What’s behind the passion for Luca Libre pro wrestling video games?
Lucha Libre, or “free fight” to give the Spanish phrase its English meaning, is the name given to the Mexican wrestling phenomenon. Its roots date back to the early 1900s when Mexico was in the throes of a revolutionary war against the infamous dictator, Porfirio Díaz.
As is often the case in times of war, the public craved diversions that distracted them from the reality of what was going on around them. Giovanni Reselevich y Antonio Fournier (two Italian entrepreneurs) seized the opportunity to promote a form of fighting whereby two opponents fought each other hand to hand without either protection or weapons of any kind.
It was an extremely aggressive and violent sport with little or nothing in the way of rules or regulations. These fights became known as “Lucha Libre,” and the fighters were dubbed ”Luchadores.” From its beginnings in local town rivalry, Lucha Libre soon began to develop an immense following, first throughout Mexico as a whole, and more recently across the world.
What makes Lucha Libre so popular
There are two aspects of Lucha Libre that set it apart from other types of popular wrestling. First, there are the masks that the Luchadores wear. These were first popularised by arguably the best Luchadore of all time – El Enmascarado de Plata, or “Saint, the Silver Masked Man.”
The other trademark that sets Lucha Libre apart from other forms of pro wrestling is the technical and acrobatic aerial skills that fighters display, particularly in the lighter weight (peso-semicompleto) divisions.
Lucha mania is now globally rampant and, the recently launched Lucha Maniacs Slot Machine is leading the charge. There are a many Lucha Libre games you can play right now, and here are snippets of just a few.
Guacamelee and Guacamelee 2 by Drinkbox Studios
The original Guacamelee (one of the so-called Metroidvania video games developed and published by Drinkwater Studios) was first released in April 2013 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox 360. With its special brand of Lucha machismo, players pick up the role of Mexican farmer, Juan.
Together with his magical Luchadore mask, his mission is to rescue the daughter of the president who is the prisoner of a skeletal demon. The action takes place between the world of light and the world of dark, with the role player being able to switch between worlds.
For many devotees of pro wrestling video games, it remains one of the best ever made, and fans will be undoubtedly thrilled about the release of its sequel, Guacamelee 2. The action takes place seven years after Juan Aguacate’s original battle.
With an upgraded graphics engine and full of fabulous fresh fighting moves, this game tracks our now married farmer’s quest to defeat an evil menace that is out, not only to obliterate Mexico from the map, but time and space too.
With his powerful blue chicken buddy, Juan will take you with him through a world of dangers and fantastic new characters in this stunningly excellent follow-up to the original.
The Lucha Maniacs slot
Gaming house Yggdrasil came up with the great idea of combining people’s passion for playing slots, with the thrills and spills of the Lucha Libre pro-wrestling scene and they designed the Lucha Maniacs slot. It’s a 5-reel, 20 pay-line slot that you can play on all devices for just 20p.
This game comes complete with a free spin mode enabling players to start off with as many as 30 free spins. It incorporates random wilds, sticky wilds, stacked and wild wrestlers, and 3 x multipliers on Luchadores whereby you can accumulate more free spins, and shoot for its golden bet feature for larger wins.
Lucha Libre video games for kids
Between 2002 and 2005, American TV responded to the interest in Lucha Libre and at kiddy level by screening a cartoon series called Mucha Lucha. It was so popular that it was brought to the gaming industry in a video game for Gameboy Advance devices.
This is no doubt where many of today’s Lucha Libre fans first cut their teeth. At the time the game didn’t get the best of reviews, but lots of current LL game players may carry the guilty secret of their awakening to this particular brand of pro-wrestling.
The daddy of them all – Lucha Libre – Heroes del ring
Of course, no round-up of Lucha Libre pro-wrestling video games would be complete with mention of the daddy of them all – “Lucha Libre AAA – Heroes del ring.” “Heroes” comes out of the “Immersion” stables and was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 by Slang in October 2010. It was the first of the pro-wrestling video games to be based on Lucha Libre.
It uses real Mexican wrestlers as well as customisable Luchadores. Such was its success in Mexico that is was redeveloped by Sabarasa in Wii. It may seem a little outdated now, but it sparked off the Lucha Libre revolution and is still well worth a play.