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Def Jam Fight for N.Y


Romier S
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So the release of Def Jam is at hand and I see no one even remotely anticipating this game. I can not overstate how much I enjoyed playing the demo. A great many of us got together recently in Virginia and the demo for Def Jam was the most played game for almost a whole day straight. It was that fun. The demo included 5 playable characters and one arena. I can only imagine what 40+ characters and a slew of interactive arena's will hold in terms of visceral fun. The game also includes a create-a-wrestler for those interested in making thier very own hip hop legend.

 

Fans of the old WWF Aki games will love the grappling system (the game is Aki developed folks). Don't pass this one up guys. Give it a rental at the very least. Even if the hip hop vibe doesn't do it for you.

 

Gamespot just posted thier review also:

 

http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/defjamv...ta2/review.html

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Gamespot's Review is in and they give all three version an 8.7. Below is an excerpt from the review about the match types. I cannot wait for this to arrive from Gamefly. :)

 

Once you've had your way with the story mode, you'll find yourself turning to Fight for NY's multiplayer matches, of which there are plenty. Every type of fight you can participate in from the story mode is available in the game's battle mode, ranging from simple brawls in basements and bars to cage matches, subway matches, demolition matches, inferno matches, window matches, and beyond. Just to give you a couple of examples of what some of these crazier matches are like, the subway match challenges you to fight inside a subway station and beat your opponent either by knocking him or her out or by throwing him or her in front of an oncoming subway train. Demolition matches take place inside a parking garage, and within your fight area are two SUVs. You can use these as weapons by throwing your opponent through the windshield, tossing him or her onto the hood, or smashing him or her in the door. The game also features two-on-two team battles, as well as a free-for-all match for up to four players. The only feature missing here (on the PS2 and Xbox anyway) is online connectivity, and this is disappointing. However, there's more than enough offline multiplayer variety to keep Fight for NY entertaining, so long as you have some friends who are willing to come over and play along with you.

 

-Dean-

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I finally sat down yesterday with Def Jam after finally taking out Battlefront from my Xbox. I was immediately impressed by the production values (it's EA afterall,so it was not much of a suprise). The menu layout, hip hop soundtrack, atmosphere etc. are all extremely well done. I didn't want to immediately jump into the story mode as I wanted to get a handle on the controls and modes that were available for play. Keep in mind these impressions are of the Xbox version of the game.

 

As a stark contrast to the slick presentation, the games' manual is atrocious. It doesn't explain even the most rudimentary gameplay mechanic and leaves you completely in the dark. I played a few battle matches just to familiarize myself and it took a good 30 minutes to get back into the groove of things (having had experience with this engine before). Anyone familiar with the AKI WWF games will be right at home but will need to make some modifications to thier gameplay style. For those that have had no exposure to the AKI engine I'll go into a little more detail.

 

The games grapple system uses a weak and strong grapple to allow each fighter to pull of his signature moves. Instead of mapping each grapple to an individual button as it has been in the past however, the developers decided to institute the "Strong Modifier" button. On the Xbox controller this is the left trigger. If you simply tap the A button your fighter will do a weak grapple. If you hold the left trigger and then tap the A button your character will execute a strong grapple (for more powerful moves). You can then use the X or the Y button in conjunction with the directional pad to pull off a variety of moves.

 

Striking works much the same way. Tapping the X and Y buttons will execute an kick and punch attack respectively. Continually hitting these buttons will award you with various combination strikes that can rack up some serious cash. Holding down the "Strong Modifier" button will execute more powerful striking attacks. These attacks are best used to lay down the final KO on your opponent. Some fighting styles like the Street Fighter and Kickboxer can KO thier opponents with one powerful shot (and its very impressive to see).

