Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation

Game Reviews | Mar 3rd, 2005

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Company: Ban Dai
Platform: Gamecube
Buy on Amazon.com

What’s it about? In a world where wrestling is not only a sport, but also a way of life, a battle of epic proportions looms on the horizon. You must choose to fight for the side of good, or join the forces of evil in their quest to take over the world. Ultimate Muscle is based on the animated cartoon series, which is based on those little pink plastic figurines from the 80’s.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Right off the bat this game seems really goofy. The good thing is that the game is well done and the goofiness plays a part in the overall fun factor. This was one of the first games to use the cel shading technique and it fits the style of the game very well. The graphics are very eye pleasing with bright colors, large crazy looking characters, and outlandish animation.

There are a handful of play modes available such as Story Mode, VS Mode, and Tournament Mode. You can create your own character but the selection is lacking. Match types include one on one, tag team, and elimination battle royal mode. This is the point where you are thinking that this is just another wrestling game with impossible button combinations and ten different special meters. Wrong my fellow grappler.

Ultimate Muscle is more of a fighting game than it is a traditional wrestling game. There are a lot of kicks, punches, and charges mixed in with grappling moves and special moves. It’s like a cross between WWF No Mercy and Street Fighter II. The controls are fairly easy to master and performing special moves is a breeze. Once you figure out one characters’ moves, you have basically figured them all out. Special moves are easy to do and the animation are totally off the wall. During tag team matches, you can team with your partner to perform even crazier special moves. These animation are fun to watch and very entertaining.

There are 20 plus characters in the game with a handful of hidden characters with some being based on the original M.U.S.C.L.E toys and the rest being based on the newer cartoon. One cool feature that is available is the Toy Mode. Here you can unlock a couple hundred painted versions of the Muscle figures of old and some hidden characters by gaining currency from fighting battles and completing story modes.

Ultimate Muscle is a four-player game. You can duke it out with your friends in the tournament mode or partake in the multiplayer battle royal. The game and the graphics still flow smoothly with four players simultaneously on screen.

The bad. Because most characters moves are similar, there isn’t much to mastering the game. The story modes can get repetitive to a certain extent, and is only one player. Some of the sound bits during the story mode are just plain bad. It seems that for some of the characters this was intentional, but for others it seems out of place and awkward. There didn’t seem to be much time and effort put into actually writing a decent plot for some of the stories and they come of cheesy like an old kung fu flick. There’s also not much variety in the difficulty settings, and the create-a-character basically consists of piecing together a handful of existing character parts and changing their colors.

Replay Value: Overall Ultimate Muscle has more going for it than against it. The graphics and characters are nicely done and it’s great for fans of the old school M.U.S.C.L.E line. It doesn’t really bring anything new or innovative to the fighting genre but the outlandishness and the mix of wrestling and fighting styles mesh well together for an overall good time. The four-player capabilities will bring you and your friends back for more. If you are a wrestling fan and are sick of impossible button combinations or you are a fighting fan looking for a game that plays more like Marvel vs. Capcom than Soul Caliber pick up Ultimate Muscle. You might just have yourself a good time.

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