The Rumble Roses game featured only female wrestling characters, each with both a good (Face) and bad (Heel) persona for players to choose from; the only limitation was that the good and bad version of the same character could not fight each other. The game featured 11 playable characters, each with two versions of the same character. The game received only lukewarm reviews, with most commending it for its graphics but being less impressed with the audio quality, game play and storyline.
A mad scientist disguised as a nurse holds an international women's wrestling tournament, and brainwashes and takes DNA samples from the participants to create super soldiers.
Each character has two versions, and each version has a unique sub-plot within Story Mode. The versions, dubbed "Face" or "Heel", have unique attires, names and move sets. It is not possible to use both Face and Heel variations of the same character in the same match. Most "Heel" characters have a matching tattoo on their body, which implies that they have been brain-washed by Anesthesia. The alternate characters have a much shorter story-mode.
- Aigle (Face) is a member of a nomadic minority living on the great plains of Mongolia. Her father and brother are grand champions in Mongolian wrestling . She also possesses the great strength of her father and brother. Aigle joined Rumble Roses in order to convince her father and brother that she is a great warrior. Somewhat lacking in self-esteem for her under-developed body, Aigle has a running gag of comparing the "teats" of the sheep she tended back home to those buxom women she faces in the ring.
- Great Khan (Heel), also known as Killer Khan, is the alter ego of Aigle. Aigle didn't know that being a noble warrior would be a difficult path and began to make fouls in matches. She didn't go back home, thinking her father and brother would laugh at her. Aigle decided to become Great Khan and plans to conquer the world. Despite her decision, she still misses her father.
- Aisha (Face) is a highly successful money-making star who has won every contemporary Grammy available. Aisha is often rude to those she encounters, namely her rival Dixie Clemets.
- Sista A, (Heel) also known as Showbiz, is the alter ego of Aisha. After Rumble Roses, Aisha's record sales took a severe downfall, resulting in failure to make any money and soon being out of the business. However, Aisha still had a passion for dancing, and entered the Rumble Roses tournament just to dance on the stage.
- Anesthesia (Face) is a mysterious self-appointed nurse who serves as Lady X's assistant. She is particularly gifted at complicated submission moves. It is implied that she works for a hidden mastermind.
- Dr. Anesthesia (Heel), also known as Dr. Cutter, is the alter ego of Anesthesia. This is Anesthesia when operating. It is also the mastermind that Anesthesia pretends to work for. She wears a surgical mask to conceal her identity, although removes it for Mud Matches. After her project with Lady X went horribly wrong, Anesthesia became Dr. Anesthesia, with hopes of rebuilding Lady X and improving her, as well as getting revenge on those who defeated her and turn them into the so-called donors of the Lady X Project then turning them into an unbeatable army of cyborgs and experiments.
- Benikage (Heel), also known by her code name Bloody Shadow, is a female ninja wrestler working undercover for the Japanese government to investigate the Rumble Roses organization.
- Yasha (Face), also known as Judgment, is the "true self" of Benikage. She believes in justice, liberty, and all sorts of other things that would define the typical "hero". She has also quit the secret organisation she once worked for, an act punishable by death.
- Candy Cane (Rebecca Welsh) (Heel) sings lead vocals of the all girl punk band The Killer Barbies. Society has labeled her a misfit and a punk, but in reality, she has a pure heart. She entered Rumble Roses in order to win the prize money and to save the orphanage where she was raised. However, she plays truant from school in order to do this.
- Becky (Face) is the alter ego of Candy Cane. She is a typical cheery cheerleader. Miss Spencer convinced Candy Cane to go back to school, and Candy soon joined the cheerleading squad. She uses this to her wrestling advantage, as many of her attacks and moves focus on various cheerleading stunts.
- Dixie Clemets (Face) is the only daughter of a prominent Texan ranch owner. Dixie helps out with the family ranch while also working at the local sheriffs' office. She decided to try her hand at Rumble Roses when she found out that the daughter of her idol, the legendary wrestler Kamikaze Rose, entered the tournament. She uses the game's theme song as her own.
- Sgt. Clemets (Heel) is her alter ego after performing various "fouls", which resulted in fans "booing" her. She then became a cop, though with her changed attitude, became a rather "crooked" cop.
