Saturday, November 11, 2023

Saturday Night Slam Masters (Arcade, 1993)


Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting!

Very Fist of the North Star looking artwork here on the Japanese cover art for the game. That's because this artwork was done by Tetsuo Hara, the legendary artist of... Fist of the North Star.


Playing this on the Capcom Arcade Stadium for PS4. There are two of these you can download, and each one has a different set of games available as DLC. They're all $1 each for the next week or so. I'd say it runs about $50 to get all of the games from both sets at the current price. Arcade Stadium 2 contains this game, and you've got a lot of other Capcom classics on there too like Mega Man Power Fighters and Knights of the Round.

You can also play the Japanese versions of the games. For example, this one: Muscle Bomber: The Body Explosion.



First thing we see is Not-Hulk Hogan ripping off his shirt. Who is this guy? He's not a playable character in the game. More on this later.

When this game was released, wrestling was in a bit of a transitional period with Hulk Hogan winding down (temporarily) and business in general entering a bit of a slump. However, at the time this would have been developed (1992), it was still going fairly strong with Hogan and Ric Flair at the top and people like Bret Hart and Yokozuna rising.

I'm focusing on the WWF though, and this game clearly took some inspiration from New Japan and WCW as well.

Eight characters, and all of them are flashy and interesting as is Capcom tradition. What's really surprising is that the first/main? guy you can select is Biff Slamkovich, a Russian brawler.

Wait a minute...the Russian isn't a villain? He's heroic and stuff? Are you sure? Very surprising for a game from 1993. Then again, as John Connor said in 1991, "aren't they our friends now?"

Sadly, us being friends would be back to being unheard of here in 2023.

Next is Gunloc, who is basically Guile. He's the American equivalent to Biff Slamkovich. USA! USA!

Something jumping out at me right off the bat is the heights of these guys. They'd all be goliaths in modern wrestling, where it seems like 5'10'' has become common.

There is surprisingly only one Japanese wrestler in the game, and it's this Oni guy. He wears a mask and dances about. Basically he's Asuka.

Titan is sort of a combination of Andore from Final Fight and T-Hawk from Street Fighter II. Bear in mind that this was created by many of the same devs as those games.

Stingray is a masked luchadore, representing that style. He's probably the shortest character overall at 5'6''.

...he would also be a goliath in 2023. HEYOOOOO

Next we've got my main man Mike Haggar, Mayor of Metro City and father to noted smokeshow Jessica. He's taking a break from cleaning up the mean streets to do some wrestling and try to win the title.

I think this was intended to sorta be his "other job" all along, since Final Fight notes that he was a pro wrestler before running for Mayor.

Next is Alexander the Grater. That...that's Vader, you guys. I want to see him do a! Graterbomb!

1992-1993 was a huge era for Vader, as he dominated the ranks of WCW and killed his foes Brock Lesnar style until eventually being stopped by a returning Ric Flair at Starrcade '93. Which is, for my money, the best Starrcade main event ever and worth seeing.

Last but not least, we have Rasta. The only character I don't really like. Well, Oni doesn't really do anything for me either. Regardless, Rasta attacks by leaping onto his foes and biting, and is generally a caveman. He probably eats turnbuckles too.

Stingray's got a real mouth on him. I don't know if Haggar has a sister. Should have mentioned his daughter, that would get him mad.

The characters have full-on wrestling-style entrances which is awesome. This is at its core a standard Capcom fighting game, but they added enough Wrestling Flair to make it stand out.

Stingray is probably the easiest foe the game is gonna throw at me, and gives himself a piledriver.

Somehow I still managed to lose. Yikes. This quite hard. Just depleting your opponent's life meter isn't enough, you have to score a knockdown and a pin.

Course, the real place the game shines is the four-player insanity. Had fun doing this in AEW Fight Forever, even if it turns into a schmozz. In this case I'm only doing 1P Saturday Slamming so I had to yoink shots from the internet. Here's a shot from the SNES version.

Next I try GRATER. ...what the hell is wrong with Rasta?

He's got the full Vader entrance with the weird suit of armor. This is incredible. I hope Vader got royalties though.



Grater with a clothesline!

This calls for a gif.

BOOM. Shoulder tackle.


I finally manage to win a match! One thing stands out: This game would have been perfect if the characters had wrestling-style finishers they could pull off to end a match. Trying to knock a foe over to get the pin, while they run around at zero health, can sometimes be a pain.

Oni is a guy who just kinda does nothing for me. The pink hair makes him totally unintimidating.

Vader with a HUGE BACKDROP! I end up losing though. This game is hard!

