In Defense of Fire Pro Wrestling Iron Slam ’96 (and why it didn’t work.)

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Since Fire Pro Wrestling World Early Access has dropped over Steam I’ve re-immersed into the History of the Greatest and Longest running Wrestling Game Series in the WORLD (Pun Intended)

I’ve gone back and Played my Favorites.

Fire Pro Wrestling Queen’s Special for the Super Famicom, Fire Pro Wrestling D for the Sega Dreamcast and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns for the Playstation 2.

On top of that I’ve been pulling Stats from Past Games to make Updated Edit’s in World and I’m simply lost in a Nostalgic Haze of what my youth was comprised of while I’m on the shelf temporally.


All this got me thinking, what about Iron Slam ’96? Human’s Effort to Port their Fantastic Game Engine into 3D for the Original Playstation. I remember playing it when I was young and remembered not getting too deep into it. The Fire Pro community always viewed it as a Blemish in the Rich History of the Series, until Fire Pro Wrestling came out for the Xbox Live Market Place. Which was another failed attempt at making a 3D Fire Pro using Xbox Avatars as the Models for the Characters. Rightfully so as well, as this game was really REALLY bad.

video credit of YouTube user ITSMYYARD


I thought to myself, “why not give Iron Slam ’96 another shot?”

So I did, and it wasn’t as bad as I think people make it out to be!

Alright, that’s Bullshit. It’s Bad. Just as Bad as The Avatar Debacle, however it did have potential.

I found for myself the more I played it that if it was given more time to develop it could have worked, but in the end the Product feels like it was rushed out on what I can only assume was a deadline. The basic movement translated well, you still had to position yourself correctly for strikes and grapples. I would even say I had a easy time connecting with most standing strikes. Running ones were another story.

Western Lariatooooooo!  Star Bison “Stan Hansen” Unleashes his Special Attack on Joh Kajiwara “Yoshiaki Fujiwara”.


I had a difficult time fine tuning the timing of running attacks, it almost felt as if the scale of the ring simply wasn’t big enough to execute the moves within the range of the Irish-Whip. For those that know how important timing is in Fire Pro this problem can be very frustrating, and probably is the answer to why the ring in a lot of the later installments of the game is so large.


Something to think about…

Speaking of timing I was surprised how well the timing for standing grapples felt just right! Also the pace of the animations feels a bit sluggish but it works due to the selling animations added to the mix of some attacks. It made it excusable in my opinion, unfortunately the timing of Corner Grapples feels terribly off. Like impossible for me to hit. So no Superplex on my play through, much to my dismay.


The CPU logic for some Wrestlers is way off as well, I had a Match with Red Kaiser (Liger) and all he did for two minutes was spammed the same Medium Strike.


Yet another Red Flag was how sometime the Wrestlers would get stuck trying to walk around the ring, resulting in the flow of the game being a overall Eyesore.


But then, something happened that brought a Huge Smile to my Face, forgive the quality of the video.


They have a Surf Rock Song on the Soundtrack, and it’s catchy. So catchy I’m going to rip the audio and play it on Road Trips. Another huge gripe I had was I didn’t come across any real indicator for a CRITICAL! Which is Fire Pro’s Dramatic K.O. feature. I had one happen but the Wrestler just laid on the mat like normal. The Ref just rolled up and called the match. No Screen Splash, Sound Effect or the Chalk Outline Pose after the Move. Just Ref stoppage. That’s just sad…


A image example of what a CRITICAL! is supposed to look like.


All in all, there really no defense to Iron Slam. But it could have been a conditioner.


The last glaring issues with the game is the size of the roster, we get 12 Wrestlers to chose from that’s it. No Tag Matches and most depressing of all is No Edit Modes.

                                     What you see is regrettably what you get. 


This Game as Well as Fire Pro Wrestling for the Xbox Live Arcade show that the Life Blood of the Series is not in the Graphics. It’s in the Gameplay, the Roster, the Match Options and the ability to Edit Key Features inside the Game itself.


If given the time this game could have IRONed Out (Pun intended yet again) the gameplay and offered a Little more content, if this would have happened it may have changed the series forever.

Regardless of all this Fire Pro Holding True to it’s 2D roots is a testament to just how solid the game is. If you haven’t got on the band wagon yet, now is the time!


You can start by checking out Fire Pro Wrestling World Early Access over Steam and see what all the Hubbub is about, A PS4 release is coming in the near future, so if you don’t have Steam keep your eyes peeled!



Over and Out,





1 comments on “In Defense of Fire Pro Wrestling Iron Slam ’96 (and why it didn’t work.)”

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