The Signs and Posters of The Evil Within

As I played through Chapter 10 of The Evil Within, I found myself drawn to all the weird little odd and ends the team at Tango Gameworks inserted into the background.   The textures are a little on the low-res side, but you can tell that a lot of care was put into the game’s environments.  It’s easy to forget how much work goes into these games.

I’ll be posting a full writeup on the game later this week.

All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua: Rise! Dolphin! (Part 4)

In which Dolphin attains a modicum of fame.

IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3

So Dolphin dropped a match. No big deal. You don’t set the Canadian record in beanballs taken without learning a thing or two about suffering. Dolphin is used to physical abuse, and the way he views it, the neck is the most overrated part of the body anyway. As long as his hips can still swivel, he’ll be fine.

AJPWPaper1

But if there is one thing Dolphin won’t stand for, it’s DISRESPECT. Dolphin can’t read a word of Japanese, but he sure as hell doesn’t see any nice pictures of himself on the cover of this Puroresu Weekry Illistratedu. Who do these fans think they are? He could have easily passed up this gig. He could be back in Durham, Ontario working at his buddy Tad’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He could be halfway to assistant regional manager of the year by now.

But Dolphin knows, deep inside, that the only way to win over the fans is hard work and dedication. Plus he can’t afford airfare back to Canada. Time to get an education in wrestling.

AJPWLevelupAnd by “get an education in wrestling,” Dolphin means “pick wrestling moves randomly from a confusing list he cannot read.” Looks like there’s a DDT in there. That’s a nice move. We’ll figure out the rest as we go. MONTAGE TIME!

Music: The King of the Streets by Lazerhawk.

Dolphin’s opponents, in order:

  • Gary Albright – Gary Albright looked like he crawled right out of the Double Deuce, and wrestled like he read every chapter of How to Kick Ass and Eat Steak.  A legitimate college wrestler and American bad ass, Gary Albright was famous for dropping people on their necks. Thankfully, he settled for dropping Dolphin on his spine, for the most part.
  • Johnny Ace – We already know all about this guy.
  • “Dr. Death” Steve Williams – Gary Albright read every chapter of How to Kick Ass and Eat Steak, but Steve Williams wrote the whole damn book. Also a legitimate amateur wrestler, Steve Williams was a huge star in AJPW. Further, his theme music was by Gene Simmons, which probably makes him even tougher, somehow. Not pictured in the montage: the additional 15 ringpost shots it took to put this behemoth away.

This clean sweep came at a high cost. Fortunately, neck points are strong against the yen in 1997, so Dolphin’s got that cost covered. A few notes:

  • By the time he got midway through his rematch with Johnny Ace, Dolphin’s neck was hanging on by a thread. His neck heals slightly every three matches, but he’s going to be hovering at about 98% neck damage until he develops some reversal skills.
  • Dolphin was able to score a relatively clean win against Albright, but the repeated and continuous attacks to his neck left him with no choice but to resort to the ringpost. Somersault kicks are pretty cool and all, but they’re the last thing a man with neck problems should be doing.  Until he expands his arsenal, that post will be his home away from home.
  • If you look at 4:22, you’ll see the exact moment Dolphin learned how easy it is to pull off ridiculously devastating maneuvers outside of the ring. Once a wrestler’s momentum meter is full, their full arsenal of finishing maneuvers becomes available to them, and for whatever reason, they are about ten times easier to perform on the concrete floor.

So, did Dolphin’s hard work pay off?

AJPWPaper2

That sexy blurred out face in the bottom left corner says “yes.”

NEXT TIME: TOURNAMENT!

 

The Evil Within

In my spare time, I have been slowly plodding through The Evil Within on the PS4.  A lot valid of criticism has been leveled at the game’s performance and artistic design (those black bars are pretty rough) – but I’m happy to report that it really picks up about 5-6 hours in:

If you’ve got time to slog through the early goings, I strongly suggest giving this one a shot. The Evil Within essentially becomes more and more like  Resident Evil 4-2 the longer at goes on – and that is a good thing.  I’ll post more impressions once I’ve finished.

