Sunday, August 18, 2013

War Journal entry #2- Lets see those M.U.S.C.L.E.s

This weeks play-through was meant to be short and easy.... but we both know thats not the 8 bit way.
One of the first Famicom games I bought when I started collecting was Kinnikuman- Massuru Taggu Matchi. Like many of the first Fami games I bought it was based off a Manga/Anime, and Kinnikuman was quite the popular property in Japan. The Manga (comic) started in 1979 and is technically still running, an Anime show ran from 1983 to 86 with 137 episodes and when the first toys were released they helped boost a whole new toy genre ... Keshi (rubber little eraser figures). But lets slow down theres sooooo much that could be said about Kinnikuman and still not scratch the surface so lets just keep it very simple.

Kinnikuman means Muscle Man and thats the title character in this series about hero whom is a rip off of Ultraman, but he's so lame no one calls him for help unless every hero is outta town. The series changed direction later and the Kinnkuman got better at his job and the support characters cast grew to outrageous numbers and were shown wrestling their battles out and the characters were based off both monsters and "real" wrestlers. The Figures made the jump across the ocean to N. America where it was renamed horribly as M.U.S.C.L.E = Millions of Unusual Creatures Lurking Everywhere ....Yeah lame.
The little pink flesh colored figures were not erasers in the U.S. but did come in 4 packs, little garbage cans of 10 and a big 28 piece starter set. I bought myself a garbage can and later the 28 box, the japanese had 400 figures to collect N.America had only 236 I amassed a whopping 40 maybe 45 (I'd find them in the street and parking lots). This game was also released here but thats it, no TV show no comics and no explanation of origin except a short  paragraph on the back of the 28 pc box. As a kid I would look at the Ultraman inspired figures and Godzilla styled creatures and even the humanoid wrestlers and just knew they were familiar or even part of some thing more... but my friend Brian would tell me I was dumb and try to win (take) my figures from me, ahh kids what do they know. For more info on the figures click these links wiki and this great long running Blogspot by Nathan.

Classic 4 pack

I didn't own the M.U.S.C.L.E.  Tag Team game as a kid and only played it at a friend's so I was excited to try and beat it now not even knowing if that was possible.... well lets find out.

NES version
Soon as you power up the old Family Computer you are greeted with the sweet sounds of a full on 8-bit song not some crappy jingle, this game is gonna be awesome. The next screen takes a step backwards or even several, the character select screen features all 8 playable characters in full greyscale graphics... wait seriously greyscale what is this intellivision where did the color go ? Even when I was a kid I thought that was weird. After picking my custom tag team made up of Kinnikuman and TerryMan I am sent into the ring against RamenMan and Robin Mask. The game play is incredibly simplistic just like the sub par graphics, the B button is to jump and the A button is to Punch. Combinations of both buttons make up the short set of moves such as, shove, shove to ropes, drop kick, flying body attack, lariat (clothes line) and suplex. The A button will also engage the characters "finishing move" when he has received the "Power Ball" which is thrown across the ring by Meat a short child sized sidekick of Kinnikuman. The match starts and right off the bat I get the Power Ball three times in a row but cant seem to land a single move let alone some special move and right before time runs out I lose the first round to RamenMan... yup I said first round, a Wrestling game about a Manga/Anime about Wrestling has Two Rounds to each match in a best of Three style (scratching head). In the second round I manage to Tag in TerryMan and lands some hits as well as a "Finisher" which doesn't "Finish" anyone unless their life gauge is low enough to be "Finished" by any move, sooo not really a "Finisher" then. Any way in the third round I flying kick (B+A) RamenFace 2x and deliver two "not so Finishers" to wrap up my first victory and head on to the next match.

Bandai never stops churning out the titles

Seriously is this atari 2600?

