The Wrestle Angels series began as a few PC H-Games that used a Card Battle Game interface to dictate the flow of the matches, which are then displayed in a semi-cinematic fashion. The player manages a small group of lady wrestlers and coaches them to reach the top.
Oh, and the losers of certain matches were stripped at the end.
As time went by (and the games jumped to consoles), the Ecchi elements were greatly reduced and the management side greatly increased until it became a full blown management simulator. Let's repeat that: a game about ladies wrestling that's largely a Management Simulator with anime-style art. In other words: a Widget Series.
The games are divided into three specific sub-series.
Wrestle Angels ClassicThe original set, which revolves around the trials and tribulations of aspiring stars of Japanese Women's Pro-Wrestling. The first two games (and the sole Gaiden Game) were somewhat story-driven affairs in which the player raises his character(s) and sends them to compete in matches to further the plot along. Starting with Wrestle Angels 3, the story began to take a backseat to the management sim side of things, with the player now being thrust into the role of the president of a brand new organization and having to build up a roster of talent, manage their training, keep them healthy, and most importantly of all, have them put on matches to both bring in money and raise the organization's fame. The ultimate goal? Why, To Be a Master! Which in this case, means capturing the world championship for yourself (1, 2, Special) or your organization (all others).
Games in the Classic series include:
- Wrestle Angels (1992, PC-9800)
- Wrestle Angels 2: Top Eventer (1992, PC-9800)
- Wrestle Angels 3 (1993, PC-9800)
- Wrestle Angels Special: Mou Hitori no Top Eventernote (1994, PC-9800)
- Super Wrestle Angels (1994, SNES)
- Wrestle Angels: Double Impact (1994, TurboGrafx-16)
A trilogy of games which revisit the storyline (which had all but disappeared by Super), while also featuring updates in graphics and gameplay mechanics. In short, Remakes... Of the first two games, at least. While V1 and V2 Revisit the events of the first two games (albeit with much more dialogue and a greater focus on characterization), V3 is an entirely new game featuring a brand new story starring one of three new rookies. Although it could be said to replace Special and 3/Super/Double Impact in the continuity, there's never been any official word on the matter, and Fanon places it between the two.
Games in the V-series include:
- Wrestle Angels V1 (1995, PC-9800)
- Wrestle Angels V2 (1995, PC-9800)
- Wrestle Angels V3 (1996, PC-9800)
After a little over a decade following the release of V3, Wrestle Angels was suddenly and unexpectedly revived on the Playstation 2 with Wrestle Angels Survivor, which revisited the "player as the president of an organization" scenario present in 3/Super/Double Impact. Featuring a drastically refined training and management system, a much larger library of available moves for characters to learn, full voice acting for every single girl on the roster (Double Impact, the only prior game to have voice acting, reserved it strictly for story events in its "Rookie Debut" portion and the Japanese member scouting during the "Promotion Management" portion), and perhaps most interestingly, special events in which the player character gets into wacky Harem Series-esque hijinks.
Games in the Survivor series include:
- Wrestle Angels Survivor (2006, PS2)
- Wrestle Angels Survivor 2 (2008, PS2)
- In 1996, Bishoujo Wrestler Retsuden: Blizzard Yuki Ranyuu!note was released for the Super Nintendo. Although it uses V1 as the basis of its setting and a large majority of its cast, its true purpose was as a tie-in promotion for the manga Blizzard Yuki and the Real Life wrestler bearing the title character's name and persona in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling. Gameplay-wise, it features a scaled-back version of the V-series training mechanics (utilizing various forms of exercise to increase stats, unlike the V games, there are no training partners to increase the output of certain exercises), as well as a brand new battle system which tosses the card battles out the door and has the player using button inputs to suggest strategies to his AI-controlled wrestler.
- 2006 saw the release of Wrestle Angels Ai for mobile devices. Effectively Wrestle Angels Lite, the main game allowed players to scan barcodes to randomly generate members of Survivor's Japanese cast to raise and pit in matches against other players. A second Visual Novel mode was featured, giving the player a look at the backstories of several new characters, who could be unlocked for use in the main game upon completion of their respective stories.
A character sheet is currently under construction.
This Series Provides Examples Of
- Amazonian Beauty: Although more frequent amongst the international wrestlers (Americans in particular), there have been a few amongst the core Japanese cast as well.
- Beach Episode: The "Vacation Events" in the Survivor games basically function as these.
- Boobs of Steel: The larger girls in the cast are frequently the most like to use pure physical power in their fighting styles.
- Canon Foreigner - All of the characters created for Bishoujo Wrestler Retsuden.
- Expy - Not only are the characters themselves expies (and often Gender Flipped ones at that) of real life wrestlers, many of the organizations depicted in the series are based off of ones in Real Life.
- Climax Boss: Due to an extreme focus on the management side of things, the Survivor games only end when either the player's organization goes bankrupt or when a player-specified number of in-game years have passed. Thus there isn't really much of a Final Boss to speak of. However, the general benchmark for a successful run is universally considered to be taking the IWWF Heavyweight Championship belt from Chris Morgan.