Ganbare Goemon 2

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu [1]
SNES, 1993
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

GoemonMapA few months back, I picked up a stack of random Super Famicom carts at a local flea market here in Philadelphia. One of those games was Ganbare Goemon 2, the sequel to the game released in the US as Legend of the Mystical Ninja.  Ganbare Goemon 2 never made it the States but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its charms.

Unfortunately, what those charms are, I am not precisely sure, because I don’t speak a word of Japanese. I’m actually kind of happy I don’t understand what’s going on, because this game is objectively absurd, and it’s nice to be surprised by complete insanity every once in a while:

I’ll be playing through this one nice and slow, and posting my thoughts as I do so. Stay tuned for more!


 

[1] Translation: “Let’s Go! Goemon 2: Very Strange General Magginesu”

Super Dodge Ball

superdodgeballcoverNekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: PC Bangai Hen
PC Engine, 1990
Developer: KID
Publisher: Naxat Soft

Like many gamers who grew up in the heyday of the NES, I have fond memories of playing Super Dodge Ball.  Tecnhos’ 1988 classic was an early highlight in what I lovingly refer to as the “fake sports” genre; a game that, without licensing any official league, athletes, or actual sport, provided you with all of the thrills of a “legitimate” athletic simulation, with a little extra panache to boot. The NES Super Dodge Ball replicated the excitement, drama, and intrigue of fourth period gym without the need for you to actually get beaned in the head by a rubber ball.

That is, when it wasn’t stuttering, blinking, and running at a snail’s pace every time the action picked up. Super Dodge Ball was a great concept, but actually playing it could be extremely frustrating at times. The game’s ambitions far outstripped what its designers were capable of getting out of the NES in 1988. It wasn’t uncommon for sprites to simply vanish from the screen, and the framerate dipped to borderline unplayable levels. It was a lot like playing a UbiSoft game in 2014 (zing!).

So when I learned that Super Dodge Ball had received a facelift for the PC Engine,[1] and that some guy on eBay was selling it for less than $30.00, I knew I had to have it. If the game was halfway decent on the NES, it had to be at least twice as good on PCE, right?

The answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is an emphatic “YES.” The extra power of the PC Engine allows Super Dodge Ball [2] to fully deliver on the promise of its predecessor.

SuperDodgeBallVs
Finally, the grudge match the world has been waiting for.

The rules of the game are simple enough. The court is divided into two halves, and each team consists of four infielders and three outfielders. The object of the game is to defeat the opposing team’s infielders. Outfielders are confined to the sidelines on the opposing team’s half of the court – their primary function is to toss the ball back to the infielders, but they are capable of mounting a modest degree of offense as well. Confused? Well, just watch the video at the end of the article and it will all make sense.

SuperDodgeBallNewspaper
I can only assume this is a rules pamphlet.

So the rules of the game are simple, but… WHY? Why do I want to play dodge ball? I need some motivation!

Well, that’s a good enough reason, I guess. This is the introduction to the game’s Tournament Mode, in which we take team Japan on a globe-trotting quest to prove that the land of the rising sun will not suffer beanballs lightly.

SuperDodgeBallPlaneAnd by “globe-trotting quest,” I mean “charmingly racist dodge ball safari.” You’ll travel to many exotic locales and throw dodge balls at any number of classic ethnic archetypes, including….

SuperDodgeBallEngland

Jolly old London town, where you’ll play on the banks of the Thames against a team of angry, pasty, cod eaters!

SuperDodgeBallIceland

Iceland! While penguins look on, you’ll battle it out with some vaguely Eskimo looking dudes as you slip and slide over some glaciers!

SuperDodgeBallChina

China! Play against a team of jaundiced obese children in front of  a picture of Chairman Mao! Bonus points if you kill some sparrows with your dodge ball.

SuperDodgeBallKenya

Kenya, where you’ll play against a team of extremely fast athletes on the sun-scorched Serengeti!

SuperDodgeballAmerica

And of course, the worst nation of them all, AMERICA. You’ll compete against a team of roided-out supermen on the top of some fictitious skyscraper frighteningly close to the statue of liberty!

And what is your prize, for defeating this murderers’ row of dodge ball assassins?

SuperDodgeBallSuperman

Superman descends from the sky to present you with a trophy, of course, presumably renouncing his American citizenship in the process. Nippon ichi!


