzumō
Aa Harimanada

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by ZZZ - August 7, 2007

Very few people in the West are likely to have played a video game based on the sport of sumo wrestling (or Ōzumō, as it's actually called in Japan). There have been approximately twenty games based on this sport, most of which are 2D games made during the 8 and 16-bit eras.

How do sumo wrestling games play? Really, really well. They are mostly fast-paced and they all require the player's constant attention for any kind of victory. The closest that most of these get to any other genre would be like a grappling based fighter without hit levels or jumping combined with a wrestling game. Bizarre? Yes, but kick-ass. Besides being different from other kinds of games, they are mostly quite different from each other. Sometimes severely.

To win a real sumo wrestling match, a wrestler needs to move their opponent out of the ring or get them to make contact with the ground with anything other than the flats of their feet. Matches are fought as part of tournaments with fifteen matches each. Whichever wrestler has the best record at the end of each tournament is declared the winner. In the event of a tie there is a tie breaker. A wrestler's belt can be grabbed to throw them to the ground or to drive them back out of the ring. If a wrestler finishes a tournament with a losing record they will be lowered in rank. If they finish a tournament with a winning record they will gain a higher rank. The goal in most of these games is to gain the highest possible rank. In the real sport people will sometimes hurl their seat cushions into the air if there is a upset, or after a match that decides a tournament, or things like that. So in these games, if an Ozeki or Yokozuna is defeated the player might be treated to a flying seat cushion animation.

Just for reference, Ozeki is the second highest rank. After it is reached the wrestler cannot be demoted as long as they don't obtain two consecutive losing records. Yokozuna is the highest rank, reached after an Ozeki does exceptionally well for a certain period of time. In these games and in reality, it generally, though not neccassarily, requires back-to-back tournament wins while ranked as Ozeki to make Yokozuna. After that, the player will have beaten the game.

Shusse Ōzumō (Arcade)


The Grand Sumo / Ōzumō (大相撲) - Arcade (1984)

Flyer

So this game got overlooked when this article was published almost seven years ago, and unfortunately we don't have a sumo expert available at the moment, so just to describe it in brief: The Grand Sumo was made for Data East's failed cassette-based arcade system. Being released almost at the same time as Shusse Ōzumō (the magazine AM Life first covered it just one month earlier), it uses very similar mechanics, although it seems even more basic. It also looks and sounds very plain in comparison.
- addendum by Sam Derboo, May 3, 2014

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The Grand Sumo (Arcade)

The Grand Sumo (Arcade)


Shusse Ōzumō (出世大相撲) - Arcade, X68000 (1984)

Artwork

Besides being one of the first to bring this sport to video games, Technos' 1984 arcade game also established the genre's standard method of executing moves by holding the joystick in a direction and pushing the attack button, and the equally standardized method of initiating a grapple by colliding with your opponent.

Being both an arcade game and an early experiment in translating sumo wrestling to video games, there a few major differences between this and most of what was to follow. Rather than fighting in a tournament, you fight matches in sets of three and must win at least two of them to progress. During grapples, a meter appears on screen, and to execute a in-grapple move you have to tap Attack rapidly, making the meter escalate, then input a move when the meter reaches its highest point. Winning a grapple is far too difficult, as it takes some major league button-mashing, and it's practically impossible to execute moves with the same consistency as the computer. Luckily, you have a "power up" stock, to make things easier. By pushing the second button on the arcade machine your character becomes much more powerful for about a second or two, giving a big boost to the meter during a grapple.

Despite having way too much button mashing, obscene difficulty, and far too few moves, Shusse Ōzumō is a moderately enjoyable game worth a play or two. It might lack the fantastic presentation that later games would have, but its music and graphics should be fairly charming if you're into the sprite art and chip music of the early arcade era.

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Shusse Ōzumō (Arcade)

Shusse Ōzumō (Arcade)



Tsuppari Ōzumō (つっぱり大相撲) - Famicom, Mobile, Wii, 3DS (1987)

Cover

Tecmo started off their Sumo trilogy here. It would be outpaced by its progeny, but Tsuppari Ōzumō is still a great game and among the better introductions to this genre. Its gameplay formed the model for most of what would come later in the genre. It introduced a system where a health meter determines vulnerability to the opponent's attacks. It goes down when you are attacked, and rises slightly if you execute a move yourself. You're not immediately eliminated if it's depleted, but the lower it goes, the more likely you become to be eliminated by your opponent's attacks.

Tsuppari Ōzumō (Famicom)

Every move is executed by holding a button and tapping a direction or by merely tapping a button. Whether or not characters are in a grapple will determine what certain direction and button combinations do. There strangely is the ability to move in and out of the screen like in a wrestling game, but it doesn't actually seem to do anything.

Besides having solid gameplay, there's a refreshingly light-hearted approach to the presentation. The audio is upbeat and the graphics are humoristic, with over-the-top animations when the characters are defeated. For example, the losing wrestler might be hurled completely out of the ring. When paused, the game shows a guy sweeping the ring, and matches are refereed by an anthropomorphic rabbit.

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Tsuppari Ōzumō (Famicom)

Tsuppari Ōzumō (Famicom)

Tsuppari Ōzumō (Famicom)


Comparison Screenshots


Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō (寺尾のどすこい大相撲) - Famicom (1989)

Cover

There is really very little to say about this Jaleco offering. It's about as simplistic as they get, containing no real innovations or outstanding gameplay elements. The meter replenishes slightly only when you successfully execute certain attacks. However, it's not executed quite as well as most of these other games covered here. Attempting a move during a grapple, your wrestler's animation will sometimes show him failing to execute the move, resulting in slower gameplay than something like this should have. Also, it's pretty hard and there is less strategy than in other sumo wrestling games, so it's also more repetitive.

The game has a standard tournament mode and a "story mode" of sorts, where you move your wrestler over a map fighting battles at random or at a few locations represented by varying sprites. One would expect this to be a sumo wrestling RPG, but there are really no RPG elements at all. Instead you are merely move across a map screen between fights. Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō isn't a bad game, but not a great one either. While it also lacks in presentation, graphics and music are at least serviceable.

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Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō (Famicom)

Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō (Famicom)



<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
The Grand Sumo
Shusse Ōzumō
Tsuppari Ōzumō
Terao no Dosukoi Ōzumō

Page 2:
SD Battle Ōzumō
Chiyonofuji no Ōichō
Ōzumō Spirit
Super Ōzumō

Page 3:
Tsuppari: Heiseiban
Tsuppari: Risshinshusse Hen
Wakataka Ōzumō
Aa Harimanada

Back to the Index