Most of the In-Game Cast

 Now we face off against BuffaloMan (in U.S. Terri-Bull get it ) and WarsMan a Huge Fan Fav and my friend Take's childhood one as well. I soon realize the light blue ring mat is actually dangerous slippery ice but still manage to end the first round swiftly in 7 seconds with some Power Ball assist, I should also mention the Power up restores some health gauge as well. Felling cocky after the fast round makes me nervous to what may come in the second. It kicks off with me foolishly chasing WarsMan around as he continuously bounces off the ropes and flying body attacks me until he knocks me back in to deja vu land where I recall a friend of mine Brian repeatedly doing this to me while playing this game at his house when we were kids it sucked then and it STOPS NOW !!! I turn to grab Meat's Power Ball (gross) and level WarsMan with two devastating Kinniku Busters !!! Round two ends and the game contiunes to show me this screen with my score which I care not about, I mean this game has  an ending right ? or is it a High Score game?

Brian Technique B!tch

 The 3rd match starts and I ignore the two faced four armed man in the opposite corner as my eyes go into Pokemon shock due to the flashing gold ring and ropes. I pause the game to jot this bit down and give my peepers a rest and am surprised to find no retreat is possible from the dangers of epileptic seizure, the ring continues to flash even when paused (watch video below). I lose the first round to Ashuraman's many groping hands and my lack of knowing that the ring was electrified. I manage to come back and win the second round creating the crucial tension needed for a tie breaker in what I assume is the last Match since there are no other characters left to play. In the 3rd round Brocken Jr. jumps in to take a shot at me it should be mentioned Brocken Jr was swapped out in the N.American version due to his slight resemblance of a German SS officer, Oh and his Finisher the "Nazi Gas Attack"... YUP not kidding check it out yourself. The 3rd round starts and I quickly learn another good reason for Brocken's banishment from the N.American version His Nazi Gas Attack is a Fu*king projectile that he fires at you and can hit you with the next one as soon as you recover this coupled with the electric fence of epilepsy I'm pinned against  completty takes me by surprise and costs me the Match...WHAT!?!?!?  Thats right GAME OVER screen with no ray of light CONTINUE option or REMATCH to select... GAH DAMN IT !!!FU*CKING NAZIS!!! Thats it the kid gloves are off, ITS GO TIME BITCHES !!!!

                                         *WARNING VIDEO MAY CAUSE SEIZURES*

Gah Damn it!!

 Starting over I make quick work of Ramen & Robin Mask using Kinnikuman's Kinniku Buster to bury Robin deep in the mat.



In the second re-match I utilize the "Brian Technique" to destroy Buffaloman in his own corner as Warsman watches on like a lil' bitch I completely block any chance of a tag. Warsman is reduced to a helpless b!tch as he watches on angrily through his helmet. In the second round Buffaloman teaches Kinnikuman and myself the unwanted lesson of humility as he makes us "his" b!tch with one Power Ball and painfully shows us his Finisher the "Hurricane Mixer" that reaches half way across the screen when he lunges at you with his horns. He runs this move till my death. Not wanting to start over "again" I switch to TerryMan knowing his special move to be similar but just then Warsman steps in not ready to let go of all that b!tch calling from earlier. Luckily more "Brian Technique" on Ice combine with the "Flying Bulldog" Finisher takes the B!TCH Warsman Down !! Yeah B!tch !! sorry.


 Back to the third match again this time the round starts with TerryMan in the ring, I decide to leave him in knowing full well that the Flying Bulldog is weaker than the Kinniku Buster but the Bulldog is easier to land on an opponent . Quickly I remind my self not to use any more Brian Techinque due to the electrical hazard of lunching of the ropes. I begin aggressively pursuing Ashura and he the likewise, we both look like dummies in no time landing on our asses missing drop kick after drop kick. Ashuraman lands on his ass closer to the Power up and retrieves it then making a B-line straight for me, Terry is helpless to fend him off as I scream to the closing of the first round. Round two kicks off and I visiously attack Ashuraman but just be fore I can defeat him he scurries off to tag out I race after him and run right into a Power Ball  YES!!! When Brocken jumps in I fiendishly grin wide as I wail on him with repeated blows of my A&B button mashing Bulldog Finisher and the round ends as the Match is now tied like before. Round three starts and Terry and I hold our own against the Nazi bastard Brocken... until he gets 2 power ups back to back and trashes Terry in seconds. AAGGRRHHHH!!!!