You can play through tournament mode on loop for hours, but that’s for chumps. The real action is in the PC Engine exclusive QUEST MODE. Why would a dodge ball game have a quest mode, you ask?

Aliens? To quote Will Smith, “AW, HELL NO.” Quest Mode tracks team Japan on its quest to hunt down the intergalactic asshats that wasted some untold amount of fuel to fly to Earth and bean us in the head. How does this play out you ask? Well, surprisingly similar to Tournament Mode, at first. You’re immediately dropped into a match with a rival Japanese team which plays out exactly like any other bout in the game. However, when things finish up, we are presented with… Dialog options?

SuperDodgeBallConvo

While I don’t speak a word of Japanese, based purely on gameplay experience, I’m willing to bet the post match conversation between you and the opposing team’s captain breaks down like this:

Him: Yo dawg, good match. You beat us good. Mind if I leave these simps behind and go on the road with you?

You: Hell yeah, brah. We lookin’ for these aliens. They done beaned us in the head.

Him: You serious, man, aliens? Let’s do this.

You: Fo’ sho. Hey, you seen a UFO?

Him: Naw man, try checking any other country with a national dodge ball team.

And that’s exactly how quest mode progresses. You travel from country to country looking for your alien rivals, recruiting each team’s best infielder along the way.  Each recruitable player has has two unique “super throws” he can utilize against the enemy, which range from conceivable (100 mph beanball) to absolutely ridiculous (dodge balls dropping from orbit). The catch is that you only have four infielder slots on your team – you have to kick someone off to make room for someone new. You have to pay attention to your adversaries’ skills in order to determine whether they are worth recruiting.

SuperDodgeBallYay
Weirdly, they never seem too upset when you ask them to leave.

As quest mode progresses, you will slowly discover that alien invaders have been impersonating members of each nation’s dodge ball team.

SuperDodgeBallAlien

And as you discover each alien invader, its corresponding nation is wiped off the game’s map, meaning you can no longer recruit from that country.

SuperDodgeBallQuestProgress

When you’ve finally uncovered the last of the body-snatching fiends….

SuperDodgeBallRocket

Let’s just say it’s a pretty epic conclusion.


All goofiness aside, there’s not much to find fault with in Super Dodge Ball for the PC Engine. It’s a wonderful game with tight controls, colorful graphics, and a refreshing sense of goofiness that is rarely found in the sports games of today, fake or otherwise. Buy it, emulate it, steal it, do what you need to do…. but I heartily recommend that you play this game.

And on that note, I leave you with this – The greatest comeback in fake sports history, as Kenya Bill overcomes insurmountable odds against team Moonman:


 

[1] The Japanese name for the console known as the Turbo Grafx in the US.

[2] The actual name of the game, as indicated at the beginning of this post, is Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu: PC Bangai Hen – Literally, “Hot-Blooded High School Dodgeball Club: PC Extra Edition. For ease of reference, we sill simply refer to the game as Super Dodge Ball.

All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua: Rise! Dolphin! (Part 3)

In which Dolphin undergoes new employee orientation.

IntroPart 1Part 2

Improbably, Dolphin has won his first match.  Since there are no other discernible options, and Dolphin can’t read Japanese, ON TO THE SECOND MATCH.

BabaIntro

Labor relations sure work differently in Japan. It appears Dolphin’s second opponent will be his boss, Giant Baba. As this game takes place in 1997, Baba  should be about 60. Jeez. While Dolphin is keenly aware that fighting your boss is a time-honored pro wrestling tradition, and he probably wouldn’t be doing this had he not shoved that pine tar down his third base coach’s throat, this is ridiculous. Giant or no, he shouldn’t be fighting a 60-year-old man.

BabaSuplex

1:06 – Yep, easier than medicare fraud. Dolphin starts off with a strong German suplex. Don’t go anywhere kids. You might not have too much more time with granddad.

BabaBodySlam

1:14 – Well…

BabaChop

1:19 – That’s….

BabaBackDrop

1:31 – Something else.  Hmm.  Dolphin is really getting flogged. Looks like Baba has no intention of collecting a pension any time soon. This is no good. After dealing with roughly a minute and a half (including intros) of punishment at the hands of his forbears, Dolphin does what any self-respecting member of the younger generation would do – he starts taking any advantage he can get.

