M.U.S.C.L.E Tag Team Match
M.U.S.C.L.E is our second foray into wrestling games and absolutely nothing has improved. The game is mechanically different than Tag Team Wrestling, but the changes aren't any more positive than what Tag Team Wrestling was offering. The Strongbads offer no variety and the power-up mechanic is seemingly random and doesn't actually help "power-up" gameplay.
I'm sure this was made because there was success in the anime, but it's western port on the same exact month as Tag Team Wrestling seems completely bizarre. The good news is that if you were a kid in October of 1986 you couldn't choose wrong because they were both equally bad.
At first glance I thought this had potential to be pretty cool. With what looked like a cast of unique characters, I hoped it would have some interesting gameplay and a variety of play styles. Unfortunately it fell short and didn't really deliver on any of that. Yes, each character has their own special move but I didn't find them very balanced or useful. The game felt heavily weighted in the AI opponent's favor. While I enjoyed it a bit more than Tag Team Wrestling, the last wrestling game we played, it still was not much fun. Personally I wouldn't recommend this game.
This game is the greatest wrestling game I've played on the NES. Unfortunately, that's a pretty low bar to rise above. Being just barely more playable than Tag Team Wrestling, M.U.S.C.L.E introduces new features to the genre such as "Being able to hit your opponent", "Menu-less move input", and "Glowing energy balls(?)". I haven't seen (or even heard of) the anime prior to playing this game, so any goodwill that that may have earned is lost on me. In fact, if you have seen the anime, this game should actually offend you. Not only is it one of the worst looking NES games (so far) but there is almost no joy to be had while playing this. But still! It's better than Tag Team, so at least it's got that.