 

Once I got past the initial learning curve (and I earned enough points playing Battle mode to unlock a hidden wrestler) I decided to dive into the story mode. Here you are treated to an initial cut scene explaining how you fit into the story of Def Jam and then it moves right into the create-a-fighter mode. After inputting your profile name you will choose one of the games fighting styles which will dictate what kind of fighter your character will be (Wrestler? Kickboxer? Street Fighter?). Once selected you will be able to change the appearance of your newly made gangsta. I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed in the lack of variety the game offers you in creating your avatar. Limited hairstyles, eyes, facial features etc. Also there is a very limited amount of "gear" to choose from so you are left with a very bland character to start the game off with. Thankfully this changes very quickly when you enter the meat of the story mode or as the game calls it, the "Crib".

 

The Crib is the area of the game that allows you to access your wardrobe, voice mail, email and also the game map where you can select what club you will be fighting in (so that you can earn money and a reputation) as well as the various shops that will allow you to really customize your characters look and spend that hard earned cash. The downtown clothing shop is where you can buy everything from jackets to armbands. After you are done outfitting your fighter you can head on over to the jewelry shop where you can get you some bling bling. There is also a barbershop and tatoo parlor. Each of these shops will continually be upgraded over the course of the story mode with new hairstyles, jewelry, clothing etc. Once I got a taste of what these shops had to offer, any worries I may have had about variety completely melted away. There are just a ton of options available (all previewable before you buy) and you'll no doubt spend a good amount of time checking out how this hoody looks on or how those boots fit.

 

The look of your character is also very important as it has a bearing on how much the audience gets behind you in a fight. If you look like a bitch ass little poser it will be much harder to keep momentum on your side in a fight. Come in decked with out in gold and platinum and you'll start amassing fans quickly.

 

Momentum is important in your character having the ability to perform his blaze maneuver. Blaze moves are the equivalant of the WWE finishers you see in games like Smackdown or Day of Reckoning. The difference here is the finishers in Def Jam are just gut-wrenchingly exquisite. Every Blaze move is so over the top and just downright painful that you will find yourself in awe of how the other guy can manage to get back up afterwards! Taking advantage of the blaze move is as simple as flicking the right thumbstick when your momentum meter is full. You have a limited amount of time to execute the blaze finisher and considering the fights in Def Jam are decided by who has the momentum, well just don't miss. ;)

 

Once you have participated in a few fights your character will begin to amass development points which can be used to further you fighting attributes (which are broken down into upper strength, lower strength, speed, toughness and health). You can also choose to learn multiple fighting styles (up to two others) to deepen your repertoire of moves. Even cooler is the fact that as you defeat other fighers you will unlock thier Blaze moves giving you the ability to purchase them. You can the assign a Blaze move for each direction of the right thumbstick. Multiple ways to inflict pain is a very good thing. :tu: One caveat I have is that I was not able to find a way to assign specific "regular" moves for your character. These seem to be determined by what fighting style you selected at the beginning of the story mode. Hopefully by purchasing more fighting styles I'm given the option to assign my own moves as I see fit (fingers are crossed)

 

The story portion of the game is moved along via cutscenes as well as email and voice mails from the rest of your crew and D-Mob (the guy you are working for). It seems Crow (played by Snoop Dogg) is trying to move in on D-Mobs' territory and you've got help him beat the living shit out of Crows' fighters to gain back lost clubs and hangouts that the crew considers important. You will move from club to club fighting your way through crew after crew until you finally get to Crow himself.

 

I've touched upon how the fighting engine functions but how does it feel? Fast! Its the best word to describe it. One of the biggest complaints leveled against Def Jam Vendetta was that it was still the same plodding/methodical engine AKI used for its WCW/WWF games only with hip hop artists replacing the wrestlers. Def Jam completely changes that. The engine is fast and furious, playing more like a fighting game than an actual wrestler. Early on, I felt the matches really didn't last long enough and the competition didn't put up enough of a fight. However the game does a great job of easing you into its difficulty. Once you reach artists like Sean Paul and Ice-T you'll notice your matches lasting longer and longer and your controller being thrown farther and farther.

 

You see, it's very difficult to come back from a beat down in this game when the difficulty ramps up. Considering the aim in Def Jam is not to pin your opponent but to knock his ass out in whatever way possible, (be it by slamming his head into a wall, or using your Blaze move to knock him into the middle of next weeek) its very easy for the AI to control the match early and to keep control of it until you've landed on the floor wondering what the hell happened. Just keep that in mind before you start getting cocky.

 

There is so much more that I can cover with these impressions (including the BEVY of multiplayer modes) but I would like to get some more time with the game before doing that. In the meantime I highly recommend buying this to any fighting fans out there. Its an exceptionally well put together game with a really kick ass engine and the most painful moves ever to grace a videogame.

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Got totally engrossed in the game and was kicking some serious ass until I got to Ice-T in Club 357. Tried to beat him 6 times and failed.

 

I'm sure there's a lot more to this game than what I played, but Romier is right: the manual is absolutely atrocious. I still have yet to get 100% used to the controls because I keep hitting the wrong buttons to do stuff.

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Got totally engrossed in the game and was kicking some serious ass until I got to Ice-T in Club 357. Tried to beat him 6 times and failed.

 

Take care of the opponents in the next club above Club 357 Anthony. You will then have trained your character enough to deal with Ice-T.

 

I just beat Crack last night (Fat Joe) and MAN he was a big fat pain in the freaking ass. Took me 12 tries to finally beat him and I gotta tell ya, I was seriously frustrated the whole damn time. The computer AI can be ridiculously unfair and amazingly can come back from the most severe beat down (While you will end up getting KO'd no matter how hard you try). On the plus side when I did finally stuff my boot in the guys face for the knock out, I talked more shit to the TV screen than I've ever talked before!

 

This is definitely a game of skill and patience but at the point where I am its getting seriously tough to beat these guys down. You definitely need to know how to reverse/counter by this point, which is about 30% into the story. The fight after Crack puts you up against Danny Trejo in a subway beat down. There is some serious fun to be had on that level! After a few slams into an electrical outlet and hitting my Blaze move (The Twister) I drop kicked Danny right onto the subway rails where the train kindly ran him over for the KO. :tu: Great stuff.

 

Is it a sad state of affairs when Def Jam has a more interesting story than several RPG's I've played in the past two years? I'm not kidding either. There is some seriously compelling stuff happening. Enough to make you anticipate the next cut scene and keep your butt in the seat playing the game. Best way I can describe the story is to say its like a "gangsta" version of The Godfather.

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I'm currently 43% complete with 2 hours showing on the game clock, although I know I've played at least twice that long. So far it's been pretty easy and I haven't had to do any of the fights more than 2-3 times, and I get the occasional fight where I just totally beat the other guy down and win in roughly 30 seconds.

 

The create a gangsta is definately limited if you're trying to make a whitey, but there's enough stuff to make a black character look pretty much how you want. I'm a bit dissapointed that I couldn't make myself, but it's not an insurmountable issue. The main problem is that while it allows for white skin tones, the facial features (eyes, nose, eyebrows, lips) are definately skewed the other way so the end result is very odd. On the plus side, this game doesn't have the problem where your created character looks low quality compared to the other characters.

 

Graphically, I must say it looks very nice, but it does have some problems. The graphics are very crisp and clean overall, and the art direction is good and consistent. The lighting effects give the characters a very cool look that you've probably seen in the screenshots. However, the character models aren't up to par with other fighting games and you can see the occasional rough edge. Also, the graphics engine screams of a lack of optimization. Sometimes the game runs at 60FPS, other times it just chugs, and it does have an effect on gameplay. Oddly enough, the performance hit seems irrelevant of what is onscreen. The subway is one of the more subdued maps, yet the powerplant with its huge crowd and rain effects has the same amount of slowdown.

 

The sound is OK, with my main gripe being that the music playing during fights usually doesn't have vocals, and I see no way to turn them on. Another minor problem is that all the selectable voices for your character are black, meaning that you can expect some wierdness if you create a white character.

 

The bling is pretty good, with plenty to wear in silver, gold, platinum, and diamond. Lots of clothes as well, although too much of the stuff is longsleeved which means no showing off of timepieces and bracelets.

 

The fighting system is completely broken, but they did a good job with it considering that the concept was doomed from the start. A modified wrestling system just does not work in a fast paced game. In a wrestling game(well, at least a good one that mimics actual wrestling), you generally do a move, spend some time beating the guy down, rinse and repeat. It usually happens at a slow pace and the momentum shifts less often. An engine designed with that in mind just can't keep up with rapid back and forth action, even when modified. It's still reasonably playable since the concept was implemented as well as could be expected, but Def Jam fails compared to the best fighting games and also compared to the best wresting games.

 

Another issue is that there really isn't all that much to the backgrounds I've seen so far. I was expecting to beat people's asses all over the club, throwing them over tables and stuff, but the rings are very confined. The general options are throwing someone into something like a speaker or a wall, or using the crowd for a double team move. I saw cars being used in nasty ways in previews, but the arenas I've played in haven't been interactive enough. I personally would have preferred a slower paced game with more environmental interaction.

 

 

So far my most amusing moment was at the start of the game when I rolled into the mall with a mere $1,000 and was forced to wear substandard bling. Hey, being a true playa is damn expensive.

 

One caveat I have is that I was not able to find a way to assign specific "regular" moves for your character. These seem to be determined by what fighting style you selected at the beginning of the story mode. Hopefully by purchasing more fighting styles I'm given the option to assign my own moves as I see fit (fingers are crossed)

 

You can't assign regular moves as far as I know. When you buy more fighting styles, they automatically get blended with your previous move set. It doesn't seem like the one you picked at the start is "dominant" either. IE: starting as a wrestler and getting the street fighting moveset will yield the same result as starting as a streetfighter and buying the wrestling set. The combining of movesets is done pretty well though. I am a streetfighter-kickboxer-wrestler, and it allows for some really impressive punck/kick combos. There have been times where one long string of punches and kicks has entirely filled my blaze meter. In addition, my grappling moves now are very skewed towards the wrestling set, so my character is pretty powerful overall.

 

I think the dealbreaker here is that this game may not have much replay value. First off, the fighting system isn't good enough to give it much vs. mode replayability. It also won't have as much replayability as a wrestling game since there is no real interest in seeing 2 specific characters go at it. It's fun to go set up Stone Cold vs. The Undertaker matches when they're feuding on TV, but I don't think there's really any appeal to having 2 random rappers go at it.

 

 

I might be trading this one when I finish it, anyone want to get rid of their Xbox X-men Legends?

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I think the dealbreaker here is that this game may not have much replay value.

 

Disagree completely there. The game is a ridiculously fun multiplayer game. Along with Burnout 3 is has become the staple game when the buddies come over. The 4 player matches/tourneys etc. keep us peeled into the late hours of the evening/early mornings (the only times I get to play). If you bought for the the single player only then I can understand the disappointment.

 

I also disagree that the engine is broken. I think its been updated exceptionally well considering its beginnings (and its a helluvalot better than 90% of the wrestling games on the market). The action is still consistently fast paced while allowing a variety of moves and finishers once you learn to use the combat engine. I have been a fan of it since the old WCW games for the N64 and there has yet to be a better grappling system on the market. It comes down to taste and whether you like this type of engine in a "fighting" game, since it is a wrestling engine first and foremost. It is however not broken in any sense of the word. Misplaced may been a better description.

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Originally posted by Big Daddy Bling Bling@Sep 25 2004, 10:13 PM

Another minor problem is that all the selectable voices for your character are black, meaning that you can expect some wierdness if you create a white character.

 

 

There are mostly voices there for african americans...However there are 2 voices on there that are for white people.. Would you rather your "Gang Banger or rapper" Character have a soft squeeky voice? No that would be so dumb.

 

But anyway I agree with you there Romier.. I went into the game stop by my job and they had it playing...People where challenging each other to matches...I havnt seen that for this type of game since N64's No Mercy.

:tu:

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The engine is broken in terms of its attempted use in this game. There is no way that it can stand in compared to a decent "fighting game" engine because attack height is irrelevant in this game. You punch and kick, and it's either blocked or not blocked, with the occasional counter. There's no hitting low when your opponent blocks high, and no breaking your opponent's crouching guard with a mid level attack. When combined with the limited selection of striking attacks, it's clear that there's no real depth here.

 

On the other side, locational damage is so poorly implemented that DJV can't really masquerade as a top tier wrestling game either. The only time it even comes into play is with submissions, and submissions seem to be the only way to deal locational damage. You can spend the whole match bashing someone's head into the wall and their "head" health will be full when you finally go for the submission. The lack of locational damage also dooms the grappling moves, since the end result is that they only differ in visual effect and net amount of damage.

There's no real consequence to choosing between an armdrag and a suplex, as they'll both have the same end result.

 

In comparison, the locational damage in the most recent smackdown game adds a whole new layer of strategy. Consistently attack the legs, and your opponent may come up limping at a critical moment, or go for the head and your opponent will take longer to get up and occasionaly become groggy. Furthermore, you need to work the right bodypart for your wrestler's finisher. If you decide to constantly attack the legs as HHH, you'll have to deal with the fact that the Pedigree might not put your opponent down. I was a fan of the N-64 wrestling games too and they make great party games due to their simplicity, but the engine is still very dated compared to the alternatives.

 

 

And yes, I did get this game for the 1-player. Solidly implemented branching storylines would have been enough to satisfy me as far as replay is concenrned. I only paid $18 for it since I preordered when EB had it listed as $20 and used a coupon on top of that, so it's not really a case of me regretting the purchase. I just don't think this is a good game to pay full price for without trying first, especially given the massive amount of new releases right now.

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There is no way that it can stand in compared to a decent "fighting game" engine because attack height is irrelevant in this game. You punch and kick, and it's either blocked or not blocked, with the occasional counter. There's no hitting low when your opponent blocks high, and no breaking your opponent's crouching guard with a mid level attack. When combined with the limited selection of striking attacks, it's clear that there's no real depth here.

 

It's you opinion and I respect it but I disagree completely. The game does not attempt to reach the level of depth that you see in a game like Virtua Fighter or Soul Calibur. It's very straightforward in its intentions. The engine does a commendable job on expanding what the first game brought to the table by breaking it's ties as only a wrestling game with hip hop artists and also by providing a more twitch based experience.

 

To be blunt I think you will find myself and others that play this game simply don't care about the relevance of hieght, parrying, or breaking low attacks with a crouching guard. In the context of the experience Def Jam is trying to provide, it just doesn't matter. I care more about how fast I can ram Method Mans head into a jukebox. I care about slamming my boot as deep as I can into the face of the asshole that just tried to pull off his blaze move on me. I care about picking up that baseball bat on the floor and knocking out the prick that tried to steal my girl. I care about doing these things in the confines of a fighting engine that allows me to do so with simple contextual button presses and a tried and tested grapple engine modified to provide an arcade experience.

 

You seem to have expected more and I can understand that but you seemed to have missed the point of the game in the process. Which is exactly why I disagree completely with your assertion that the game engine is somehow "broken".

 

In comparison, the locational damage in the most recent smackdown game adds a whole new layer of strategy. Consistently attack the legs, and your opponent may come up limping at a critical moment, or go for the head and your opponent will take longer to get up and occasionaly become groggy. Furthermore, you need to work the right bodypart for your wrestler's finisher. If you decide to constantly attack the legs as HHH, you'll have to deal with the fact that the Pedigree might not put your opponent down. I was a fan of the N-64 wrestling games too and they make great party games due to their simplicity, but the engine is still very dated compared to the alternatives.

 

Location based damage that multiple iterations of *THIS* engine brought to the table long before there was a Smackdown title on the market. Where exactly do you think the most recent Smackdown games based thier entire location damage model off of? Play one match of WWF No Mercy and you will see the exact location based damage that you are calling for. You need to work specific body parts to submit your opponent. You visually see the wrestler hold thier arms, legs, head. It affects thier movement speed, the power of thier strikes etc. All of this happens to be done without the help of some little meter next to your health bar flashing little red alerts. Everything is shown on the character model, as it should be IMHO.

