Despite the fact that while growing up we were fans of professional wrestling, our knowledge of lucha libre is somewhere approaching zero. It is not that we actively avoided Mexican professional wrestling in our fanboy days, it is much more that we didn't search it out, especially with the WWF and Hulkamania running wild (and we've just dated ourselves). In recent years, lucha libre has grown in popularity and, as we saw at Konami's Gamers' Day, there are now videogames devoted to the sport. Well, there is one game anyway – Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring. The game is a licensed product, using wrestlers from the AAA lucha libre league, and we took it for a little test drive.
Now, while the sport is expanding in this country there is certainly a large possibility that you're like us and don't really know your lucha libre from your Nacho Libre. Well, one of the things that we liked best about this new title is that it repeatedly provides you with a little bit of the history of the sport complete with footage of old battles. Of course, while the history is nice, this is a wrestling game and consequently that's where the truly good stuff needs to lie, right?
Starting off, Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring allows you to make a character – a luchador if you will – and then decide whether he is going to follow the path of the técnicos or rudos (that would be good guys or bad guys, respectively). There are several matches of increasing difficulty and you're given little hints in advance about how to proceed. Those hints aren't hugely helpful while you're in the midst of a two-on-one handicap match, but it's nice to think that they'll be able to help before a match begins.
Opting to try the técnicos side, we were quickly lulled into a false sense of security in our first match as we repeatedly bashed our opponent with punches, kicks, and even the occasional steel chair (use it twice though and you're disqualified). As the match progressed, the poor rudo was dreadfully hurt – we could tell this because his little icon in the corner of the screen had turned red on all of his various body parts indicating a high level of damage. The rudo, we like to think, had no idea where he was or what he was doing, what we know for certain is that our pounding of him was much loved by the fans. In fact, the fans play a crucial part in the game – the more fan love you get (and you get it by pummeling your opponent and showboating), the stronger the moves you can perform. Once your popularity meter is full, you can perform your signature move and really clobber your enemy.