Babapost1

1:46 – Yes, Dolphin just rammed a 60-year-old man’s head into the ringpost. Dolphin reminds you that anybody that gets in that ring knows the risk, and he had nothing to do with those recent updates to Baba’s life insurance policy.

Baba100

2:51 – Let this be a lesson to you folks. You can lose all of your neck in less than three minutes, if you’re not careful. The fans seem to love Dolphin’s strategy. I hear “acromegaly” is Latin for “head filled with candy.” Let’s find out if that’s true!

Babareverse1

4:01 – It appears that Dolphin does not fare so well when he employs legitimate tactics. Baba is reversing everything in sight.

7:08 – You know, one of the more popular features of this game is that “every move can be reversed!” Dolphin is beginning to wonder if “every move will be reversed” would be more appropriate.

BabaSTF

8:25 – Great googledy moogledy. After Dolphin’s 19th attempt at a Dolphinplex, Baba slaps on an STF and Dolphin’s neck jumps immediately to 74% damage.  It appears that Dolphin’s spinal trauma has carried over from his last match with Johnny Ace. Whatever; we’ve still got 26% neck left.

Dolphindirtbag

9:49 – Listen, Dolphin doesn’t have much going for him. He’s got an ICS degree in gun repair, two families in two different Canadian provinces, a failed stint as a shortstop, and a mastery of approximately four basic wrestling moves. One of those moves is the Irish whip to the ringpost, and he’s not getting back in the ring until he’s sure he’s squeezed everything he can out of that inanimate metal column.

BabaDDT

12:34 – Well, it was a nice run, wasn’t it flipper? You just had your neck completely destroyed by a crippled sexagenarian. No way you’re living this one down.

BabaPin

13:48 – Sweet fancy Moses! It took nearly 15 minutes, but Dolphin finally did it! Did Baba’s heart give out? Did he age himself out of contention? Dolphin doesn’t care though, because he just bought himself his second ‘W,’ all for the low, low price of his neck.

If you’d like to stare into the abyss for about 14 minutes, here’s the full match:


Two matches in, and Dolphin has already secured his future in a cervical halo. Nevertheless, Dolphin understands that the only way out is through: No neck, no skills, no problems. MATCH 3!

JunEntranceThis is Jun Akiyama, and his theme is titled “Shadow Explosion.” Dolphin has never seen a shadow explode, but he assumes that it is worse for him than a standard explosion. Youtube research reveals that Jun Akiyama has a proud tradition of dropping people on the back of their heads.  This, of course, bodes well for Dolphin.

junhiptoss

1:23 – Not off to a bad start. Dolphin is able to string some offense together right out of the gate.

junneck

1:33 – Two moves. It only took two moves for Akiyama to snap the stack of dimes Dolphin calls a neck. It’s gonna be a long career (mode). Dolphin is tempted to hit the reset button.

1:49 – Dolphin has quickly abandoned any pretense of winning this match legitimately. TO THE RINGPOST!  It only took him three more seconds than last time to come to this conclusion!

Junpostneck

2:56 – YES! So long, and thanks for all the fish! Dolphin’s catch phrases admittedly need work. If the last match is any indication, we’ve only got about eleven minutes of sustained neck damage remaining before Dolphin puts this chump away.

jungerman

4:22 – Blowhole plunge! Dolphin is swimming down the road to victory!

junexploder2

4:48 – Err… the announcer just yelled “exploder” in English. This is probably not good for Dolphin’s neck rating. This suspicion is confirmed by Dolphin’s pained squeals.

6:06 – This time it sounded like “exploiter,” which is appropriate, because Dolphin is starting to feel more than a little used up.

junsuperplex

6:38 – Dude, dolphins are a threatened species. You’ll burn for this.

juntope

6:54 – As he’s going nowhere fast, Dolphin decides to roll to the only place where he seems to be worth a damn – outside the ring.  Well guess what: you can never go home again.

8:55 – Dolphin is beginning to wonder if it actually means anything when your neck gets broken in this game, as he has to give up the ghost to Akiyama at about the 9 minute mark, despite dropping him on his 0% neck several times.