- Evil Rose (Fujiko Hinomoto) (Heel) is a feared masked wrestler who is known for her very rough tactics. She has superhuman reflexes and agility, which she uses to full advantage while torturing her opponents. She has in depth knowledge of Reiko and Lady X.
- Noble Rose (Face) is the alter ego of Evil Rose. Like Yasha, Noble Rose believes in things that define the typical hero. Noble Rose is aware that she is, in fact, Reiko's sister. And she also knows the fate of their mother. She never reveals either of these secrets to Reiko.
- Lady X (N/A) Substance is an artificial being made from the genetic codes of the famous Japanese female wrestler Kamikaze Rose. She is a cyborg, as sufficient portions of her are mechanical. Lady X was created by Anesthesia to alter the military balance on a global scale and to plunge the world into fear and suffering. Noble Rose is aware that Lady X was once her and Reiko's mother, but keeps this secret to herself.
- Lady X Subsistence (N/A) is the alter ego of Lady X Substance. Though there really isn't any noticeable change, Lady X Subsistence is exactly identical to Lady X. However, Lady X Subsistence is in her true "cyborg" form. She has unique moves and taunts that demonstrate that she is a cyborg, e.g. Firing her fist like a projectile to hit an opponent who is out of reach.
- Makoto Aihara (藍原誠 Aihara Makoto) (Face) is child prodigy of Judo. She has elite status as a judo practitioner, but yearns to avenge her loss in her childhood at the hands of another girl. She joins Rumble Roses when she finds out the other girl entered. Unlike the other characters, she is very shy and is uncomfortable with being viewed as a "beautiful woman".
- The Black Belt Demon, or The BBD (Heel) is the alter ego of Makoto Aihara. With amazing strength and skill, she hopes to win Rumble Roses again. However, she is purely possessed. She wishes to kill Reiko and Aigle, her best friends and greatest rivals. Her personality is almost entirely different from before.
- Muriel Spencer (Face), referred to as Miss Spencer, is a history teacher who joins Rumble Roses in order to drag her most rebellious student, Rebecca Welsh, back to school.
- Mistress Spencer (Heel) is a dominatrix version of Miss Spencer, though they both have different personalities. To go with her dominatrix gimmick she has a "slave", a flamboyant man in clown make-up named Sebastian. She begins all matches with a riding crop in hand.
- Reiko Hinomoto (日ノ本零子 Hinomoto Reiko) (Face) is a girl that loves competition and is not afraid to show it. She respects her opponents, her mother's legacy as a legendary wrestler, and often prays to her before and after a match. She enters the sport after her mother and sister go missing. She never learns that they are both in the tournament.
- Rowdy Reiko (Heel) is her alter ego after she joins a group of bikers who called themselves The Road Warriors. Reiko became their leader, and was given the name Queen Cobra. She denies being Reiko, saying she has killed her.
In the online mode included with the Subsistence re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a game setting allowed the highest scoring player on each team to play as either Reiko Hinomoto for red team or Rowdy Reiko for blue after the first round was over and points were totaled. These players had modified CQC attacks in which Reiko would perform her signature "Sunrise Suplex" move on their opponent.
Rumors that Sebastian the Clown, the Bear and Aisha's dancers can be unlocked as playable characters are incorrect. While they do have full models on the game disc they were never made to be used in matches. It is possible with hacking to replace preset characters with them, but they will retain all of the attributes, moves, etc. of the character they replaced.
Rumble Rosesfeatures an all female cast. There are regular matches and mud wrestling matches. There is also a story mode and an option to allow two computer controlled girls to "duke it out while you watch." Each character is claimed to contain 10,000 polygons, a record number for the PlayStation 2.
Rumble Roses features a heel/face system derived from real-life professional wrestling. Each character has an alternate side, bringing the total character count up to 22. Most characters start as a face, or good side. Three of them, however (Bloody Shadow, Candy Cane, and Evil Rose), start as the heel or evil side. Alternate forms of each character are unlocked through the Vow System. Vows are specific things the player must complete during matches, such as not using weapons, using a Killer Move, or winning the match within a certain time limit.
The game's unique unlock system allows only one version of each character (either heel or face) to be unlocked for exhibition matches at any time. The characters can still change back and forth, and unlocked characters remain open for story mode and gallery mode. This effectively cuts the roster in half for exhibition mode.