TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Saturday Night Slam Masters’ doesn’t need wrestling stars to throw down
Happy Thanksgiving! Football may be the sport that comes to mind today, but because we’re talking about games I’m thankful for this month, we’re going to tackle wrestling instead.
Wrestling video games had not yet entered a boom when today’s Turn to Channel 3 topic burst onto the scene on the Super Nintendo in the early ‘90s, so what makes “Saturday Night Slam Masters” one of my favorite games? Well, let’s head to the ring to find out!
“Saturday Night Slam Masters” (SNES)
It’s difficult to fathom, but “Saturday Night Slam Masters” was tasked with creating a fun, entertaining, and just downright awesome wrestling game without the ability to use licensed names that were big in the wrestling world at the time. Without WWF or WCW being a force behind it, Capcom, as on fire as it was, had a big mountain to climb in creating an authentic and genuine pro wrestling experience. They started with what they were already great at, and that’s composing a great soundtrack.
Each character has their own theme music, and each location has different match music that adds to the ambience of the whole experience. While there isn’t much in the way of sound effects, there are enough slams, suplexes, and top rope attacks to keep the adrenaline pumping.
“Saturday Night Slam Masters” also appears on the Sega Genesis, and while I plan on touching more on the differences in gameplay, I want to say as someone who has played both ports that the SNES has both clearer, crisper sound as well as more defined graphics.
Each character is well done and defined in muscle tone, hair, and form. The game keeps up well with the action in the ring, and the crowd looks lively enough for a wrestling game.
The other side of the coin with the Sega Genesis port versus the Super Nintendo port is the lack of Death Match Mode on the SNES, which is a shame because there’s something distinctively ‘90s Attitude Era/ECW about a barbwire match with weapons that is missing from this SNES port, but with parents and critics of violence in video games at the time hounding Nintendo, it was unfortunately not allowed here.
That aside, the modes present here are still great with singles and tag modes, both of which lead to championships, with each match progressively more difficult than the last in addition to having to defend those titles in another tour of the wrestling world. Some characters are tough to master, and some are ridiculously cheap (Here’s lookin’ at you, Mayor Haggar!), but there is someone here for every gamer to master, and this is truly a perfect hybrid of wrestling and fighting games.
“Saturday Night Slam Masters,” despite the lack of a barbaric Death Match Mode, still packs a punch without the use of any Hogans, Harts, Austins, or Flairs, and that’s saying something. Hovering in the $25-$30 range, it is a decent price for a fun pick up and play type of game and perfect for any SNES-collecting wrestling fan this holiday season.
Well, that does it for me. Tune in next week as we finish up the month with the peculiar (but fun!) “Tecmo Cup Soccer” on the NES!
Until then, pass the turkey and game on!