Well, to quote Dolphin’s favorite artist, Meatloaf, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.  At least he didn’t lose to the geriatric.

Grab a handkerchief and cry yourself to sleep as you watch Dolphin’s heartbreaking loss:

NEXT TIME: Montage!

Wednesday Weirdness – Murdered: Soul Suspect

While finishing up my recent playthrough of Murdered: Soul Suspect, I noticed something slightly weird about the photos in the police station.  Also, apparently, the Salem police force LOVES Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  It’s literally on every computer screen in the building.

One sentence review: Don’t let your gameplay get in the way of your plot.

All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua: Rise! Dolphin! (Part 2)

PART THE SECOND:
In which our intrepid hero finds no practical use for his decaying infielding skills.

The first and second posts in this series will undoubtedly increase your enjoyment of this installment.

Now that he’s successfully completed his mandatory new hire processing and and picked out some sweet threads, it’s time for Dolphin to step into the squared circle. Sure, he’s a little long in the tooth, and he’s got no real practical experience, but with nearly a decade of single A under his belt, he’s got some fundamental athletic prowess that will undoubtedly carry the day against whatever jabroni the higher ups toss his way.

Caring not who he will crush, Dolphin makes his way to the ring:

AJPWHeracles

Clearly, great things are expected of Dolphin. He’s already got his own theme! Prepared by the legendary Sega Sound Team, the driving force behind such hits as “Green Hill Zone,” “Space Harrier Theme,” and “Game Over Yeah,” no less! Note that Dolphin is so manly he uses the original Greek “Heracles” instead of the far less tough “Hercules” as the basis of his theme. No one stands a chance. Who will Dolphin be using as a springboard to glory?

Well, turns out it’s Johnny Ace, better known to US wrestling fans as John Laurinaitis, one time director of talent relations for the WWE. Turns out he actually had a serious run in AJPW back in the 90s. Also turns out he was a wrestling aqua sock enthusiast.  Having a past as an actual legitimate sportsman instead of some lame extreme “athlete,” Dolphin has to have a bit of a leg up here. Enough blabbering. TO THE MATCH!

0:29 – Dolphin is demoralized as he quickly realizes that Sega Sound Team has also done Johnny Ace’s music. Wikipedia reveals that Johnny Ace’s theme was actually Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crüe. This can only be a mind game. There’s no way anyone would otherwise be willing forgo such a grand entrance song.

1:30 – Things get off to a rocky start, as Dolphin’s clumsy first move is reversed into a swinging neckbreaker. Dolphin starts to take a pretty serious beating at the hands of big Johnny. Good thing he pre-loaded on those pain pills. Note that as Dolphin takes a beating, his life bar drops, but the meter directly above his name increases. This indicates that the crowd is behind him and his momentum is building! They must be remembering that time back in ’88 when he set the single season hit by pitch record. Dolphin’s past in baseball has apparently garnered him some goodwill with the fans.

2:39 – The crowd appears to be very impressed with Dolphin’s apparent love of taking unanswered blows to the face. With each elbow crammed down his throat, Dolphin can feel a groundswell of support rising from the crowd. As they begin chanting his name, Dolphin wonders why they aren’t cheering for the clearly superior athlete. Johnny must be pissed. Dolphin also notes that the crowd is a flat bitmap, and begins to wonder if he is in some kind of existential hell.

3:00 – Realizing his dream is fading, Dolphin digs deep into the bag of tricks he learned at wrestler’s correspondence school, and he starts to mount some offense! The crowd support is making it a little easier for him to time his moves – he’s not out of the woods yet, but he’s narrowing the gap.

4:00 – Dolphin begins to notice that every successful hit he lands on Mr. Ace seems to be increasing the crowd’s support of him as well. Dolphin is confused about Japanese culture and wonders if he should have eaten all that octopus before his match.

5:00 – Ace damn near takes Dolphin’s head off with a lariat from hell, and goes for the cover. Dolphin kicks out before 2, but only at the expense of some of his crowd support. Dolphin fails to see why escaping defeat would somehow lessen his crowd support. Then again, Japan is a strange place. They eat with sticks.

5:25 – Dolphin has had enough of this crap. If he loses this first match, he’ll have wasted five minutes of his life, and he’ll have to cancel Christmas for at least two of his families. He rolls out of the ring.