Next I switch to Biff Slamkovich. They continue to surprise me by going all-in with his Russian-ness.


This guy really is a heroic good guy? Capcom must have taken Rocky's speech from Rocky IV to heart.

Here's Gunloc. He isn't really a Guile clone or anything but he is similar. Amazed that he isn't the "main hero" centerpiece rather than Biff, given his America-ness. Though in the Japanese box art (at the top) they have Biff and Gunloc front and center facing off. A friendly rivalry, no doubt. Yeah, I'm just really impressed with this game's geopolitics.

This Oni guy is really becoming a pain in the ass! I can't get past him!

Outside the ring are weapons, and you can roll out there to pick them up and club your foe. This requires your foe to follow you out though, and if they're too smart for that, they might just stay in the ring and make obscene gestures instead.

I finally get a win by beating him up outside and then rolling back in to beat the 20-count (yes, 20). Which is how I won almost all of my matches in WWF Warzone for PS1 back in the day.

Unfortunately now I meet my match with Titan. This jean shorts wearing freak no-sells everything and he's almost impossible to knock down.

On my best go I managed to fully deplete his HP, but I couldn't get him off his feet to do a pin, and eventually he got me.

Gonna try another game out of this massive roster of like 50 games. these Capcom arcade collections are incredible. I wish there was a Konami one too.

Forgotten Worlds is some sort of jet pack shooter, which is a fun change from the usual space shooter in this genre. Maybe I'll take a deeper look at this some time.

"See anything you like?"

Yes, actually, we do.

Back to Muscle Bomber: The Body Explosion. This time I'm playing as Haggar. And yeah, I was nearly gonna let this game go by the wayside until I decided to take another stab at it and actually learn to play.

When Haggar wins a match, his hot daughter runs in. No sign of Cody or Guy anywhere.

Haggar is so polite and honorable, he visits his defeated opponents in the hospital.



I manage to take down Titan this time. The key are moves that have an auto-pin attached. Haggar has a powerbomb and all the other characters most likely have a pinning move too. With moves like this, you don't need to get your opponent off their feet. Just deplete their HP and hit the move. Sometimes you can even get a 3 count when their HP isn't empty, as seen here.



Defeat all of the playable characters and it's time to fight the two bosses: The Giant (Big Show) and Sting, the pillars of 1997 WCW.

Big Show is actually Jumbo, this massive dude who moves like a cat. And again, really can't be knocked down.

Damn he just destroyed Gunloc! Who can stop Jumbo's reign of pain?

Gunloc's nemesis-turned-friend Biff Slamkovich ends the Cold War by avenging the loss and putting Jumbo down with a bridging German Suplex.

I switch back to Haggar for the final boss: Scorp. Who is the Sting of this equation.

He's more like an amalgamation of several legendary Japanese wrestlers, like Great Muta and Hayabusa.

Scorp easily beats Biff. This guy is the toughest opponent in the game, and his speed is a PITA to deal with. I'll need some luck to get past this fight.

Some luck...and Mike Haggar! Seen here getting killed with a jump kick!

After a whole bunch of attempts, I finally win with the powerbomb. If you can call this a "win" since Haggar was on death's door.

This is gonna be a lot of guys to visit in the hospital. Not sure if Haggar really has time for this.

Haggar is the new ::checks notes:: CWA champion, and claims the big blue belt.

However, he is immediately challenged for Triple B by...this guy! It's the guy from the intro who looks like Hogan. He comes out and has a staredown with our hero, and then leaves. That was weird. No final fight with him? I looked into it, and no, you don't actually fight this guy. He was the previous champion and retired without ever losing, now he's back to challenge the current champion. Seems like a very Hogan '93 move. There IS more to the game though. Sort of a "second quest" where you fight the nine characters again, this time as a defending champion. Pretty much the same game though.

In any case, this guy is Victor Ortega, not to be confused with my boy Victor Wong, or noted filmmaker Kenny Ortega. He's sort of the "Big Bad" of this series. Wait, series? Yeah, there were several more of these games released in Japan. Victor Ortega is the big boss in the second game, which is based around his showdown with the previous champion.

So this ending was legitimately only there to hype up a future game. How often do you see that in games? It's...very wrestling of them.



  1. All-time favorite game of mine, really would love to see something, anything, done with it nowadays.

    Sequel's very different from the first one (This one is more wrestling with fighting elements and the sequel is more of a straight up fighter where you can do wrestling moves here n' there), but it's still fun, as all my hours playing against random folks online years ago can attest.

    1. Nice. Maybe I should track down the follow-ups. They successfully made me want to battle Victor Ortega with his Hogan-esque stealing the thunder of the new champion.