Wrestling games have two choices when it comes to stocking their virtual roster. They either have to pay for the right to use wrestlers fans already care about or create new ones that fans will come to care about.
M.U.S.C.L.E. did neither.
The problem was that the game was based on Japanese action figures that were big in Japan but something fans in North America had never heard of.
Muscleman, Terryman and Ramenman just didn't gain a following outside of Japan.
It wasn't just the alien wrestlers that made M.U.S.C.L.E. a failure. Its graphics, game play and sound all contributed to making it this worst wrestling game ever.
Kevin Wilson on somethingawful.com gave the game a score of -49.
Aside from the wrestling ring surrounding the knight or viking characters, the game doesn't resemble wrestling at all. Moves consist of jumping and kicking, and that's it.
In Josh Kramer's review of the game on thunderboltgames.com, he wrote "cheap AI and unresponsive controls really limit the enjoyment of the title's single player mode."
M.U.S.C.L.E. has an Excitebike look, boxy with non-gradient colors.
For its time, though, they weren't the worst visuals in a game. It's the sound that really makes this an unbearable experience.
Every match is filled with bleeps and blips, but it's hard to hear over the annoying static. What sounds like a TV with no signal is supposed to be a roaring crowd.
While players try to stomp on their foes a la Mario squashing a goomba, glowing orbs offering special powers bounce into the ring. Get one and you'll be faster, stronger and possibly face a Wellness Policy violation.
The coolest thing about the game is the variety of ring types. Aside from the standard ring, gamers can have Muscleman battle Robin Mask in either an ice ring or an electric ring.