Xbox 360 Review: Rumble Roses XX

Pro Wrestling on the NES remains, even to this day, one of the greatest wrestling video games ever produced. With all the advancements developers have made to storylines, crowds fighting, weapons, and graphics, that 8-bit classic still forces comparison. That said it should be logical that another wrestling title with its simplicity would be as enjoyable. The truth is that it could be, as long as it isn't Rumble Roses.

A sequel to the original all-female perversion fest on the Playstation 2, XX doesn't do anything to advance it's own little corner of the wrestling world. Instead, it does more to confuse and baffle its audience, with no explanation as to what it is you're supposed to be doing outside the ring to actually win something. The simplistic menu system seems accessible and easy to understand. Underneath it is a set of code only NASA engineers will be able to figure out.

Matches come in small variety of similar types. Handicap and tag matches are basic fare. Don't plan on brawling inside of a cage unless you're in the street fight mode that mildly changes the engine to resemble a weak, stiff one-on-one fighter. The final match is designed to pitifully humiliate the opposition after you win as you watch with a voyeuristic camera.

That's where the most time was spent when designing Rumble Roses. Never mind a basic storyline or instruction as to what you're doing. The important thing here is a camera that ensures maximum visibility to those "sensitive" female areas during a grapple. That's been implemented quite well which is relatively unsurprising given the M rating and subject matter.

The wrestling engine itself is fair at best. The counter system is simple enough to use regularly, though as it usually turns out, the AI is a counter master. Strikes hit accurately in punishing combos while grappling offers a wide variety of throws and holds to satisfy whatever perverse moves you dreamt up last week. Finishing maneuvers come in a variety of flavors, requiring only one button and a filled special meter. These will usually end a match after being used twice, though once can get things done too. This leads to short and repetitive contests.

Character selection is widely varied to suit any basic fetish, turning this process into a hilarious look inside your friend's psyche ("You like bondage, huh?"). Once you've reached a high level of popularity, you'll unlock a second version of that character that's more than a palette swap. Almost the entire move set changes with the switch, effectively doubling the roster if you play this way too much to see it all.

The likely scenario means you'll be dumbfounded long before you have a chance to see what this has to offer. Without a guiding story mode, you have no idea what it is you're supposed to do to win a title. Match ups pop up randomly, while the bizarre method to gaining a title match is beyond those who might have picked this up for a quick weekend 360 fix or access to a FAQ. Many of the battles end up being pointless, and aside from unlocking a secondary character, the popularity meter (which also seems to randomly increase or decrease) ends up with the same fate.

It wouldn't be surprising to see a cult following around Rumble Roses XX. It has an audience, and that's undeniable. That group doesn't include those looking for a solid wresting game though, as the surface level brawling in XX takes the sub-sports genre back a few years. It's too limiting both inside and out of the ring, leaving fans of a special type of photography alone to enjoy their latest toy.

(* out of *****)

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