I had always heard of the Fire Pro Wrestling series from Japan, but I honestly didn't have much experience with it until a bootleg of Fire Pro Wrestling D for the Sega Dreamcast crossed my path. After that intial meeting, I was hooked, but wasn't quite ready to back away from THQ's venerable line of WWE games. It wasn't until I stumbled across a US version of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns for the Playstation 2 that I rediscovered the greatness this series has had since the PC Engine(TurboGrafx 16). For the uninformed, Fire Pro Wrestling was originated by Human Entertainment in 1989. it enjoyed immense success in Japan, but never saw light outside of Japanese systems until the series was transferred from Human to Spike in 2000. The series became popular among wrestling fans because it's huge level of customization, with fans creating painstaking replications of their favorite wrestling organizations and wrestlers. Another thing that has made this game popular is the use of wrestler likenesses without using their names, thus freeing the developers from the sticky business of paying for licenses. There were only three Fire Pro games released in the US, two were on the Game Boy Advance, and the third was the last wrestling game I may buy. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns has a rabid following among gamers and wrestling fans who are tired of being told that WWE has to be the only game in town. The old school graphics conceal an amazingly deep video game with amazing controls, and limitless roster options. the only downside is the lack of a career mode, but since you can book entire shows in the Match Maker mode, you kinda don't need one. If you have a PS2 laying around, and don't mind the learning curve, you should check Fire Pro Wrestling Returns out. You can probably cop it for $10, so there really isn't an excuse to not own it.
This vid illustrates what some fans have been able to do with the game.
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