Replay Value: 5
What is it about Rumble Roses that makes it worth buying (or at least a rental)?
Yes, that's what makes Rumble Roses worth the outlay.
Konami's all-female rasslin' game opens with an almost pornographic introduction showing the girls strutting their stuff, to the background tune of a woman belting out the lyrics to David Lee Roth's "Yankee Rose." The intro pretty much sets the stage for everything else to come.
Depending on your point of view, you can pick from any of 11 or 22 different female wrestlers. The distinction here comes from the fact that there are actually only 11 separate women, but each has an alternate costume and personality that can be unlocked by fighting a certain way. The term "costume" is used only loosely anyway, considering how skimpy some of these outfits are. Names like Miss Spencer "The Task Master" and Dixie Clements the "3 Count Cowgirl" ought to give you some idea of what to expect.
The controls and wrestling action are pretty good. Konami teamed up with Yuke's, the dev team behind the WWE Smackdown! series, so it's no surprise that Rumble Roses looks and plays similarly. Each button on the controller has a specific function (square to use fists and feet, x to dash, triangle to grapple, circle to pin, R1 to block, etc.), but the important thing here is that grapples, submissions, and take downs are ridiculously easy to perform. Once you have the opponent in a grapple (by pressing the triangle button), all you need to do to perform a take down or transition into a sick submission is tap a direction on the control stick and press the triangle button again. Reversals and counters are possible, and you can also perform finishing moves (called "lethal" or "humiliation" moves here) by pressing L1 or L2 once the indicator is full.
Also similar to Yuke's other wrestling games, you can wear down an opponent's body parts individually by repeatedly attacking them. For example, kicking the opponent in the head while they're down will decrease the stamina level for their head, which in turn decreases the amount of time they have to wiggle out of submission holds. The arms, legs, head, and body can be targeted separately.
Nevertheless, let's be honest here--you're interested in Rumble Roses because you want to see scantily clad babes slap each other silly and finish the match with an obscene humiliation move. There's no shame in that. We chauvinist pigs have wanted a game like this for years, and finally Konami has delivered. The wrestler models and costumes are very attractive (the kinds of things you'd buy your girlfriend at Hot Topic, if only she'd actually wear them) and the animation and camera angles have been programmed to play up both jiggle and crotch shots. Throw an opponent into the ropes or slam her into the mat and her fun bags will bounce lewdly. When you perform a power slam, the camera actually pauses for a second while the opponent's legs are spread just to give you a good view of the camel toe. If that weren't enough, every girl has her own humiliation move that you can perform once the opponent is embarrassed enough. Fill up the heart indicator and your wrestler will hog tie, bite, and spank the opponent like so much cheap meat.
Suffice to say, people with raging hormones and fiery libidos will get the most out of Rumble Roses. If degrading women and ogling their assets isn't your idea of a good time, you'll want to stay far away from this one.
From a purely technical standpoint, the graphics and audio aren't spectacular. The pre-match introductions that play up the lingerie and thongs the women wear are lusty, and the polygon wrestler models are large and crisp, but there's nothing here that wasn't done just as good (perhaps better) a few years ago in WWE Here Comes The Pain. The animation is fluid and the transitions between moves are smooth, but you'll notice things like arms going through heads or hands sometimes not touching the opponent when you perform grapples and take downs. Likewise, the rings look okay although there isn't much of interest going on except for spectators shaking their fists or a jumbotron displaying a duplicate view of the action. Once in a while, you'll notice a giant banner for a Konami game, such as Metal Gear Solid 3 or Gradius V, that may or may not elicit a smile if you're into those games. The audio consists mainly of the sounds of fists and feminine whining, along with a dozen or so musical tracks that can only be described as J-Rock (rock music performed by Japanese vocalists).
It's too bad that Konami kind-of skimped out in terms of overall features. Twenty-two (or 11, whichever you prefer) wrestlers is enough for this sort of game, but the main menu only includes two play modes and a gallery where you can watch the girls contort themselves into obscene poses. There's a story mode, where you pick a girl and climb the ranks toward the title, and an exhibition mode, where you can setup single matches and pick and choose the vows involved. The main difference between the two modes is that the story mode has cinematic intermissions and unlocks new swimsuits for the mud ring, while the exhibition mode has a "vows" system that lets you alter the women's personalities from face to heel, or vice versa. In a nutshell, vows are goals that you try to attempt during a match--things like not using weapons, defeating the opponent with a humiliation move, or reversing an opponent's counter move. Some vows add to your character's heel rating, while others increase her face rating. In order to select a character's alternate personality, you have to accomplish vows that change their personality from one to the other. It's an interesting gimmick, but it sure doesn't make up for the fact that there are only two modes and four rings (one of which is a mud ring).
All told, Rumble Roses is a one trick pony--a no-frills wrestling game that tries to compensate for its lack of modes and options by providing all-out titillation. If that's what you're looking for, then, by all means, rush out and buy this game. You won't be disappointed. Just don't expect a rich experience underneath the jiggling flesh.