5:34 –

AJPWAceStunnerYep, that was a Stone Cold Stunn…. Ace Crusher. Crap.  Can’t get worse than that, though, can it? Nobody can pin you outside of the ring, and there doesn’t appear to be a countout here. Dolphin will just sit tight for a bit.

5:45 –

AJPWAceNeckSWEET LORD.  Do you SEE that thing? CLEARLY, this second Ace Crusher has done some serious damage to Dolphin’s neck. Why else would it say “Danger” three times and have a little picture of a bomb? Presumably, this means that Dolphin only has 70% more neck left before he explodes. This is not a positive development.

6:10 – After ambling around aimlessly, pondering how to win this match with only 70% neck remaining, Dolphin manages to ram Ace’s head into the ringpost with a satisfying thud. This seems to yield positive results, and Ace doesn’t seem to have been programm… er, trained to deal with this. It isn’t long before Ace is receiving warnings about his cervical spine as well.  Weirdly, the crowd loves it. Sick.

8:00 – Hey, we’re starting to have a nice little back and forth here. Maybe now that Mr. Ace fully appreciates that Dolphin is a scumbag who is willing to do anything (within his limited four move arsenal) to avoid defeat, he’s treating him with a little too much respect. Dolphin is not to be respected. Ace will learn this the hard way. Nobody respects Dolphin and gets away with it.

10:00 –

AJPWWinplex

Improbably, after getting elbowed in the face and taking a vertical suplex in the middle of the ring, Dolphin hits a relatively routine belly-to-back suplex…. and then….

AJPW Pin

Wow. This makes absolutely no sense. Dolphin had absolutely no skill going into this match, the little noise meter at the top of the screen seems to indicate the crowd is fully behind Ace, and Dolphin had just eaten a series of devastating maneuvers right in the middle of the ring. If Dolphin didn’t know better, he’d say this was fixed. Dolphin is silently thankful that this is all happening in 1997, and the Internet wrestling community is not well developed enough to complain about this kind of lazy, disappointing booking.

AllJapanDolphinFeatured

Tune in next week, as Dolphin perfects his craft,  attempts to scale the language barrier, and considers taking out a Lloyd’s of London insurance policy!

 ON TO PART 3!

 

All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua: Rise! Dolphin! (Part 1)

PART THE FIRST:
In which we start an aging shortstop down the path towards championship gold.

If you haven’t already checked it out, take a look at the first post in this series.

No sense in delaying thiokngs; let’s get right to it. The quest for the Triple Crown Championship starts now, and I’m already 17 years behind schedule. Time to dig into AJPW’s charmingly titled “Featuring Mode” and grab that belt.

AJPWtitle

Featuring Mode is equal parts “create-a-wrestler” and “career mode.” Rather than let you choose the appearance and attributes of your character outright, in a design decision I can only describe as “innately Japanese,” AJPW requires you to fill out a job application in order to determine what type of grappler you’ll be portraying.

All right, let’s get…

AJPWHuh

Huh.  Well, that’s something else.  Fortunately, the same translation guide I used back in 1997 is still publicly available.  ECrouser, I may never meet you in person, but when I win the gold, I’m dedicating it to you.

First,  we’re presented with a list of names for our wrestler:

GREAT JUMBO METEOR
BOMBER BLAZE PHANTOM
TORNADO CANNON SAVIOR
CYCLONE DEVIL SATAN
PUNISH BASTARD CRUSH
TIGER DRAGON BISON
JAGUAR JACKAL RABBIT
BEAUTY CUTIE DOLPHIN
SAKURA RAIDEN NINJA
X OHTORII UFO
NIIMURA

Back in 1997 I’d have been inclined to pick “Bastard.” That’s a name that inspires fear, respect, and paternity suits. But this is 2014, baby, and I need a name that says “experience.” I need a moniker that says, intelligence, experience, and general superiority. They often say that the majestic bottle nose is the most intelligent mammal on the planet, so let’s go with “DOLPHIN.” Remember that name, for it is the sound of your doom.

Next option: Choose your wrestler’s age. As I’m writing this, I’m 32, so my wrestler is 32.  Easy choice. Next question. Let’s just ignore the fact that 32 is the maximum age the game lets you choose, because that is not depressing at all.

