Sougou Kakutougi: Astral Bout is a Super Famicom/Japanese SNES game which was based on the various forms of fighting styles found in the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion Fighting Network Rings (think of an early version of something like the UFC ultimate fighting championship). The game was developed by a company called A-Wave, a company who I couldnt find much out about at all, they made a Gameboy game called Koro Dice and they either made or just published a game called Astro Fang: Super Machine on the NES (some sources claim they developed and published it others claim they just published it), and then they made Astral bout and its 2 sequels. I have no idea if they still exist in any form I would imagine from the lack of info that they dont. Astral bout was however published by King Records Co., Ltd a Japanese record company, founded in 1931 which still exists today, it is now one of Japan's largest record companies not to be owned by a multinational entity, and its headquarteres are in Tokyo.
So obviously this game is a sort of wrestling fighting game, the closist thing to this most people will have proberbly played on the snes is something like one of the WWE games. There are eight different fighters to choose from in this game, I cant tell you any of the characters names as they are in japanese but basically you have a professional wrestler, a boxer, a karate expert etcetera. So you pick the character you want to use and then you take on each fighter one by one until you prove that you are the best. Now for a Super Nintendo game this title does not do a bad job of trying to capture the idea of mixed martial arts. Eachof the fighters has there own moves list which does its best to make them feel like they belong to there discipline. So for example the wrestler will do slams and armbars, where as the boxers move set will be largly based on punches, the kick boxer will have lifting knee blows and heavy kicks you get the idea, it doesnt take long at all to find out which one of the fighters is the best fir for you and to get used to there particular move set.
The graphics are pretty much average and exactly what you would expect for a relativly early Super Nintendo
game. The enviorments are rather bland, the characters are easily identifiable and the animation is decent but its nothing to really shout about, the graphics fit the game but thats about the best I can say. The music and sound effects could also best be described as functional, they are simply average and work but thats about all. You attack your opponent and at the end of each round you get to see how many points each of you have scored, I assume that if you dont knock the enemy out after so many rounds or get knocked out yourself then things will be settled by these points but this never actually happend during all of my time playing. I started out trying to play as the Karate based character but after a match or two I just found that me and him were not the best fit, then I tried with the Wreslter and found that I did much better, this is when I really started to enjoy the game, before I even realised that any proper time had passed I had completed the game. The truth is though that the replayability is limted as far as things go with the one player mode, you can try to complete it with every character and theres a practice mode but thats about it, of course the game has a two player mode which providing you have a buddy into this kind of game then it can be kind of fun but with 8 characters it is slightly limited. I do think that if I had tried this game back when it was fresh and new then I would have been a lot more impressed with it, but it hasnt aged greatly if you want an example of something wreslting related which has aged much better then I would go for Saturday Night Slam Masters.
As it stands I would give this game a 6 out of 10, its fun enough but it is ultimatly forgetable, it does make me wonder how much was improved in its two sequels as I think that with a little bit more on offer choice wise and a bit more presenation this game could have been a true contender. I spent £3.50 on this game and I think if you can get it for something around this figure then its well worth taking a look at it.