"Oh my god! He's brought a chair into the ring!
Why isn't the referee doing anything?! He's looking in the other direction, and the blows from the chair just keep coming down and down! Oh, ladies and gentlemen, this is a dark day for the sport of professional wrestling!"
Actually, in Power Move Pro Wrestling from Activision, bringing an illegal chair into the ring and pretending to bash your opponent with it is one of the few wrestling moves you can't do. The popular and completely fake (let's just admit it and get it over with) sport of professional wrestling has finally been brought to your Playstation. Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen.
The fans of professional wrestling (you know who you are) are going to be pleased and disappointed at the same time. This game is an improvement on previous wrestling games in every way. On the other hand, this modified Japanese import (Toukon Retsuden) never had any licensing agreements with any of the popular pro wrestling federations of the U.S., like the WWF. All 12 of the burly brawlers in Power Move are imaginary characters, so fans won't be able to find any of their favorite fighters.
These fictional characters are well-designed, resemble 'real' wrestlers and have cool names, but are actually kind of drab (especially in costume) when compared to the real thing. Most of the costumes are just different colored tights with a few of those 'Mexican wrestling full-head bondage masks' thrown in for good measure. 'Agent Orange' is the military freak, 'Zombie' is the half-dead guy, 'King Og' is the giant with the gland problem, and 'Area 51' claims to have fought off-planet against alien wrestlers.
All of these muscle-bound combatants move very smoothly around the ring. The graphics are all polygonal, and while this is becoming more and more common, it's still always nice to see..
Power Move's animation is crisp and accurate. The camera moves around more freely than in most other fighting games, but because you can move around the ring in all directions, it doesn't become disorienting. You can even use the trigger buttons to move the camera on the fly. My only complaint is that they aren't texture mapped as well as they might have been. The flat colors make them look too much like computer models and they never achieve the depth of other fighters (like those in Tekken 2), not to mention real pro wrestlers.
Nevertheless, they move well, and those moves are as close to pro wrestling as you can get. There are over 50 different moves in three basic categories: strikes, strength moves, and submission holds. You can simply hit your opponent, throw him to the ground, bounce him off the ropes and then hit him, climb the ropes and jump on him, twist his legs or arms, and even throw him out of the ring. Different moves can be used when opponents are standing, lying on the ground face down, face up, facing you, facing away from you, groggy, bouncing off the ropes, outside of the ring, on the top rope, 'leaning on the turnbuckle', or any of several combinations of these.
Unfortunately, this means the learning curve is VERY steep. There's the 'spinning drop kick', the 'body splash', the 'scorpion deathlock', the 'Mongolian chop', the 'fisherman buster', and even the 'flying butt smash' (I'm not making this up). It takes a long time to memorize even a few of these moves. On the plus side, the incredible variation makes it really look like two professional wrestlers pretending to beat each other up. For a complete list of moves check out our Secret Codes Page.
But in the end, Power Move Pro Wrestling was too much like real pro wrestling and it failed to hold my interest for very long at all. The wrestlers can take so much 'punishment' for so long that it really just gets boring. This game is simply not inspiring enough to make you want to attempt the daunting task of memorizing all the moves. Power Move struts around the ring well at first, but can't remain standing through the whole match.