M.U.S.C.L.E (NES) Retro Review


M.U.S.C.L.E is a 1986 wrestling game for the NES developed by TOSE and published by Bandai. The goal is to defeat your opponent in a one vs one ‘wrestling’ match with help of each characters special move (that you get from an energy ball). The game was originally based on the Japanese manga Kinnikuman and awkwardly still seems to include him but not as a playable character.

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Menu is simple like most old games with some simple music and a decent title logo (although i couldn’t be bothered to check the Japanese version for now). It was actually the fact it was still copyrighted to Toei and Yude Tamago that i realised it had been a bit of a lazy port. Also the character select screen was cool looking but i never worked out how it worked, i suspect you’re actually in a tag match since you choose 2 characters.

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Getting into the game i felt the graphics were quite shit as if they’d been rushed in MS paint although this was how the original version looked as well. The gameplay is awkward and the graphics make it look incredibly stupid as you essentially spam the same button hoping that you hit the opponent and do a cool (or in this case slightly less boring) move. Using special moves is the same, the second you or an opponent grabs an energy ball you get to spam your special move over and over for a limited period of time except its always enough to utterly screw over the opponent. There was just no strategy or depth to the game at all and i couldn’t find enjoyment in it.

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