Battle Royale


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 4

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2

It can happen. It really doesn't happen often, but it does occur. Oh, sorry. I'm talking about a game being released outdated the moment it hits shelves. "Battle Royale" is one of those in case you haven't figured it out yet, one of the most depressing wrestling games ever made.

With a meager roster of five wrestlers, this one has little to offer. Players can wrestle in tournaments, exhibitions, or, well actually that's it. No tag matches, no cages, nothing. It doesn't get much more bare bones than that.

It might not be so bad if the game had any decent gameplay, but unsurprisingly, it doesn't. I can understand the struggle to implement numerous moves into a 2-button game, but making the select button a requirement to perform certain moves (in conjunction with the both the D-pad and buttons) is just absurd. Just to pick up a fallen opponent, you need to press both buttons and up at the exact same time. Just a slight miscalculation and they stay on the mat.

Most matches last no more than a minute, and that's only if there are five wrestlers in the ring. Since you never actually pin anyone (you can only throw them out), a few simple moves means victory. Simple punches are traps and there is no counter-attack for anything. You can't even pick your player without a struggle. Each player must "fight" as a manager to get the right to fight as a specific wrestler. Oh, and there are no health bars. Everything is done on the wrestler's wristbands, which are hard to see and are barely even there on some frames of animation.

The only decent option is the ability to fight against four friends, but actually getting people together to play this is harder than the game. It's either too easy or the computer performs a tactic know as "surround and pound." One on one fights are no problem. Simply hit the AI opponent 8 times and then throw them out of the ring. Once you get stuck in handicap matches, all the computer does is get on both sides of the player and wail away. You can't escape.

With the small exception of the so-so menu screens, the game looks awful. The wrestler sprites are small, lack detail, and animation is at a bare minimum. The background is sparse and quite plain and it never changes no matter how far you make it.

The only reason to play this one is for the sound. Toss an opponent out of the ring for a hilarious digitized scream that never gets old. Access the wrestler bios in the menu for more voice samples. Most of the sound effects are digitized as well and sound really good coming from the console.

This is a game that would barely be acceptable two console generations previous. Though it's hard to believe, wrestling games can get worse, but not by much. It's amazing just how primitive this game is. Most early games would at least offer up some visuals that would impress a would-be console owner, but "Battle Royale" can't even do that. This is easily one of the darkest spots in the systems library.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 08:48 AM