Technically, Monster Pro Wrestling feels like TASing 15 RPG boss battles in a row with level-up screens in between. Actually, that's what it is.
- Emulator: Bizhawk 1.6.1
- System: PC ENGINE
- Genre: RPG, Sports
- Aims for fastest time
- Manipulates luck (but not as heavily as an average RPG)
When I realized that the first opponent can be beaten in a single round, I started considering the possibility of TASing this game. After some testing, I found some pretty good strategies and went ahead with a fullblown TAS. I didn't find any resources for the game anywhere and I don't speak Japanese, so the experience was very experimental indeed.
I choose the "Dhalsim" character, because he has the strongest relevant starting statistics and, luckily, he also happens to have pretty much the shortest attack animations. He is also the only character who can one-hit-K.O. the first opponent. After each fight, skill points can be used to increase the stats. Using weaker attacks in the fight awards slightly more skill points in the level-up screen, which is only one of the many zany features of the game.
After each fight, you can learn one attack type from the defeated opponent, megaman style. It is important to get some powerful moves from the opponents early in the game.
The attack animations are very long, so the most important thing is to reduce the number of turns used in each fight. The second thing to consider is the varying attack animation lenghts, so that the opponent is defeated with the shortest animations possible. This is not easy, because generally the strongest attacks take the most time. There are many little details that guarantee that TASing the game can be more difficult than it seems. There is no obvious best strategy. It is like walking on a tightrope, constantly balancing between different options. One step to the wrong direction and the whole strategy fails.
HP - Hit points. Useless. I never get hit.
ST - Strength determines damage done with all types of attacks/magic. The most important statistic.
MP - Mana points are consumed when using magic attacks, which are generally more powerful than other attacks. Mana refills after each fight. Dhalsim immediately has a strong magic attack which I call MAGIC04SOMERSAULT, but it costs 15 MP, so if MP is not increased, Dhalsim can perform it only once in a fight.
SP - Speed determines the value range for the "initiative counter". Increasing this is mostly useless in a TAS, because it is possible to manipulate luck so that the enemy always tries to use a strong attack, therefore getting a low initiative value. It is much better to spend the skill points in GT.
GT - "Gut points" are consumed to boost SP and ST for one round, but GT points don't refill after the fight, so this disposable benefit is normally a risky bargain. GT points will give a short-term advantage, but at the same time you waste valuable skill points that could be better used for a permanent stat increase. You can use 0-10 GT every round. I use GT points to end fights in lower number of rounds than would be possible otherwise. However, it is important that I use the absolute minimum GT necessary, so that I can increase the permanent skills (mainly ST) as much as possible. 1 GT point increases the delivered damage by 1 point, so it is not too powerful at all.
In the beginning I distribute the 30 skill points as follows: +28ST, +2GT. This will allow for the first fight to be beaten in a single round.
Fighting is turn-based, but requires also button-smashing dexterity:
- First there is some strategical thinking: Choose attack type.
- Then some more strategy: Boost the attack with GUT POINTS, if you want.
- Then you need to use your reflexes: Try to confirm your choice so that the initiative value is as high as possible. Higher initiative wins.
- If you won the initiative, you attack! (The opponent fails to attack this turn.)
- Then there is a button-smashing sequence, Final Fantasy VIII style: Hit the button as fast as possible to give an extra boost for your attack. The opponent is trying to boost to the opposite direction, so you need to be faster than him.
- After button-smashing, your attack is finally delivered. Now just wait for the attack animation to end and prepare for the next turn.
But there's much more to it:
- The initiative counter changes every frame, so to play perfectly in real-time, you would need pretty fast reflexes.
- Each attack type has its power level (01-07). The higher the number is, the more initiative points they reduce. So, with a 04-level attack, your initiative counter might rotate between values 7-13. With level-05 attack, the counter would be one less: 6-12. This essentially means that powerful attacks have a much lower chance to succeed. Luckily the initiative counter can be temporarily boosted with GT points.
- The opponent order is fixed (not randomized as in Mortal Kombat).
- There are probably many things I forget to mention.
The Anatomy of a Perfect Monster Pro Wrestling Tournament
| Fight number|| Opponent HP|| Moves used|| Comments|| What stats to increase for the upcoming fights?|
| 1|| 40|| MAGIC04SOMERSAULT|| Used 2GT|| +9ST|
Also learned MAGIC05THUNDER.
| 2|| 50|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| The highest damage I was able to deliver was 47, so this fight necessarily takes 2 rounds.|| +5ST|
| 3|| 80|| POWER04|
Also learned MAGIC07GREEN.
| 4|| 90|| MAGIC07GREEN|
| The powerful attack consumes 20 MP. This strategy barely works, because wasting skill points for MP means you can't increase strength so much.|| +24ST|
| 5|| 110|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| 6|| 100|| MAGIC07GREEN|
| Close call! Consumed 1 GT, because otherwise the opponent would have survived another round with 1HP left.|| +23ST|
| 7|| 110|| MAGIC07GREEN|
| Used 1GT to avoid bad RNG position and win the initiative quicker. Considering how long the attack animations are, the time saved with the GT usage is negligible.|| +17ST|
| 8|| 120|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 5GT|| +8ST|
| 9|| 140|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 4GT|| +10ST (Strength is now full.)|
| 10|| 140|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 11GT|| +7SP (Speed turned out to be useless, but I have skill points to spare. Lost a few frames here maybe, but the order of magnitude of time lost is about the same as could easily be gained or lost due to the RNG position.)|
| 11|| 170|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 20GT|| +6MP|
| 12|| 170|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 28GT|| +4MP|
| 13|| 170|| MAGIC04SOMERSAULT|
| Used 24GT|| +3MP|
| 14|| 180|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 28GT|| +30GT|
| 15|| 220|| MAGIC05THUNDER|
| Used 33GT|| N/A|
Approximate frame counts of some attack animations:
(Dhalsim has this in the beginning.)
(This is learned after the first fight.)
(Dhalsim has this in the beginning.)
(This is learned after the third fight.)
Hi, I am Khtulhu, I took some screamshots: