The recorded no-rounds-lost play of Ring of Destruction (Super Muscle Bomber)

I first discovered there was a sequel to Capcom’s Saturday Night Slam Masters just into my first year of college. I stumbled upon it looking through arcade ROMS, as I wouldn’t be able to put my hands on a real-deal arcade cabinet of the game until 2017 when it was added to Galloping Ghost Arcade’s T20 tournament.

When I first fired the game up in MAME, I couldn’t get over my disappointment that it strayed from more of a professional wrestling game at the time. However, returning to it years later showed me it was a very unique fighting game with some interesting mechanics to toy with.

I had learned a cheap tactic with Scorpion (Astro in the Japanese version) to get a 1 credit clear through various streams on my Twitch channel, but there was always a mystery to me about the game’s scoring on Aurcade: The top score on the rankings was always about 10 million points higher than my 1CC scores. It wasn’t until I was goofing around on the arcade cabinet during a trip that I realized clearing the game with no rounds lost awarded a 10-million point bonus as opposed to the 1-million point bonus for a 1CC consisting of lost rounds.

On my May trip to Galloping Ghost Arcade, I buckled in and did a little bit of Super Muscle Bomber gameplay that was recorded by my camera. Like riding a bike, I got a no-rounds-lost clear on my first attempt while filming.

While the game has some absurd combo tech that allows players to press quarter circle forward + grab during striking strings to combo into grapples and super slam master moves, the CPU on its default difficulty can be thwarted by throwing out some reversal attacks while they wake up from a knockdown. The computer attempts to throw out a wake-up attack of its own, but throwing out the correct attack will beat this out every time.

In Scorp’s case, he can do a very handy flash kick move by pressing down, up + kick. This isn’t even a charge move like Guile’s flash kick, you can tap the buttons for an instant update like it was a move from Mortal Kombat. Scorpion has a lot of speed, so his running gives him a lot of mobility. If you press heavy kick while running, Scorpion will do a slide kick with good reach that can knockdown opponents who think they can throw out a move to intercept your run. This is your opportunity to encroach the opponent and start looping the flash kicks!

It isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, as each character has a slight tick that requires you to adjust things such as the timing at which you throw out your flash kicks. And then there are characters with more involved wake-up animations such as Saber and Scorpion (in the mirror match) that can throw off your timing.

On top of that, you have Titan who has a special move, “Shockwave,” which is a spinning sweep that is one of the few things that can seemingly beat Scorpion’s slide kick. Because Titan is so large, though, it is easy for Scorpion to use a jumping light kick to get a hitbox on Titan so he can two-in-one into a crouching light kick and then a combo grapple.

Once you have the loops down, you’ll eventually find yourself getting the opponent dizzy, which allows you to freely taunt and trigger your super slam master move for major damage and bonus points. The slam master finishes and perfects really add to your score in this game, which was the goal in this playthrough – even if I did have strings of mistakes in this credit.

All in all, Ring of Destruction/Super Muscle Bomber is a delight to play through and it surprisingly has some interesting fighting game tech for fans of the genre to explore. As a bonus, it still has art from Tetsuo Hara – most famously known as the mangaka behind Fist of the North Star. It’s a shame this sequel got very little distribution outside of a limited arcade run in the U.S. Unfortunately enough, I never even saw Slam Masters arcade cabinets when I was growing up. If it weren’t for the Super Nintendo version, it likely wouldn’t have been until the 2010s before I could play the original arcade version. Slam Masters II would have been a welcome addition on a home console or Capcom game collection. It makes me wonder if there are royalty or rights issues with the artwork that keeps the series from popping back into the gaming scene with new releases.

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Categories: GemuBaka Feature

Author:indiesnack

Indie Snack is a video gaming Web site focusing on independent developers and game releases. Indie Snack will also soon have services made available to independent developers to include tools aiding them in public relations and game marketing.

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