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
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
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
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.