lauantai 19. maaliskuuta 2011

REVIEW - WWF Raw (1994)

GENRE(S): Sports / Fighting
RELEASED: November 1994
DEVELOPER(S): Sculptured Software, LJN (GB), Realtime Associates (GG)
PUBLISHER(S): Acclaim Entertainment, Accolade (GB), LJN (SNES)

On January 11th, 1993, the World Wrestling Federation launched their first weekly broadcast, WWF Monday Night Raw, also known as Raw Is War for a spell when the Monday Night War between Raw and WCW Nitro really flared up. Its huge popularity and variety in matches made professional wrestling national, weekly entertainment, and great material for video game developers affiliated with the WWF. The essence of Raw has been captured (or at least they've tried to) into three stand-alone games, and nowadays, it's the semi-basis for THQ's highly successful WWE SmackDown vs. Raw series. The first game strictly based on Raw was released in 1994 for several systems, starting from the Game Boy to Sega's brand-new 32-bit Genesis peripheral, the 32X. The game sounds like a huge step forward, but in reality it feels like we're playing Royal Rumble all over again - with Super WrestleMania's framerate issues.

Raw, as in not complete

Now I'm serious: the look of the game hasn't changed at all. The roster is different and some wrestlers wear particular attires they used back in the day - the details are respectable, such as Taker's purple gloves - but all in all, the game looks exactly, 100% identical to WWF Royal Rumble during gameplay. The framerate, as I said, reminds me of the twitch in WWF Super WrestleMania, though. It doesn't make the game harder to play at all, but it's disturbing to the eyes. There's absolutely no difference in the sound, either, except for very little digitized speech to start off Bam Bam's theme song.

Now this is what I call a random match-up.
The line-up's more of a mixed bag than it had been up to this point; the game is based on regular programming rather than any major event, so I guess it's kind of comprehensible. The late, great Owen Hart is exclusive to the major versions of the game - it's about time he was noted by video game developers. The game is actually one of only three titles to feature Owen, and the last game (WWF Attitude) was released on home consoles after his death. Of course we have his big brother Bret with whom he had some unforgettable bouts back in the day. Diesel, a.k.a. Kevin Nash, one of my all-time favourite super heavyweights also makes his debut. Then we have the usual company: The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, Lex Luger and Bam Bam Bigelow, a strange mainstay but a good guy, great mid-carder. In even stranger turns of events, we've got the 1-2-3 Kid - who didn't really amount to anything before becoming X-Pac in my opinion - Luna Vachon, the most frightening female wrestler ever, not even Chyna had anything on this chick, and last, and definitely least, the very original Doink the Clown. The most disturbing peeve I have is the fact that even if you're playing as Diesel, you can easily be eliminated from the Rumble by a joke like Doink. Or just beaten around by him in a regular match, 'cause personal attributes still don't exist. Even Vachon throws Diesel around like he's a rubber ball. Not saying it wouldn't have been possible, just highly unlikely.

Every match type from Royal Rumble is present including the main event, but the awkwardly named Triple Tag Team has once again been reverted back to "Survivor Series". In addition, there's Bedlam, which is nowadays known as a Tornado Tag. It basically means that all team members are in the ring at the same time, and apparently there are no disqualifications since the captain of my opposing team keeps punching the ref with no punishment, and there's a chair and a bucket on the ringside - but apparently you also cannot leave the ring during the match, if your partner's been eliminated, which is kind of odd. Raw Endurance is an odd match in which you have the option of choosing six wrestlers to clash it out with the rest of the roster, or go against a team of six wrestlers using just one guy. Thumb massacre galore.

The tug meter's a little more responsive, but it
takes a hell of a lot of energy to execute a simple
Though the movesets are supposed to be unique for each wrestler, the controls are exactly the same as they were in WWF Royal Rumble, but the game is notably harder. Just moderate difficulty is all it takes for the opponent to kick your ass in nanoseconds if you're not well prepared for a mashkill lockdown, and wrestlers recover stamina whenever they've gained enough momentum - probably to make the matches feel longer and more realistic. In practice, the game's just frustrating. It doesn't really give you the time or the space to attempt anything remotely cool. Honestly, I had better time with the previous 16-bit game.

Despite a few "enhancements", it's the very same game as WWF Royal Rumble, just not even that good. I would've wished for some better controls at least, now that they had finally ditched the possibility of doing another 8-bit game and since they had time to work on something a little more than another simple mashfest they delivered five years back. It's not total crap, but quite useless.

SOUND : 6.5


GameRankings: 80.00% (GEN), 58.00% (SNES)

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