home  |  about us  |  the crew  |  staffing  |  archives  |  contact  |  advertising  |  search  |  legal    

by James Alsup III

In Japan, professional wrestling, or Puroresu, is more popular as it is in the United States. Wrestlers Tiger Mask and Jushin "Thunder" Liger have had anime and manga based on their exploits. Japan has also had a lot of pro wrestling video games. 32-bit games Tokuon Retsudan and Fire Man Pro revolutionized the way wrestling games were made. So, how would the Dreamcast's first wrestling title play? Let me put it to you this way: This game was designed by Sega's AM2 development team. Giant Gram features the stars of All Japan Pro Wrestling: the late, great Giant Baba, Mitsuharu Misawa, Johnny Ace, Akira Taue, Stan "The Lariat" Hansen, Hiroshi Hase, Jun Akiyama, Vader, Kenta Kobayashi, Toshiaki Kawada, Gary Albright, and Wolf Hawkfield (yes, there is a real wrestler based off of Wolf Hawkfield from Virtua Fighter). If that wasn't enough, there are 3 characters included from Virtua Fighter: Wolf Hawkfield (the Virtua Fighter Version), Jeffry McWild, and Kagemaru. There are also 4 hidden wrestlers. AND, as if that wasn't enough, you can make your own wrestler.

Title Giant Gram
System Sega Dreamcast
Players 1-4
Catalog # HDR-0005
Price ¥5800
Street Date Available NOW


This game has a ton of Japanese text. You can play the game without reading Japanese, but modes like the VMS game and the create-a-character function are extremely difficult to get through. I fooled around with character creation for a bit, but I soon became frustrated because I don't read Japanese.

This game is not unlike your traditional fighting game, a few joypad movements and a combination of buttons will let you pull off any move. The X button is the Attack, A is Hold, and B is Throw. Giant Gram's controls are based on the rock-paper-scissors system. Attack is greater than Throw, Throw is greater than Hold, Hold is greater than attack. That means that this game isn't a button masher's wet dream *cough* Marvel v. Capcom *cough*. You have to think about what you're going to do. But one of the coolest things is the reversal system. If you're in a hold and start pressing the A button, you can get out of almost any move and if you're good, you can pull off a move of your own. The trick is to hit the A button at exactly the right moment. You'll get a rush the first time you figure out how to get out of a belly to back suplex and turn it into a tiger bomb or a pile driver. Tres cool. All of the high flying moves that are a trademark of puroresu are here. Hurracaranas, Power Bombs, the Tiger Driver, even the dragon screw kick. If you work on one part of your opponent's body, you can snap their bones.

Wow. That's all I can say. The wrestlers LOOK like their real-life counterparts. They MOVE like their counterparts. They even grimace in pain when in submission holds. The only problem is that the spectators look like cardboard cutouts up close. From a distance, they look great. But, since there's no flickering, no pop ups, and no draw in, I'll let it slide. This time.

All of the wrestler's entrance themes are included. There is an announcing team that sounds like it's actually responding to the action in the ring. The crowd gets behind you when you pull off complex moves. It sounds just like a wrestling match!

I didn't think any game would dethrone WWF Warzone on the Playstation as my favorite wrestling title. Then Giant Gram came along. It's not just a great wrestling game. It's a great game period. You'll get hours of joy from this title. And, since up to 4 people can play, the game has that much more replay value.

@a! Rating
out of 4.




      ©1999-2021 Animetro Studios, a division of Skyfall Communications LLC.
      @anime! and the @anime! logo are trademarks of Animetro Studios. All rights reserved.