- Compilation Re-release / Updated Re-release - Double Impact is essentially 2 and 3 packaged together with updated graphics, sound, and added (limited though it is) voice acting.
- Crossover: Twice in the series proper. With wrestling manga Blizzard Yuki in Bishoujo Wrestler Retsuden and with the Japan-only GURPS supplement Ring Dream in Ai and Survivor 2.
- Fake Boss - Zigzagged. Beauty Ichigaya was one in the first game (and continued to play this role in the games (Bishoujo Wrestler Retsuden and V1) which recount said game's story), taking the world title for herself only to be dethroned in short order in order to show off how strong Darkstar Chaos is. However, she served as one half of the final boss tag team in 2 and V2 with Jena Megalight.
- Fanservice - These games haven't met a fanservice trope they didn't like.
- Finishing Move - Every character has one. It almost always hits for massive damage, and the player can even change what it is.
- Final Boss
- Darkstar Chaos in 1, V1, and Bishoujo Wrestler Retsuden
- The tag team of Jena Megalight and Beauty Ichigaya in 2 and V2
- Chris Morgan in 3 and Super
- Janis Crea in Special
- Mighty Yukiko in V3
- Game-Breaking Injury - Used in two different ways:
- In-game, the management sim games have this as a randomly occurring event for any character who wrestles more than one match in a given in-game month with three degrees of severity. A character who has a light injury can still be allowed to wrestle, but her injury will worsen the next month. If the player forces her to keep going after that, She'll be forcibly hospitalized and unable to participate in any training or matches for up to an entire in-game year.
- In-story, Mighty Yukiko suffers a leg injury at the hands of Jena Megalight and Beauty Ichigaya in 2 and V2. She doesn't recover until the events of Special.
- Gimmick Matches - The "Stripping Deathmatch" featured in 1, 2, and Special. Basically an excuse for cheesecake shots of the loser.
- Harem Series - Even though the Ecchi elements have been toned down greatly, the manager can (if the right choices are made) get into stereotypical Harem Comedy Hijinks.
- Instant Fanclub - The Survivor games have this as a randomly occurring event for any wrestler whose popularity stat reaches 60 or higher. Every time one is formed for a wrestler under the player's management, his organization's value rises.
- Jobber - There are always characters who start with low stats and are difficult to raise who seem like this to the player, but the real examples are the weaker members of the international cast who cannot be raised and subsequently will always remain just as pitiful as they always were.
- Leotard of Power: About half the cast, as is frequently Truth in Television for women's wrestling.
- Loads and Loads of Characters - To give an example, Survivor 2, the last (for now) game in the series, features a whopping 122 characters.
- Lovely Angels - Any given tag team.
- Luck-Based Mission - The management sims, (especially Survivor and its sequel) live and breathe this trope. Your success in putting girls through intensive training, talking to them to boost their morale, and even getting them to avoid injury largely boils down to a flip of a coin. And then there are the matches themselves, which are 50% determined by what cards you draw each turn.
- Magikarp Power - The cornerstone of most games in the series. Any girl you can recruit can be turned into a complete powerhouse as long as you work hard enough at it.
- Can't Catch Up: However, Survivor changed this by assigning each character a hidden "potential" grade to each wrestler that all but ensures that many of the weakest characters will stay weak and that some who start out looking strong will end up not quite so great.
- Masked Luchadora - There are a lot of these floating around the cast. A mechanic in 3/Super/DI allows players to assign specific masks to members of their roster to affect changes in Heel/Face alignment and crowd popularity.
- Name of Power - Many characters have them assigned to their Finishing Moves by default, though the player is always able to change the name of any Finishing Move used by any member of his roster.
- Only Six Faces - Partly averted later on, but the early character designs suffer from this greatly. In all the games the Combat "Animations" are all the same girl(s) with color swaps/hair changes/mask changes.
- Palette Swap - Foreign tag teams of masked characters are frequently this design-wise, though they usually have different stats in specific technique categories. Survivor and its sequel have palette-swapped versions of every character on the roster as alternate versions of their originals, with the difference usually restricted to initial stats and growth potential alone.
- Pro Wrestling Is Real
- Simulation Game - Management sim with Card Battle Game, Role-Playing Game, and as of Survivor, Dating Sim mixed in.
- Spear Counterpart - A male counterpart game for this was advertised as an April Fool's joke. It would have been loaded with Manly Gay.
- 10-Minute Retirement - Whenever a character is dropped between games, the official story will be that they "retired". However, the ones who prove popular enough almost always manage to come back one or two games later. Survivor on the other hand use retirement as a gameplay element — wrestlers whose in-game age pass a certain point will start having their stats sharply drop for several months before they decide to call it quits for good... Or rather, until they respawn and return to recruitable service with all their stats reset to their initial values.