3 Count Bout
3 Count Bout arcade flyer.jpg
Producer(s)Eikichi Kawasaki
Designer(s)Hiroyuki Kawano
Yasuaki Uenoyama
Artist(s)Mina Kawai
Nishi Futatsu
T. Maeda
Composer(s)Masahiko Hataya
  • Arcade
    • WW: 25 March 1993
    Neo Geo AES
    • JP: 23 April 1993
    • NA: 23 April 1993
    • EU: 23 April 1993
    Neo Geo CD
Genre(s)Fighting, sports
Mode(s)Single-player, co-op, multiplayer (up to two players)
Arcade systemNeo Geo MVS

3 Count Bout[a] is a wrestling arcade game released by SNK in 1993.[1]


Gameplay screenshot showcasing a match with Bomberder facing off against The Gandhara.
Gameplay screenshot showcasing a match with Bomberder facing off against The Gandhara.

Players can play as one of 10 fictional professional wrestlers to fight for the SWF championship title. Along with the standard wrestling match, fights locations include venues such as car parks and factories (turning it into a hardcore wrestling match, with less restrictions and the ability to use weapons). In addition to that, two players can join in together for two-on-two tag-team matches.[2]

One unique[citation needed] feature of this game is its system. Gauges are displayed on the screen when you approach an opponent's wrestler during the match. The player can give priority to the technique by hitting the button repeatedly until the gauge meter is higher than the opponent's. There are also batting techniques in the middle distance, aerial killing from the top rope, dashing techniques from a long distance, and promised foul attack. Not only ordinary classic match rings venues are available, but also the street can be a match location as well.[3]

The game consists of 5 championships with their own stages. The first stage type is a wrestling ring where the opponents can bounce from the edges and can be out of bounds. The second stage type is street wrestling, where there are objects to destroy and weapons to wield. The last stage is the electricity stage where the borders are harmful and weapons are used. Press the A button to punch. Press the B button to kick. Press the C button to jump. Press the A and B buttons simultaneously for a quick moving retreat. Pull the joystick twice in a direction to rush that way. If the player rushes in the direction of a boxing ring edge, they can bounce back. If the player is down, repeatedly press the A button and pull the joystick left and right to get up. Press the C button to body drop on a downed opponent. Press the A button many times rapidly to use a special attack. Press Button A or B on a downed opponent to grab and wrestle. When the player and opponent clash in a wrestle, press the A and B buttons as fast as possible to push back. Press Button D to pin down a downed opponent and hold him for 3 seconds to win. Alternatively, some fighters have holds which can force an opponent with low stamina to submit.


SWF (SNK WRESTLING FEDERATION) is an organization that stands at the top of the professional wrestling world. The SWF finally decided to hold the "Worldwide Indiscriminate Class Tournament". The tournament is to determine the "true world champion" and allows the world's most powerful wrestlers to freely participate in the indiscriminate class with no weight limit. Moreover, the tournament also incorporates a radical death match, which seems to be the most severe battle in the history of professional wrestling.

And finally the competition starts. Powerful people including the current SWF heavyweight champion from all over the world entered, including some ferocious wrestlers from the dark underground professional wrestling organization "Hole of the Lion".

With the pride and ambition of the fighters hidden in their hearts, the ten men rise up into a ring. Which wrestler has the crown of the "True World Champion" shining on his head?[3]


Development and release

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The game was released for the Neo Geo AES on April 23, 1993 and was later ported to the Neo Geo CD on April 21, 1995. 3 Count Bout was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch on October 11, 2018.


In Japan, Game Machine listed 3 Count Bout on their May 1, 1993 issue as being the tenth most-popular arcade game at the time.[19] In North America, RePlay reported 3 Count Bout to be the fourth most-popular arcade game in April 1993.[20] The following month, RePlay listed it as the top-grossing arcade software conversion kit,[21] while Play Meter listed 3 Count Bout as the 47th most-popular arcade game.[22]

The game received generally positive reception from critics since its release in arcades and other platforms.[23][24][25][26][27] AllGame's Paul Biondich noted its attempt at mixing of fighting styles from game such as WWF WrestleFest and Street Fighter II, however, Kyle Knight stated that 3 Count Bout has an "identity crisis" due to this and regarded the controls as decent during fighting mode but poorly implemented during wrestling mode.[4][5] Both Biondich and Knight felt mixed in regards to the audiovisual presentation, gameplay and overall replay value.[4][5] In contrast, Consoles Plus' Marc Menier and Jean-Loup Jovanovic praised the presentation, visuals, sprite animations, sound design, playability and two-player mode.[6] However, GameFan's four reviewers commended the graphical presentation but criticized the limited sprite animation, controls and gamemplay mechanics, with Sgt. Gamer in particular recommending to play the title in arcades rather than on AES.[7]

GamePro's Scary Larry praised the visuals for being up to standards on Neo Geo and sound design but criticized the controls for being stiff and difficult opponent AI.[8] Hobby Consolas' Manuel del Campo highly commended the film-like presentation, music and sound effects but criticized one aspect of its playability and noted the high difficulty level on the easiest setting.[9] Likewise, Joypad's Nourdine Nini and Jean-François Morisse gave positive remarks to the number of moves for each character, graphics, animations controls and sound design but criticized the gameplay for being repetitive.[10] In a similar manner as Larry, Mega Fun's Philipp Noak and Ulf Schneider criticized the AI opponent for being unfair but gave positive comments to the technical presentation, number of moves and two-player mode.[11]

Player One's Christophe Delpierre praised the animated visuals, sound, difficulty and longevity but felt mixed in regards to the gameplay.[12] Computer+Videogiochi's Paolo Cardillo and Consolemania's Piemarco Rosa also praised the animated graphics, audio, gameplay and number of moves but Cardillo criticized the game's originality, while Rosa criticized certain gameplay aspects and longevity.[13][14] Play Time's Armin Thielen highly commended the title for the technical and audiovisual presentation, as well as its difficuty level.[16] A reviewer of Dutch magazine Power Unlimited reviewed the AES version in a negative light, stating that "The sounds and images may be beautiful, what good is it if the game is unplayable? 3 Count Bout feels like it's impossible to win, and of course you shouldn't have it."[17] VideoGames' Chris Bieniek criticized the method of executing special moves.[18]


  1. ^ Also known as Fire Suplex (Japanese: ファイヤー・スープレックス, Hepburn: Faiyā Sūpurekkusu) in Japan.


