Wrestlemania - the Arcade Game
WWF meets Mortal Kombat?
9.3.2003 by Big D

After talking to the Drunk the other night, we were pondering which game I should review. Now I'll admit, they all can't be as good as NHL '94. But most games are at least passable, right? And any wrestling game has to have at least that much going for it...

Except this one.

And maybe WWF In Your House.


WrestleMania: The Arcade Game

From 1992-1994, WWF games had been getting steadily better, from Super WrestleMania to Royal Rumble to RAW. Just pretend that the later releases for the NES didn't exist, and ignore the fact that one of the best wrestling games EVER, WrestleFest, was released in the arcade in 1991. Super WrestleMania was the first game to put the SNES graphic capabilities to use, as character detail was pretty damn good for the timeframe, and even the rosters were bigger, something like 12 guys. Problem was, for the SNES version, you couldn't use signature moves. So if you were Earthquake, the closest you could get to the vertical splash was a running elbow drop on a downed opponent. Royal Rumble added finishers, and RAW continued to improve on that. They had to be on their way.


In 1995, the WWF teamed with Akklaim , Midway, and Sculptured Software to produce the abortion that is the WrestleMania Arcade Game. I don't know the rationale for making such a drastic change, but it wasn't the right one.

I'll try and address the problems as we go.

Objective:As with most wrestling games, the primary goal is to go through a series of matches in order to secure a title. In this game, depending on the difficulty that you want, you can fight for the IC belt or the WWF strap. But the problem is, that's all there is. No Royal Rumble, no cage match, no nothing. You just fight through the requisite 6 or so matches of increasing difficulty, and that's that.

As for the "increasing difficulty", in IC mode, you fight first against one opponent, then 2 on 1, and then 3 on 1, with the 3rd guy coming in after the first guy is eliminated. In world title mode, you start with 2 on 1, then 3 on 1, and after that I don't know, because I got too frustrated and turned it off. Imagine how tedious a real-life handicap match is, and multiply that by about 3, and that's how annoying it is.

And after you deal with all that frustration, your reward is a shot of your character congratulating you for winning the belt, with your logo showing and music playing, and then a really lame credits sequence that you can't escape. Ergh.

If that wasn't enough, after having 12 guys to choose from in RAW, all you get is 6. Bret, UT, Razor, Shawn, Luger, and DOINK. Not very exciting. WHERE'S OWEN? WHERE'S SPARKY PLUGG? WHERE'S MABEL? Oops, got carried away there. But any way you slice it, 6 is nowhere near enough.

Graphics: Actually, the characters themselves actually look better than the earlier games. But it seems like they may have overdone it on the individual characters, because the rest of the graphics, like the ring, aren't nearly as detailed. And the graphics as your wrestler moves from one wrestler to the next (between matches) are pretty corny.

Sounds/Music: This is an issue as well. They spent much of their available allotment of sound space by getting some cheezy Vince voice-overs. "Boom-shaka-laka"? Never heard Vince say that, but maybe Midway insisted on it. As for the wrestler music, it might actually be WORSE than in the previous games. All I know is, it's not better. Somebody else also adds some equally retarded voice clips, and although it kinda sounds like Jimmy Hart, I think it might be Perfect instead. And the background music is WEAK.

Gameplay: Absolutely terrible. I've played few games that are worse. They went for a Mortal Kombat feel, but if they were going for that, they should have just went with a straight 2-D side-scroll. Moving up and down is pretty worthless. As far as actual moves go, besides PUNCH and KICK (you have to have those), anything else is really hard to pull off. I did a hurricarana once by accident. I don't have the manual, but I believe that if you want to do an actual move, you have to input some stupid button sequence (like in the Akklaim titles for the N64). And when it gets to the handicap match section, it just gets frustrating. Also, when you go for a pin, all you do is cover the guy and it's over. No 3-count or anything. If you're UT, you don't even cover him. Just terrible.

And that's not even the worst part. Just like in MK, everyone has some kind of weapon attact. Like Shawn swings with a baseball bat, or Razor's arms move in a razorlike manner and make a slicing sound when you hit the appropriate button. And when you really whack a guy, items come out of them. Like if you pummel Doink, bowling pins and balls come out. Bad idea, both in theory and in practice, and it adds little to the game. They should have went all the way and had them bleed or something.

Fun Factor: Virtually zero. I think I had more fun getting my wisdom teeth pulled. And playing it for 10 minutes to review it was enough to tide me over for a few years. If there's anybody out there who actually LIKES this game, let me know. So I can laugh at you.

Final Analysis: Don't buy this game, unless you collect bad games, or are trying to own every wrestling game ever. Even if you get it for 5 bucks, that's still overpriced. This one's probably going back in the drawer for a LONG time. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.

games | sports | wrestling | music | movies | advice | spew
2003 The Throw Down Group