So we’re a 32-year-old wrestler named Dolphin. The game now wants to know what prior sports experience our majestic Dolphin is bringing to the dance:

GYMNASTICS SUMO DRUMMING
??? TENNIS CHINESE KEMPO
BASEBALL AMATUER WRESTLING BASKETBALL
KARATE SOCCER ARM WRESTLING
JUDO RUGBY STREET FIGHTING

One can assume that if Dolphin is entering the ring as a second career at the ripe middlish age of 32, things probably didn’t end up so hot for him during his first athletic endeavor.  Much like me, returning to AJPW 17 years after the fact, Dolphin is looking to recapture faded glory. Of all the sports on the list, baseball would have probably garnered him highest base level of glory from which to fade. No disrespect to arm wrestlers, drummers, or ???ists, but chicks dig the long ball. Dolphin used to be a shortstop.

Now we’re on to the substance of our job application – a personality test of sorts. Dolphin used to bat 6th for the Blue Jays’ Single-A affiliate. He’s used to dealing with the tough questions, so this should be no sweat.

AJPWQuestion1

Question: All Japan Puroresu is Giant Baba?
1) Of Course
2) It is the four lords of heaven
3) It is Rusher Kimura

Crap. Dolphin was not prepared to respond to any queries of an existential nature. Thankfully, Dolphin has access to a smartphone. It appears that Giant Baba was the founder of All Japan Pro Wrestling, essentially making him Dolphin’s boss.  Dolphin knows where his bread is buttered, so Giant Baba it is.

Question: How should a Pro Wrestler win his matches?
1) Pretty (Technically sound) Suplex should decide
2) The big move done in the heat of the match should decide the victory
3) It does not matter

Dolphin is in this for the money. He’s got three kids in Durham, Ontario that don’t know his name. There’s child support to pay, and it just does not matter.

AJPWQuestion3

Question: What technique do you like?
1) Counter attacks
2) Throwing
3) Stretching

Baseball. Throwing. Duh.

Question: What should the Pro Wrestler's goal be?
1) Strength
2) Championship Belt
3) Fans enjoying the match

Well, Dolphin is in this first and foremost for himself. Undoubtedly, he’s already strong, and fans will probably enjoy the match no matter what if he obtains the Championship Belt, so let’s go with option 3.

AJPWQuestion5

Question: Tomorrow is your Pro Wrestling debut. What are you thinking?
1) Think positive
2) Concentrate
3) Win at all costs

Dolphin has got child support to pay. Number 3! It’s all about that cheddar. Win at all costs.

AJPWQuestion7

Question: Why did you become a pro wrestler?
1) To become strong
2) ( Not Sure )
3) To become a famous wrestler

You know, I’m not really sure why I’m doing this at all. Whether it’s a translation error or not, we’re going with option 2.

Question: To become a strong wrestler requires endless stamina and techniques. How do you do it?
1) Extra long training
2) ( Not Sure )
3) Eat three times as much

As a former professional baseball player. Dolphin understands that physique does not matter. He will eat three times as much as the normal human.

Question: Your opponent misses a wild attack. So your counter attack begins. How do you start?
1) Yell to get your ki up
2) Slap your face to get your ki up
3) Do a surprisingly cold and precise counter

Like his namesake murdering sharks with a nose to the abdomen, Dolphin will be dispatching his foes with precise counterattacks.

Wow! Those were some intense questions. Based on our responses, we’re now presented with some cosmetic choices:

AJPWZubaz

Way too Zubaz. Dolphin knows better than this.

AJPWMask

No sense in wearing a mask. The good people of Durham, Ontario already know what Dolphin looks like. Plus, hiding from child support payments is downright shameful.

AJPWIrish

Nope.  Dolphin is a lot of things, but Irish isn’t one of them.

AJPWDolphin
Oooh. Perfect. Simple, yet stylish. Beautiful magenta tights with a zebra print accent? Western efficiency meets eastern style. We have our Dolphin, ladies and gentlemen.

Next time, we’ll be leading our newly minted wrestler into battle. Tune in next time – same Dolphin time, same Dolphin channel!

Onward to Part 2!