RELEASED: March 1992
AVAILABLE ON: GEN, SNES
DEVELOPER(S): Sculptured Software
PUBLISHER(S): Flying Edge (GEN), LJN (SNES), Acclaim Entertainment (JAP)
The 90's were a magnificent time for professional wrestling. Just think of all the professional wrestlers who made their major league debuts, or who were already with a major promotion but rose to whole new spheres as single competitors during the early 90's: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels, not to mention my all-time favourite professional wrestler, The Undertaker. The 90's just kept on getting better as the WWF adapted a whole new approach to their schtick later on in the decade and introduced more high-profile legends such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, but the early 90's were perhaps the finest years of wrestling from a sports fan's view. Wrestling at its most physical needed a whole new platform to adapt into a virtual environment authentically, and so both 16-bit consoles of the day got their first installment in the WrestleMania series. Rare passed development duties to Sculptured Software, who managed to do what Rare and Twilight Games couldn't before them: an ALMOST decent wrestling game, which ultimately stumbles on its lack of point, and painful controls.
Tapped out to the "Hand Mutilator"
The graphics are really nice considering the times, and well detailed; the game's extremely colourful to the point it might actually hurt someone's eyes, though. The bigger problem's the framerate, which sucks balls. The large, detailed sprites are most likely the reason why it's so twitchy. There's hardly music in this game except for the game's main theme and the wrestlers' theme songs, which are once again almost unrecognizable counting out a few exceptions such as the Hulkster's irritating "Real American" stomp. Most of the sound consists of digitized three-counts and audience noise.
|Have I seen this before? No Ric Flair or a steel |
Let's take a dip into the control pool first. You can use all buttons on the controller, which is quite cool in theory - they all do the same things, though. Grapple moves are possible to execute only via a tug o' war, which means you have to outmash the CPU in a struggle before you're able to perform a bodyslam. You can just imagine how tough that is, and occasionally it seems like the moment the CPU's stamina meter hits a certain low, he suddenly becomes invincible. You constantly find yourself in a tug, and just one match can render your right hand useless. It's all the same whether you're wrestling Taker or a mid-carder. There are no signature moves or styles, or differences in endurance at all in this game, all the wrestlers come from the same place. Choosing the wrestler is all about your personal preference.
|Legion of Doom vs. Natural Disasters. EPIC!|
The choice of match type is almost identical to that of WWF WrestleMania Challenge, which the game is clearly based on. There's a singles match, a tag match and then the Survivor Series elimination match, which now features four wrestlers on each side, just as real Survivor matches did back then. I think I'll take the tag match first. Oh yeah, this is more like it. Mean Gene Okerlund announces the wrestlers, which immediately raises the reality bar here - although it's weird he's replaced by another dude in the post-match sequence. The overall gameplay of the tag match is quite good, if not taking into account the million tug o' wars and a bloody red thumb begging for mercy. Tagging in your partner is easy and it's cool how they actually recover stamina while standing on the sidelines. After the match (which I won) I'm given two choices: "Rematch" and "Start over". I don't want no stinking rematch, I won fair and square - I'll... start over? I don't want to do that either, let me take a gander at the new Survivor match. I won that too, despite the fact that the opponent kept tagging in a fresh partner all the time and I could not do shit about it. Once again, it's "Rematch" or "Start over".
|The moves look real even on this capacity, and the |
game deserves huge props for that.
Here I am, as an (almost) 8-year old kid, back in 1992 and thinking to myself how hard it is to make a wholly satisfying wrestling game. Was it written in some clause by LJN that whoever developed games for them couldn't make a functional game to the best of their abilities? The Sculptured Software quality might have varied throughout the 90's, but I can state on a seamless certainty that this is not what they could've pulled off at their best of the subject at hand. Yet, WWF Super WrestleMania isn't total shit, either, since it brings in its own share of minor qualities exploited to the fullest by later games.
GRAPHICS : 7.8
SOUND : 6.0
PLAYABILITY : 5.9
LIFESPAN : 4.5
CONCLUSION : 5.7