  1. ^ "Oh! Neo Geo Vol. 9 - ファイヤー•スープレックス". Beep! MegaDrive (in Japanese). No. 44. SoftBank Creative. May 1993. p. 142.
  2. ^ "3 Count Bout (Game)". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  3. ^ a b "ファイヤー・スープレックス". game.snk-corp.co.jp. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  4. ^ a b c Biondich, Paul (1998). "3 Count Bout (Arcade) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Knight, Kyle (1998). "3 Count Bout (Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  6. ^ a b Menier, Marc; Jovanovic, Jean-Loup (June 1993). "Neo Geo Review - 3 Count Bout". Consoles + (in French). No. 21. M.E.R.7. pp. 96–98.
  7. ^ a b Halverson, Dave; Sgt. Gamer; Stratton, Tom; Cockburn, Andrew (July 1993). "Viewpoint - Neo Geo - 3 Count Bout". GameFan. Vol. 1, no. 8. DieHard Gamers Club. p. 11.
  8. ^ a b Larry, Scary (August 1993). "Neo•Geo ProReview: 3 Count Bout". GamePro. No. 49. IDG. p. 96.
  9. ^ a b del Campo, Manuel (June 1993). "Lo Más Nuevo – Neo Geo: 3 Count Bout – Furia De Titanes". Hobby Consolas (in Spanish). No. 21. Hobby Press. pp. 126–131.
  10. ^ a b Nini, Nourdine; Morisse, Jean-François (June 1993). "Neo Geo: Je Compte Jusqu'a 3!... – 3 Count Bout". Joypad (in French). No. 21. Yellow Media. pp. 154–155.
  11. ^ a b Noak, Philipp; Schneider, Ulf (June 1993). "Test Neo Geo: 3 Count Bout". Mega Fun (in German). No. 9. Computec. p. 98. Archived from the original on 2017-12-06. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  12. ^ a b Delpierre, Christophe (June–July 1993). "Tests De Jeux: Neo Geo – 3 Count Bout". Player One (in French). No. 32. Média Système Édition. pp. 66–67.
  13. ^ a b Cardillo, Paolo (June 1993). "Neo Geo - Review: 3 Count Bout". Computer+Videogiochi (in Italian). No. 27. Gruppo Editoriale Jackson. p. 94.
  14. ^ a b Rosa, Piemarco (October 1993). "3 Count Bout (Neo Geo)". Consolemania (in Italian). No. 23. Xenia Edizioni. p. 76.
  15. ^ Kaihatsu-sha O, Zuruzuru; Kaihatsu-sha S; Ishii, Zenji; Umemura; KAL (May 1993). "'93 AOU ショー!! クロスレビュー: ファイヤースープレックス (SNK)". Gamest (in Japanese). No. 90. Shinseisha. p. 44.
  16. ^ a b Thielen, Armin (July 1993). "Neo Geo - 3 Count Bout". Play Time (in German). No. 25. Computec. p. 128.
  17. ^ a b "Review – 3 Count Bout – Neo Geo". Power Unlimited (in Dutch). No. 2. VNU Media. September 1993.
  18. ^ a b Bieniek, Chris (July 1993). "Video-Game Reviews - 3 Count Bout (SNK) For the Neo•Geo". VideoGames & Computer Entertainment. No. 54. Larry Flynt Publications. p. 58.
  19. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 448. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 May 1993. p. 25.
  20. ^ "The Player's Choice - Top Games Now in Operation, Based on Earnings-Opinion Poll of Operators: Best Video Software". RePlay. Vol. 18, no. 7. RePlay Publishing, Inc. April 1993. p. 4.
  21. ^ "Top Coin-Ops of May 1993". Electronic Games. Vol. 1, no. 10 (July 1993). June 22, 1993. p. 14.
  22. ^ "Equipment Poll - Video & Pinball Combined". Play Meter. Vol. 19, no. 6. Skybird Publishing. May 1993. p. 8.
  23. ^ Lowe, Andy (July 1993). "Reviews - Neo Geo - 3 Count Bout". GamesMaster. No. 7. Future Publishing. p. 72.
  24. ^ "En Portada - Cuando La Acción No Conoce Límites: 3 Count Bout (Neo Geo) - Emociones fuertes". Hobby Consolas (in Spanish). No. 22. Hobby Press. July 1993. p. 26.
  25. ^ "Warpzone – Neo Geo: 3 Count Bout". Video Games (in German). No. 19. Future-Verlag. July 1993. pp. 26–27.
  26. ^ Noak, Philipp; Hellert, Stefan (August 1993). "Special - Neo Geo - 3 Count Bout". Mega Fun (in German). No. 11. CT Computec Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. pp. 28–30. Archived from the original on 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  27. ^ "NEO GEO GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ファイヤー・スープレックス". Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 332. ASCII. April 28, 1995. p. 27.