 

Location based damage has been a part of this engine since the original WCW N64 games and was rennovated and improved for each subsequent release. You will simply not find a more strategic based damage model than in a game like WWF No Mercy. Hell you are hard pressed to find a more strategic wrestling experience period besides the Fire Pro Wrestling series and the most recent Smackdown game which made HUGE strides in providing more strategy and less arcade. Either way. you'll forgive me if I wax poetic on which exact wrestling engine developers these days are still trying to mimic. ;)

 

In the case of Def Jam your complaints are, to a point, valid as AKI pretty much removed that particular part of the engine so as to create a more "arcade" like experience that required less strategy and more twitch. It's a decision that can be a good thing for some folks, while a bad thing for others. I would have loved to seen that particular part of the engine remain intact to be honest, but in the confines of what the developers have tried to do with Def Jam I can accept the reasons why it was removed.

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Finished it up with a bit over 5 hours on the game clock. I'm about halfway through a playthrough on hard difficulty and the game is now a pure, 100%, unadulterated cheesefest. Some of the stuff on normal made me take notice, but hard difficulty makes no bones about the fact that the CPU does not play by the same rules as a human player. The CPU counters while taunting, counters while groggy, counters with its back turned, and counters mid-combo with alarming frequency. CPU fighters can also instantly get up regardless of fatigue at critical points in the match, such as when you are blazin' or have them in danger. Grappling is almost completely useless. I can get the occasional light grapple through, but I don't think I've yet gotten even a single hard grapple to work on hard.

 

That said, it's more fun to play it this way since you have to find each fighter's specific weakness to win, rather than just giving him a straight up beatdown. For example, Bless almost always counters the 4th attack of every combo and will hit you if you try to grapple him. However, stopping at the third hit, blocking, then launching into another combo makes short work of him.

 

I'm also intrigued to see how many actual fighting styles are in the game when the FAQs start coming out. Now that I've experimented more, it seems that some combinations will give you a totally unique style. For example, I picked martial arts, then added street fighting and submission, and the result was praying mantis kung fu reminiscent of Lion from Virtua Fighter. It sucked, so I reset and swapped kickboxing in place of submission and the end result was a style that has more than a passing resemblance to Jacky's style. It even has the beat knuckle and flip kick.

 

Two tips:

 

1. Don't lose the bonus tourneys after you get 100%, they are one shot deals

2. Hard is the only way to max your character and get all the trophies since you get 25% more dev points

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Finished it up with a bit over 5 hours on the game clock. I'm about halfway through a playthrough on hard difficulty and the game is now a pure, 100%, unadulterated cheesefest. Some of the stuff on normal made me take notice, but hard difficulty makes no bones about the fact that the CPU does not play by the same rules as a human player. The CPU counters while taunting, counters while groggy, counters with its back turned, and counters mid-combo with alarming frequency. CPU fighters can also instantly get up regardless of fatigue at critical points in the match, such as when you are blazin' or have them in danger. Grappling is almost completely useless. I can get the occasional light grapple through, but I don't think I've yet gotten even a single hard grapple to work on hard.

 

I agree with you there 100%. Vintage AKI in fact. I commented on this very thing above when I was facing Crack for the first time. It was impossible. Everything was blocked and countered (even when groggy!) to the point of pure frustration. Nothing but sheer perseverance will get you through until, as you noted, you start realizing each fighters' weaknesses.

 

Currently about 44% though my second playthrough on hard.

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I'm on my 1st time through and have completed about 40% of story mode. I cannot stress how much fun this game has gotten now that I have 3 fighting styles under my belt. The game is real fun multiplayer and even more fun in single player once you extend your move set. I still have like 30 fighters to unlock and and another 10 arenas to unlock. My CAF, Shady (Eminem), started off as a Streetfighter. I then added wrestling as his 2nd fighting style, and then added Submissions 3rd. I am digging the submission aspect of the game. I got Shady strong enough in upper body that I can get a person to tap out after about 5 moves to a specific body part.

 

The game is an absolute blast. Fighting in the subway is always fun and I like the ring out additions as well on some of the stages. Another great game from the folks at Aki. I just wish they would use their engine for a TNA/NWA wrestling game.

 

-Dean-

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