Chiyonofuji no Ooichou - Famicom (1990)


Chiyonofuji no Ooichou

Chiyonofuji no Ooichou

Chiyonofuji no Ooichou

Also known as "Sendai no Tomio no Daiginnan", this was eveloped by Arc, the same company which eventually went on to create Guilty Gear nearly a decade later. It's quite excellent and innovative, given how the meters work. The lower meter is a standard endurance meter that raises the probability of you being eliminated by a move as it lowers. The upper meter is quite different in this game. If you hold Down during a match the upper meter will quickly rise, and if it goes past its limit it will go back to zero; moves can only be executed if your meter is higher than your opponentís. This innovation of multiple meters to dictate elements of gameplay would become standardized in most sumo wrestling games hence. It also includes a much-appreciated tutorial, showing how each move is performed both in and out of a grapple and gives you a CPU controlled opponent with low level AI to practice these moves against.

From the intro screen that is modeled after traditional Japanese paintings, to the chibi-ish character designs, to the music, Chiyonofuji no Ooichou is presented in a very nice, if spartan, fashion. Especially nice is the character creation screen where you can customize your character's face. There are many eyes, noses, and mouths to choose from, so you can screw around making goofy looking characters.


Chiyonofuji no Ooichou

Oozumou Spirit - Super Famicom (1992)


Oozumou Spirit

Oozumou Spirit

Oozumou Spirit

 

Although this was developed by Takara, who most people recognize because of their horrid ports of SNK games, Oozumou Spirit is easily the peak of Sumo games. Its gameplay is rather different and very difficult to figure out on your own, so hereís an explanation:

The most important thing to learn is the meters. There are three meters in this game which take constant attention and modification. The top meter is endurance, which cannot be affected by the player. The middle meter is for special moves, which acts similarly to the special move meter in Chiyonofuji no Ooichou The bottom meter is for resistance to your opponent's moves; if this gets low you are more likely to be eliminated by your opponent's moves. This meter is also charged with Y, but can not go past its limit and will change very slowly. Executing a move will deplete both the middle and bottom meters.

Every button here is assigned to certain kinds of attacks. The Y button, like I said, is for meter charging. The X button is for moves that drive the opponent back. The L and R buttons are for slapping the hell out of your opponent. The B and A buttons are for throws. Pushing the A button will modify your grip on your opponent's belt. Certain moves are only possible if you have a two handed grip on your opponent's belt. You can tell what kind of grip you have via a display showing two hands. If they are both fists, then a two handed grip has been established. I am not certain if a one hand grip changes anything or not.

Lastly, at the beginning of each match your middle meter will be going crazy. Tap the Y button to stop it and determine your meter's starting position. After each tournament you will be rewarded points for character statistic leveling.

Besides than its amazing gameplay Oozumou Tamashii is fairly well-presented. There are different character profile images for each character. There are nice looking tournament intro screens. It has a straight forward, no-nonsense visual aesthetic. All of it is well applied and naturally works for this kind of game. Itís soundtrack, lightly inspired by traditional Japanese music, is excellent and a few MIDI effects that resemble noises that would actually be heard in a real match. The music will change for matches against opponents of certain ranks. These other tracks are a bit threatening, effectively conveying, before a match even starts, that this guy is going to be more difficult than the others.


Oozumou Spirit


Oozumou Spirit


Oozumou Spirit

Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban - Super Famicom (1992)


Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban

Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban

Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban

 

Of the sumo wrestling games for the Super Famicom, Namcoís entry is the most appealing to casual gamers because of its large variety of moves. There are two meters in Super Oozumou Nessen Ooichi Ban. The first meter is a self-regenerating meter for executing attacks. Health also regenerates here.

What really stands out about the gameplay is that it keeps the player so attentive. Available moves are specific to whether or not your character is in a grapple, and when in a grapple specific to what their arm placement is and whether or not they have a grip on their opponent's belt. Your opponent can modify these things as well, so it takes constant attention and modification to achieve a victory. Challenge is ever present here as well. The best computer-controlled opponents are never easy, even after reaching Ozeki. They seem to have impeccable records every tournament, making it a challenge to finish with the best record.

The presentation of this game is excellent. The audio is nice, with more traditional Japanese-inspired songs. The graphics are outstanding. The characters are merely pallete swaps, but everything in the game is well animated and aesthetically pleasing. This makes for an excellent starting point for would-be sumo game players.


Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban


Super Oozumou - Nessen Ooichi Ban

Tsuppari Oozumou: Risshinshusse Hen - Super Famicom (1993)


Japanese Cover

Tsuparri Oozumou: Risshinshusse Hen

Tsuparri Oozumou: Risshinishusse Hen

 

Tecmo perfected their sumo wrestling series on Super Famicom with the 1993 release of the sequel to Tsuppari Oozumo. At the startup screen the first option will begin a tournament. The second option followed by the first and then the second will start a elimination match against the computer. In this mode when the health meter is depleted you will select a wrestler from your pre-chosen stock of five and then start where you left off against whoever defeated your prior wrestler. This mode has three levels to compete in. The beach level looks the best, but the level on top of the Statue of Liberty, which brings Super Dodgeball to mind, allows you to throw the other wrestler off!

After choosing to begin a tournament, selecting your character from the four available, and naming, you will begin the first tournament. The gameplay from the original is more or less retained. Your health meter will no longer regenerate, however. After a wrestler's health meter is depleted they might be eliminated if they are hit again. Very simple, very easy to learn, very approachable. Like in the original, character statistic leveling is automatic and a skill can be chosen to improve in after each tournament. The only difference is that movement is restricted to one plane. This is no big deal, as movement up or down on the screen in the original did not really do anything.

Audio and graphics are fantastic, and appropriate for both the theme and humor of the game. The novelty of seeing your opponent, or more likely your own character, sent flying into the air to fall back to the ring and be pancaked against the ground might not last long, but itís still fun to watch. I especially like seeing the anthropomorphic rabbit from the original back reffing the matches. The craziest visuals, however, are the lightning and when a wrestler will yank off the other's belt leaving him bare-ass naked!


Tsuparri Oozumou: Risshinshusse Hen


Tsuparri Oozumou: Risshinshusse Hen

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