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Monday, February 24, 2014

NES Replay: Tag Team Wrestling

Developer: SAS Sakata
Publisher: Data East
Released: October 1986
Name one good fighting game for the NES. Go on, I'll wait.

How come the NES didn't have good fighting games? There were a couple of reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that the NES simply didn't have the ability to make that many calculations so quickly. That's so important in a fighting game, because without the ability to allocate some programming to AI, the AI either needs to cheat like mad or be brain-dead.

That didn't stop developers from trying to make fighting games work on the NES. In the first wave of third-party games, there were two wrestling games. Between the two of them, the absolutely terrible M.U.S.C.L.E. was the better of the two. That should tell you how bad Data East's Tag Team Wrestling is.

It's terrible for two big reasons. The first reason is the same one that plagued M.U.S.C.L.E.: Tag Team Wrestling cheats constantly. The second the computer player is within a pixel of your character, it'll grab you and do something horrible to you. You don't even have a chance to defend yourself before you're thrown against the ropes or somehow injured.

Tag Team Wrestling is also awful because it's ugly as sin. If you've been following this series, you'll know I'm not in the habit of picking on 8-bit graphics. If done right, they're fantastic. If done wrong, they make you want to murder yourself with a George Foreman Grill to the face. Tag Team Wrestling falls into the latter category. The characters are so indistinct that half the time you can't tell which character is which. Of special note, the walking animation is the worst I've ever seen. Just look at this:



Who decided that the characters should walk that way? Nobody walks like that. When something as obviously awful as that gets into a game, the only explanation can be laziness. There's simply no other way that someone sees that walking animation and says, "Yes. That is how a human being walks." Someone saw that and said, "That's good enough."

However, one good thing came out of Tag Team Wrestling. In 2000, some animators were trying to think of a name for a villain in their new web series. Finally, they pulled a name from Tag Team Wrestling:



And history was made. So that's one good thing out of all the bad stuff. Just the same as every cloud has a silver lining, I guess you could say that every cartridge has gold connectors, even if you have to clean all the corrosion off of them first.

Final Rating: