SNK's button-breaking 3 Count Bout returns on modern platforms


Ruining MVS cabinets throughout the ’90s

It’s Thursday, and that means that its time for another retro re-release from SNK fans Hamster. This week sees batshit wrestling title 3 Count Bout make its return on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, although this particular ring-rocker is a little different from the WWE 2K series.

Released in arcades and on the Neo Geo platform back in 1993, 3 Count Bout (known in Japan as Fire Suplex) was SNK’s attempt to cash in on the global pro-wrestling craze of the day. 3CB is a strange wrestling/one-on-one fighter hybrid that presents typical pro-wrestling bouts, but adds the barbed-wire bats and electrified ropes of Japanese “death-match” promotions such as the legendary FMW.

What this translates to is a super-clunky fighter based almost entirely around waggling the joystick and mashing buttons like a maniac, as you take your chosen jobber through a series of matches held not only inside the squared circle, but also out in warehouses, car parks and other odd locations.

Though 3 Count Bout features crazy, huge sprites, bone-breaking sound and a hilariously nihilistic approach to the art of wrasslin’, it’s also pretty clunky to play, with mean A.I. and linear controls. Still, in the history of pro-wrestling games, 3 Count Bout is definitely one of the more curious oddities.

3 Count Bout is available today on PS4 in Japan and Xbox One and Nintendo Switch worldwide, priced around $8.