Eat! Fat! FIGHT!/Tsuppari Oozumou Wii Heya for WiiWare: Yay or Nay?

Started by treismac, January 04, 2013, 11:48:49 pm

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My five year old son enjoys playing Tecmo's Tsuppari Sumo series for the Famicom and Super Famicom with me, so I was considering purchasing the Wii update to the series for us to play. Anyone played this and able to give me a recommendation or warning? Bear in mind, my son and I both like sumo and he has no qualms with either button mashing or swinging the wiimote about like a crazed orchestra conductor.


In case anyone is curious, I did buy it, and here is what I have to say:  While it maintains much of the spirit of the earlier games in the series, I feel  Eat! Fat! FIGHT! would have benefited from a great deal of polish, thought, and care.  It does some things better and some things worse than the pther games in the Tsuppari series.  The game is fun, especially with two players, but it smacks a bit of Wii ShovelWare in the execution of the actual gameplay and graphics despite some nice touches in the game.

The Tsuppari series is, admittedly, a button-masher at its heart, with a bit of nuance tossed in with the ability to counter attacks.  Eat! Fat! FIGHT!  stays true to this, adding the motion element of the wiimote to further muddle the awkward dance between you and the controller.  When my son asks how I managed to perform certain moves, I can't really give him an answer with any certitude.  If the play control of the Tsuppari series always felt a little bit like you were drunkenly trying to play jenga underwater in a dream, having to tilt the wiimote added roller skates.  Over the top critiques aside, the Wii's entry into the series has, hands down, the best striking mechanics in the series between the Famicom, PC-Engine, and Super Famicom entries in the series.  Fortunately, the striking/slapping does not make use of motion control and is far superior in its usefulness in the game's fighting and in the actual ability to reliably execute it.  This improvement in the game is starkly noticeable after playing the other games in the series where "the slap" isn't a viable move to pull out from the repertoire of fighting moves at your disposal.

My biggest complaint is the mish mash of different graphic styles that comprise the visual of the game.  The rikishi (sumo wrestlers) have the generic Miis look that would have dazzled my eyes had it been on the N64, while the audience and background have a decidedly colorful anime look to them.  If you can't imagine this working, it is because it doesn't.  Probably more than anything else, this gives the game the taste of ShovelWare that I mentioned earlier, making it look like a rushed and gimmicky attempt to cash in on the marriage of the novelty of the Wii and lack of discernment of its casual gamers.  As I am sure others do, neither my son or me use our Mii's avatar as they look out of place without a top knot, so this character design departure from the earlier games in the series is a overall minus.  Perhaps someone who likes using their Miis and has never played a game in the series will love it, but I was turned off by it.

The training mini-games, which for the most part depend on the wiimote's motion controls, are a mixed bag.  I dislike the generic point at matching groups of foods game that is used to fatten up your sumo.  On the new Wii U's touchpad controller it would have sucked less, but using the wiimote to point at the screen is tedious and as much fun as using the interface to type.  Despite the relief of not having to use the motion control with the sparring mini-game, it adds nothing to the overall experience as it is essentially the same as the normal matches except you have to try to beat as many opponents as possible before losing.  The striking practice has a rhythm/timing element to it plus having to use the controller in a traditional way: win.  The stomping/balance game could have probably benefited from the motion plus control upgrade, but it is still sorta fun to execute.  If it were not for having to eat every other time before a match, I'd say the mini-games were fun.  As it is, I'm leaning towards thinking that the game's flow and overall experience would be better off without them.

There are some nice touches in the game that are worth mentioning.  I really enjoy seeing both the Japanese and English name for the term of the winning move of the match.  As a fan of the sport of sumo, this is appreciated.  There are a bunch of different rings to choose from.  Currently, I've unlocked seven and there are still more to go.  Three was the most available in the Super Famicom Tsuppari game.  The charge meter is a cool addition, even though there could have been a cooler meter than the white toast left to right arrow meter.  Still, the game is better for it.

Some minuses that merit some legitimite complaint.  The Tecmo bunny gyōji (referee) is replaced by a human one.  This sucks.  The Tecmo mascot was on the Famicom and Super Famicom version adding a bit of charm and levity, and now that he is gone the game feels all the more personality less for it with the stock Mii graphics of the characters clomping around the screen.  The sound effects could be better.  Being a button-mashing beat 'em up, the overall experience could use any all pizazz and fireworks that it can get.  One source of fireworks missing from the previous game are the throws.  The other two games had funny and over the top throws that made you chuckle here and there.   There are some American Wrestling style throws added, but they aren't clever in the same way as, say, hurling  your opponent up in the atmosphere and having to move out of the way while you preemptively celebrate your victory, lest he land on you and rob you of your victory.  Cartwheeling and pancaked, flattened sumos are also gone.  It is always a shame that new developers of a sequel don't do their homework better and bring back the great touches from the previous game that added so much to the past games' charm.  A awkward and patronizing addition to the game is female rikishi.  They are all by and large weak and stand out like sore thumbs with their weird looking "intertube" uniforms.  Better to have left them out then to attempt failed equality.  Yet another victim of the Mii motif.   

Overall, the game is still fun with its shortcomings, and it has some replay value as a two player game to kick around here and there.  I don't know if I could recommend the game to non-sumo fans at $10, though, which says a good bit.  The game's biggest strength is that it is a competent sumo game in North America.  While this definitely comes off as a back handed compliment (and it should), don't let this turn you off from the game if you are a fan of sumo.  Emulate the Famicom and Super Famicom entries into the Tsuppari series.  If you like them, there is more than a good chance that you will enjoy Eat! Fat! FIGHT! for WiiWare.  There really is nothing else quite like the game, so if you enjoy the earlier games, have a friend who might be game to play it, and $10 burning a hole in your checking account's pocket, go ahead and give it a shot.