RELEASED: June 1998
AVAILABLE ON: GB, N64, PS1
DEVELOPER(S): Probe Entertainment (GB), Iguana Entertainment (N64), Acclaim Entertainment (PS1)
PUBLISHER(S): Acclaim Entertainment
It had been four years since the last REAL wrestling game relating to the World Wrestling Federation was released for any platform, and the face of the WWF changed by a great deal during those four years. Wrestling had become more real and mature, due to the arrival of new superstars such as the foul-mouthed, bird-flipping and beer-drinking Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the iconic, very articulate The Rock who was inspirational and namely electrifying as both face and heel. Degeneration-X was born to piss off censors and parents all around the States. The Undertaker also took on a new satanic gimmick, that was met by varying critical response, and in 1998, we were introduced to his "half-brother" Kane, who Taker had supposedly burned alive as a kid along with his parents' house. WWF programming has never been as golden and exciting as it was in the late 90's, during the Monday Night Wars. WWF War Zone was the first three-dimensional wrestling game, the mother of all of the professional wrestling titles that have emerged since. It's no surprise that it's dated, but let's take a look at how the Nintendo 64 version - the supposedly most technically advanced version - really fared 13 years ago.
I won? Seriously?
|There have been times I've been more proud of |
There are 16 superstars in the game, including, but not limited to Mankind, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Bret Hart, and the late duo of British Bulldog and Owen Hart. In addition, Mick Foley's "other two faces" besides Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love, are unlockable, as well as a top secret character. We have the Headbangers, Mosh and Thrash, to even the card, as well as a few other low- to mid-carders. Quite a bunch, not much to complain here. I'm glad they didn't waste valuable space by including everyone that ever was part of the two major factions at the time (Nation of Domination and Degeneration-X), instead they included just a few choice guys from each. Of course, if the roster isn't enough for you, you can create your own superstar... IF you have a Controller Pak.
|Even if the graphics fail to impress overall, the |
mo-capped moves are cool.
|This happens a lot.|
|Let's get ready to jumble.|
So, if you just keep punching and kicking the opponent like you did in every game that came before War Zone, the opponent actually gains momentum, while you lose it. When the audience starts chanting your opponent's name - although he might be a mirror image of your own wrestler, this is one of those games - you'll know you're in trouble. The opponent becomes even harder to hit or slam down into the ground than he was before, and you'll end up losing a lot of matches just because efficient use of the control scheme is so damn hard to learn and sink in. At some point I figured I should use Michaels, 'cause he's one of the quickest guys in the bunch, and therefore easier to control... on the other hand, his physical strength and endurance are not from the highest end. They sure picked a time to make the attributes mean jack.
|How I wish there was a Hell in a Cell for these |
guys to have a fair rematch. I guess the cage'll
have to do.
WWF War Zone is one slow, unfair, frustrating game, but it was the first true wrestling game as far as I'm concerned. It's the one game that turned the whole genre upside down, with unique features such as the 3D setting itself, the character editor, and an overall system that effectively eliminated senseless button mashing, as unfair and awkward as it turned out at this point. I highly respect the game - but I don't like it too much. If I had played it when it came out, it would've probably taken me a few more than only five years, before I would've dared to get into wrestling games. The following overall rating pretty much goes out to all the future essentials that were originally invented for this title.
GRAPHICS : 7.0
SOUND : 6.4
PLAYABILITY : 6.1
LIFESPAN : 6.0
CONCLUSION : 6.4
GameRankings: 52.00% (GB), 84.93% (N64), 80.46% (PS1)
The Headbangers, Bret Hart, Cactus Jack and Dude Love are not featured in the Game Boy version.
Bret Hart actually left the WWF almost a year before the game's release. This was the last WWF/E game to feature him until WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006.
Turok from Acclaim Entertainment's critically acclaimed series of first-person shooters is an unlockable character, but to this day, it hasn't been officially figured out how to unlock him except by using GameShark. Even though the Turok franchise was exclusive to the Nintendo 64 at the time, the character can apparently only be unlocked in the PlayStation version of the game.