I angrily start over AGAIN and Blah Blah "Brian Technique" Ramenman Blah Blah Destroy ice match Blah Blah 3rd time

Face Off in the Third Match
TerryMan vs Stupid Nazi Piece O' Sh*t.....
Round one begins and I somehow drop kick Brocken in the face as the Power Ball leaves Meats lil hands allowing me to pursue it alone, I return supped up and Finish my opponent with a quick Flying Bulldog ! Round 2 starts up and I manage to keep Brocken focused mid screen as I want to keep a fair distance to the launch of any Power Balls released up or down mat. The stratigeys quickly pays of I nab the Power Up and completely decimate the Nazi P.O.S Brocken Jr I joyfully raise my arms as I drop the controller in my lap awaiting my hard earned ending or perhaps the reveal of a mystery opponent !?!?....................................ROUND 4 !!!

We win For real this time you POS

Sweet !!! A new Opponent after all these years , How kool is this I get to see the FINAL BOSS Match
Awesome Mystery Opponent .

NOPE!! Its just a repeat of Match one only difference is that Brocken is Ramen's partner ... wait what that Nazi Fu*ker ! whats he chasing me challenging me is that it? Fine LetsDo This !!! Maybe this is one of those games like Ghost & Goblins or Legend of Kage and so many others that require you to beat it 2 times before it ends or like Nintendo Pro Wrestling that has you Beat it then Beat it again as defending champ to finally challenge a whole new unseen champion character ohhhh maybe thats it ok Im game.

Long story short...

Plain Ring vs RamenMan &  Brocken Jr

Electric Ring vs Brocken Jr & BuffaloMan

Ice Ring vs RamenMan & Robin Mask NO ENDING !

Plain Ring vs Brocken and Robin Mask NO EFFING ENDING !!!

Electric Ring vs BuffaloMan & RamenMan .....

Plain Ring vs RamenMan & Nazi P.O.S..... 10 is a round number maybe shell end at 10?

Ice Ring vs Robin & Ramen ....Yeah right !

Electric, WarsMan & Ramen.....shoot me !

Ice , Buffalo & P.O.S....Im trying to lose !

Electric Ring vs RamenMan and Brocken P.O.S. Jr
In the first round some glitch happened where I could not be removed from the electric ropes I assume this is a glitch and not how the game evolves to be harder. In the second round I had equally no shot of winning when Brocken Jr camped out on top of me repeatedly hitting me with the Nazi Gas Attack and bouncing me off the electrified ropes till I died reluctantly happy.


GET UP !!! 
Heres a pic of the Gas attack I took after the game since I was to busy losing to pause during an attack in game. Im playing as Brocken Jr this time .

Well all things must come to an end and I was getting tired of the endless line of repeat matches plus I had a list of things to do before Sub Boss woke from his nap. I looked online and don't seem to find anyone that says there is an ending nor did I see any "LongPlay" videos of the game that went near 13 matches most people seem to give up or lose at around Match 8. I actually had a lot of fun playing through this game since the M.US.C.L.E. toys and game were a fun part of my childhood. If you remember these toys then go look at Nathan's blog or some of the other Kinnikuman/Muscle sites to find some pics on ones you had as a kid or just to read more about an obscure property that could have been much bigger in N.America. I have recently picked up the sequel to this game which was released on Famicom Disk only. Quite a few more games were made after these most having to do with the revival series of Kinnikuman known in the U.S. as Ultimate Muscle which had a brief life here with only some of the cartoon airing on Fox. The PS2, Game Boy Advance and SNES games were Japan only and look great but the GameCube games were released here and are fun. I enjoyed them when they where first released, the cel shaded graphics did the show justice and the moves looked powerful in their execution the cast was a combination of the original characters and the second generation made up of their kids and old nemesis.


Below is the War Journal Notes... I need to buy a book for this since my small sketch pad is full I had to use my shopping list pad from kitchen. Till next time keep on gaming.


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