Virtual Pro Wrestling 2
Systems: Nintendo 64 (Japanese Exclusive)
American Wrestling titles continue to be made on a year to year basis. 2K sports dominate the video game scene for the time being with its WWE 2K series. But in the 90’s, the king of Pro Wrestling games was very different.
Three letters, AKI. AKI were the masterminds behind the greatest North American wrestling games including, WWF No Mercy, WCW World Tour, WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF WrestleMania 2000, and the more unknown WCW vs The World (under the developer name “The Man Breeze”). But a series that some may not know is their Japanese release of these games. WCW World Tour rebranded to Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 for the Japanese market. This included everyone from the WCW game, but introduced reskinned and renamed superstars from Japan including Jushin Liger, Great Muta, Jun Akiyama, Toshiaki Kawada and many more to face off against the WCW roster. They also allowed you to change the gear and names of everyone in the game, allowing you to make custom characters, or make the default superstars look like their real life counterparts. This made it the DEFINITIVE version of the game. But how do they follow this huge success?
Well, following the release of WWF WrestleMania 2000, and released before WWF No Mercy, AKI created the ultimate version of an AKI title. VIRTUAL PRO WRESTLING 2 . Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 takes the key concepts that were perfected in WrestleMania 2000 and WCW/nWo Revenge and adds some new ideas that would only be present in this title.
The gameplay style is consistent from what you would get from an AKI title around this time period. The control schemes did not change in this time period, making every game easy for fans and non-fans to pick up and play.
The scenery in the game changes though with Tokyo Dome, Budokan Hall, and Kawasaki Stadium (yes, a BASEBALL arena!) being 3 of many new venues to choose from, all with unique looks. You also have the option to play the game in black and white to give it an old-school filter whenever you wanted to!
Some new features added into the game were running grapples. Running grapples are something we all see in wrestling games now, but until this game, it was AKI’s first foray into this mechanic. Creating new move opportunities such as running neckbreakers being introduced to characters’ move sets.
Another new addition was a shoot fighting (MMA) mode. This mode let you knock out opponents with certain strikes, have your fight in rounds, gain points from takedowns, etc. With a new batch of shoot fighters being put into the game, it made this gameplay mode stick out over every other AKI game, being the ONLY time it was ever used in one of their games.
Keeping the customization aspect of WrestleMania 2000, one HUGE addition that is exclusive is MASKED characters. The masks options in American titles were non-existent, and continued to be into WWF No Mercy. This game let’s you completely customize any mask in the game down to wings on the ears and laces coming off the back of the head, opening the mask for their hair to come out and so much more.
The ability to create custom championships is a feature that carried over from WrestleMania 2000. Though this included the chance to have up to 3 CHAMPIONSHIPS on your wrestler at the same time. They will even enter the ring with their belts in title matches! A great addition was including real-world titles like the NWA Championship to fight over with your friends.
A favorite of mine is the Pay-Per-View mode. A show creator of sorts that continues on from WrestleMania 2000, giving you the chance to put together your own shows. Each show at the end will bring in a certain number of fans based on the quality and venue of your shows. This mode is endless and if you have a way to keep track of your show results, it can create a really fun universe.
I booked about 2 years of monthly “NWA Japan” shows and kept track of all my titleholders, match results, and win/loss records for my roster. The PPV mode was a fun time and something you can get lost in for hours, days, months, and/or years!
The story mode in this game is reminiscent of WrestleMania 2000 as well, giving you the reigns of 2 wrestlers as you fight for singles and tag team gold. Also, there is an ability to win tournament trophies for certain matches along your career path. Another fun mode to dig your teeth into, especially if there is a character you love playing as.
Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 is a goldmine of fun. It’s first title is as well, but this presents you with a multitude of match type and customization options that an AKI game before, or after never reached. WWF No Mercy has always been held up as the greatest wrestling game of all time. I would argue that point this THIS game is one for the ages. It does everything the AKI games before it and after it do, but adds more to the table.
This game lives on through mods the same way that No Mercy does. FreeM presents this game with a fresh coat of paint and a roster including some heavy hitters from America. Shawn Michaels can fight Vader. Steve Austin or AJ Styles can now do battle with Spider-Man if they wanted to! Also places like VPW2 Dojo on Twitter shine a light on this game like no other. Check them out for everything Virtual Pro!
Seeing as the game just turned 22 years old last week; let’s give a belated birthday shoutout to a game that lives on to this day as a secret goldmine.
OVERALL: 9.5/10 I can continue talking about this game for days. I think this game needs to speak for itself once you play it. PLEASE get your hands on this game, it may be pricey right now, but it is worth every penny. I would give it a 10 out of 10, but even perfection has wiggle room to make it even BETTER!
Do you have a wrestling game suggestion for me to review?
Let me know on Twitter: @CFGstreams
Or watch me play all of these wrestling games with my buddies over on Twitch: twitch.tv/CFGstreams
FreeM Twitter: @aj_187
VPW2 Dojo Twitter: @VPW2Dojo