lauantai 19. maaliskuuta 2011

REVIEW - WWF WrestleMania - The Arcade Game (1995)

GENRE(S): Fighting
RELEASED: October 1995

DEVELOPER(S): Midway, Sculptured Software
PUBLISHER(S): Acclaim Entertainment

The 16-bit's time was coming to an end, and wrestling games among others took a step forward to the 32-bit generation. In 1995, Acclaim Entertainment bid their personal farewells to the 16-bit era and welcomed the 32-bit era at the same time, with several ports of an arcade game entitled WWF WrestleMania. I seriously doubt they were serious with this game, and I seriously hope so, 'cause humour's the only thing that will help you bear this game and the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with professional wrestling. It's more like Mortal Kombat, with the most significant differences being that there's a ring, and you can't kill your opponents. You can summon spirits to help you, though!

Definitely the strangest wrestling game ever

The game runs on a heavily modified Mortal Kombat 3 engine. The framerate is excellent, just how it should be 'cause I've rarely seen games that have a tempo as fast as this one. The digitized wrestlers look extremely good, the background doesn't look nearly as fluid. The sound bank consists of short clips of theme songs, which sound great. Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King" Lawler's constant commentary is irritating, but it's well sampled from a technical, 16-bit standpoint.

HBK doing battle with his personal demons?
There are only six wrestlers in this game. Bret Hart, ooh yeah. The Undertaker, ooooooh yeah. Shawn Michaels, hell yeah. Lex Luger, Razor Ramon... Doink the Clown. Seriously... you have five wrestlers of pure championship caliber, and one fuckin' jobber to cap the line-up? Does the name Jeff Jarrett ring a bell? Or have you forgotten all about Diesel, Owen Hart or Yokozuna? Yeah, they were in the previous games (and Yokozuna is featured in most other versions of the game). Quite capable wrestlers in their own rights. Doink the Clown... good Lord. Oh well, it really doesn't matter who you play as, everyone has the very same skill, very same strength, very same stamina and so on. Doink can easily become WWF Champion. It's just the special moves that are different. And stuff the wrestlers bleed. There's no blood in the game, everyone bleeds different objects. Far out.

You can perform dives and bodyslams etc., but the main objective is to beat the shit out of your opponent just like in any fighting game that ever was. In previous wrestling games, it was the way to succeed, but here, it's the objective. Nearly every wrestler has a special weapon attack; The Undertaker has these spiritual gauntlets or something like that, and Shawn Michaels always carries a baseball bat around. Don't ask me why, but indeed, a single button is used to perform one of these attacks at any time. There are more, such as The Undertaker being able to summon spirits and use them in a ranged, Ryu/Ken Hadouken fashion straight out of Street Fighter. I want some of the stuff the development team had, got to be some rock hard shit.

The rules of wrestling do not apply to this game. There's no three-count; you can't even try to pin the opponent before his stamina meter's down to zero, and once you pin him, the victory's yours. However, there are two rounds to each match, so it's basically 2-out-of-3 falls, all the way. There are also no count-outs, the ring's just there for show. There's a tag team opportunity, but assuming you're going at the game alone, there are just two match types for you to choose from, or more like tournaments - you can go for the Intercontinental Championship or the big prize, the WWF Championship.

Kicking the Real American Hero right out o' ya.
In the Intercontinental bout, you need to win four standard matches, one 2-on-1 handicap, and finally, one 3-on-1 handicap to be crowned the Intercontinental Champion. The WWF Championship is naturally considerably harder to accomplish. You need to win four 2-on-1 handicaps, two 3-on-1 handicaps and finally, a gauntlet match against all other wrestlers in the game to capture the biggest prize in the industry. Whacked, I know. What's even more whacked that since there are only five wrestlers in the game besides the one you're playing as, you need to fight against yourself by default on several occasions.

The controls are responsive... extremely so. The game is a hectic slapfest, so hectic that you might get comboed to hell and then pinned in the time it takes from you to blink. The game is so surreal and funny - in its very own way - that I can't help it, I need to try it over and over again, even if it is near impossible to beat it. It's just so damn amusing. Let's face it from a critical point of view, it's a quite shitty game - but strangely not the worst excuse of a wrestling game we've seen.

I find the game really hard to review, 'cause it's so laughable - it really doesn't anger me, it doesn't even frustrate me, it just makes me laugh out loud at how irrelevant can a main theme be to a game. It's pure slapstick comedy from the beginning to the end, and colour me amazed if Midway was serious in the slightest when they made this game. Good audiovisuals, totally air-headed gameplay. Wrestling fans, please do try this game! Just for the fun of it!

SOUND : 7.8


GameRankings: 70.00% (PC), 70.00% (PS1), 85.00% (SAT)

Two additional wrestlers - Yokozuna and Bam Bam Bigelow - are featured in the original arcade version and the 32-bit home versions of the game.

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