Having played the PS2 version of Rumble Roses, I expected the newly released Xbox 360 version, Rumble Roses XX, to be an over the top wrestling game. It was around the time that my character was tickling a defeated opponent on the beach with a giant hand on a stick that I realized the game exceeded my expectations in that regard. Quite simply, there is nothing subtle about RRXX.
RRXX is a wrestling game with a cast made up entirely of half naked females. There is all the stereotypical fantasy types ? a nurse, a schoolteacher, a cowgirl, the teen pop star, a dominatrix, a devil woman, etc... Some may be put off, or offended by the over the top, in your face sexuality found in the game. However, this is a wrestling title, and when has anything in that area ever been subtle? If there ever was a place for a ridiculously cheesy game, it is in this genre. So for those of you that enjoy wrestling games, but are tired of watching sweaty guys grapple in the ring, of if you?re a gamer who is in touch with his inner 13 year old boy, then perk up your ears because Rumble Roses may be a game for you.
Rumble Roses XX is not simply a graphically updated version of the PS2 game. There are quite a few added gameplay types (such as tag matches and 3 way battles), an online component, several more costumes, collectables, a new photo mode, a create a wrestler mode (or edit an existing character), and more venues. While those were all great additions, Konami curiously took away the story mode. Sure, the story didn?t make a lot of sense ? it was mainly about a girl who tries to rescue her brainwashed sister and ends up fighting her dead mother (who has been turned into a robot) ? but the wacky story fit in perfectly with the rest of the game.
Without the story, your task in the single player mode is to simply unlock a massive number of characters and special items. Every character has a face (good) personality and a heel (bad) side. At the start of the game you are given one version of the character. If you successfully raise the popularity of each wrestler, you will unlock the opposite personality. I found it much easier complete this task with the face wrestlers, as all you are required to do is win the match without doing anything considered illegal (like using weapons). The heel wrestlers are a little trickier as you have to win the match and fight dirty in the process to get any popularity boost. So, with several characters and items to unlock you?re sure to get several hours out of the single player game, even though it is devoid of any story.
In between matches there are a few additional activities to distract you. New to this version is a create a wrestler mode. You can customize everything from the costume to the wrestler?s body proportions. After winning a few matches you can purchase/unlock the camera at the shop and take pictures of your wrestler (or any character) in suggestive poses. Those pictures can be uploaded onto Xbox Live, where you can download and view other player's pictures.
Another new feature is the Queens Match, in which the loser is humiliated by being tickled with a giant hand on a stick, made to jump rope, strike a sexy pose, clean herself like a kitten, etc? It?s an event that is both hilarious and creepy all at the same time.
Of course, all this glitz and over the top presentation means nothing if there isn?t some competent gameplay attached. RRXX has a decent wrestling engine at its core, but it is not without a few problems.
The main controls consist of a strike button and grab button which can be combined with the directional pad to vary the types of attacks. The type of grab also is dependent on where you are standing in relation to your opponent. At the top of the screen is a finishing move gauge - when you fill the meter up you can pull off a ?killer move? or in special circumstances a ?lethal move?. There is another gauge on screen called the ?humiliation game?. Certain moves will cause the opponent to become humiliated ? fill up the gauge and you can pull off a ?humiliation move?. There is also a special ?Double X Move? that can be pulled off with your tag team partner when both players have a full finishing move meter.
Back from the original title is the ability to damage specific body parts. Keep attacking your opponents head, or putting them in a head submission hold and you will weaken that body part until they can?t take any more and must tap out. You can also utilize weapons ranging from a guitar to a whip. Some characters - usually the heels - start with a weapon, but you can also find them hidden at locations in each arena.
The main problem with the gameplay is that the matches can become repetitive. While every wrestler is a little different, and has different moves, you?ll likely find a few moves that work for you and stick to those. Another problem is that there are times that you don?t feel in total control. Often you?ll attempt to pull of a specific grapple, only to do something completely different. This problem is caused by asking a single button to do every grab move, and the fact the type of grab depends on where you are standing in relation to your opponent as well as where you are in the ring (different grabs will occur near the ropes). However, despite the problems, it is an effective engine, and there are some fun finishing moves.
RRXX received a massive upgrade in visuals when compared to the PS2 version, but that by itself doesn?t say a lot. Ultimately they are very hit and miss. The character models are well done, and they are the bright spot of the visuals. I was slightly disappointed by the arenas and background visuals. The arenas are largely boring, and you won?t find yourself admiring the scenery. While the elimination of the story mode means you won?t be watching any cut-scenes, there are quite a few entrance movies (every girl has two) that are rendered with an in game engine. The entrance movies range from hilariously awful to really lame and boring and after watching them once or twice it?ll just be something to skip over to get to the match.
There isn?t much to brag about in the audio department. There is some really, really bad elevator type music to be found, as well as some extremely schlocky pop/rock. Most of the voice acting is fair, but the announcer is incredibily grating.
The bottom line is that Rumble Roses XX does exactly what it sets out to do, and for that I give it a passing grade. However, it?s definitely not a game for everyone, and it all comes down to whether an all girl wrestling game wrapped in a soft core porn package sounds appealing to you. It?s one of those rare games where you know exactly what you are getting before you play it. You simply need to trust your instinct on this one.