lauantai 19. maaliskuuta 2011

REVIEW - WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge (1992)

GENRE(S): Sports / Fighting
RELEASED: September 1992
DEVELOPER(S): Flying Edge (GG / SMS), Sculptured Software (NES)
PUBLISHER(S): Flying Edge (GG / SMS), LJN (NES)

The first registered steel cage match in history took place in 1937. The WWF wasn't founded before 1952, and it took a while, quite precisely 27 years, for Vince McMahon Sr.'s company to take note of this classic type of match and revolutionize it by making it a common setting between two rivals whose rivalry couldn't be settled in the confines of a normal ring anymore. In 1992, the steel cage match was first introduced in a home console game. Not just any game, but the most horrible piece of sports entertainment merchandise ever seen in history. Period, and bar none.

Ever tried pissing against the wind?

The graphics of the game are mediocre at best. They didn't even try to one-up WWF WrestleMania Challenge with this one, they just changed the angle again, to match that of Super WrestleMania. The portraits of the wrestlers looked better in the first game, for crying out loud. The mediocre graphics are nothing compared to the horrible sound politics of this game, though. There's no music apart from the theme songs, which are quite recognizable this time around, if I have to praise this God-forsaken bundle of dung for something. Rest of the audio bank consists of horrible sound effects including the audience noise, and every move you make emits a scratching sound similar to every footstep in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Even pausing the game emits the same effect.

The Hit Man's finally in. What a horrible way
to break him into the video game business.
There's a different line-up in the Nintendo and Sega versions of the game. Sega has Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, we have The Mountie. Okay, we also have Roddy Piper, so the differences in the rosters are not all that bad. The rest of the cast consists of the guys we've been seeing in every game thus far: Hogan, DiBiase, and Savage - and it's rounded out by The Undertaker, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Sid Justice, and Irwin R. Schyster. In this game, the ups and downs of the roster don't really matter. It's that awful.

Basically, it's the same thing as ever before. You have a choice between a singles match or a tag team match. The Survivor Series elimination match is eliminated from the fray on the behalf of the choices to participate in two different tournaments (the WWF Championship and the tag titles), and of course, the main feast, a Steel Cage match. Whichever match type you choose, I'm willing to bet you will play for a maximum of five minutes before unceremoniously deeming yourself a total retard for going out and getting this game.

The controls are repulsively bad. It's easy to land a couple of punches and maybe win a couple of tug o' wars carried over from Super WrestleMania for good measure. You can easily punch your opponent to half-death if you manage to lock him up from the beginning. Guess what, though? If you're grounded, even once, even with your full stamina still intact, just lay the controller down - you can't win. Or at least it's pretty impossible to win. You can't get back on your feet by mashing the buttons as usual. A random press of the Select button might, for some reason I haven't figured out, get you up and running again for a spell. If the opponent manages to land a pinfall attempt, the game's over. There's just no human way to kick out. Again, even if your stamina's full. One kick to the gut might spell defeat. Just like in Pro Wrestling - only that game came out six years before Steel Cage Challenge. It's pretty damn evident that Sculptured and LJN had absolutely no interest in making 8-bit games anymore, so why the hell did they bother? And why the hell did they call it WrestleMania? It was September (WrestleMania's always in March or April), and the game has NOTHING to do with WrestleMania. As a game, it's not even close to what even the previous 8-bit installments of the series were at their best. Hell, not even close to what they were at their worst.

Ooooh, a kick in my maaaaachow nuts!
Oh, and the Steel Cage "Challenge"? Well, since you can't get up from a grounded position at least within two or three seconds, it's easy for the opponent to just lay you down with any attack, then make a run for the cage wall and win the match. The cage matches are impossible to win from my perspective; again, if you don't manage to lock down the opponent's movement with a flurry of punches and kicks from the very beginning of the match. It's just ridiculous. Any game that forces me to watch The Mountie kick The Undertaker's ass in a steel cage match in under five seconds, is a game I never want to hear one word of again.

This game is total garbage and one of the worst video games I've ever touched. I find it hard - no, perfectly impossible - to imagine that there are any people who seriously prefer this kind of shitstorm, no matter how retro it is, over modern wrestling games. But, apparently there are - those people who dedicate their lives to being different from us "normal" human beings. There are easier and more comfortable ways to do that than playing Steel Cage Challenge - like a kindergarten killing spree.

SOUND : 2.5


The very first wrestling game to have the steel cage match was WWF WrestleFest, a 1991 arcade game by Technos Japan.

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