WWF Wrestlemania


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Chances are that if you were a pro wrestling fan back in the mid-80's, Vince McMahon's Wrestlemania caught your attention. Actually, it still does today after 20 years. Acquiring the proper license, Acclaim was quick to capitalize on the growing popularity with the first ever WWF game, appropriately titled "Wrestlemania."

The quest is simple: Fight five of the best superstars the WWF has on their roster to secure the top spot as Heavyweight Champion. If this is a bit too much, feel free to take on any of the other wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, the late Andre the Giant, Ted Dibiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, Randy Savage, or the Honky Tonk Man. Each wrestler shares the same basic move set, though their animation routines vary.

"Wrestlemania" has never entered the hall of video game fame for a few simple reasons. First, winning a match doesn't take much thought. Trapping and pummeling your helpless opponent in a corner is all it really takes. Should the computer AI figure out an escape plan, all they do is waltz around the ring like they have a major concussion.

Punching and kicking are the only real maneuvers at the player's disposal as well. No grappling, save for a body slam by pressing both buttons together, is present. You can climb the front ropes, but not the back. Finally, you can run and certain wrestlers may have a dropkick of some kind. You can't even leave the ring.

Should either a friend or, embarrassingly, the AI, knock down your energy bar, power-ups occasionally pass by at the top of the ring. Each wrestler has one made for them and only them. No one else can benefit from anything except their specific power-up. Once a beating has been administered, the sore wrestler will begin to blink red, giving them a brief boost of power to try and mount a comeback. Since even getting up after being knocked down is a challenge, a comeback is nothing more than a pleasant thought.

Each wrestler looks decent in the ring, easily identifiable for one of the earliest rounds of games for the console. Still, you can't help but think this entire presentation is crude. No crowd is present (the ring is surrounded by nothing but black space) and at least a quarter of the screen is taken up by the life bars along with the timer. The audio presentation is a small step up, featuring all the theme music for each wrestler during the in-ring action (pause to switch wrestler themes). Otherwise, the simple slapping noises that accompany each hit are generic and uninspired.

With a few years of development time between this and Nintendo's own "Pro Wrestling," one should logically expect "Wrestlemania" to improve upon that classic. It obviously didn't happen, and it wouldn't get much better in later WWF games on the console either. This is a game that barely even represents the sport it's trying to emulate.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:49 AM