WWF Wrestlemania Challenge


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 4

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

After a weak opening with Wrestlemania, Acclaim/LJN (recruiting RARE to develop) went back to the drawing board for the sequel. Upping the roster to eight and adding a few new modes of play, Wrestlemania Challenge is a minor step up from its predecessor. Some of the changes, however, only lead to more confusion and once again, lackluster gameplay.

Bringing back only three of the wrestlers from the previous game, the developers have done a fine job keeping with the latest trends (at the time of course) in the WWF. New entries like the infinitely popular Ultimate Warrior and now deceased Rick Rude round out this new group. You can also to choose to play as yourself, but there is no customization of any kind.

A new view of the ring, from a 3/4 perspective, is the games main issue. Controlling the sprites is confusing from the start and taking the time to adjust will take some practice. Some moves are impossible to perform at an angle (especially running attacks) and the computer AI always manages to make their moves quicker. You might think that you pressed the proper direction to attack, but it's nothing but frustration when the move goes sailing by the enemy only to have them counter-attack.

Obvious improvements have been made to the game, almost taking this series in the proper direction. A small number of grappling moves can now be performed along with the standard array of punches and kicks. From sleeper holds to body slams, everything depends on how the opponent was facing when they were grabbed. Going high on the ropes is now possible from anywhere in the ring, and thankfully, differences can now be settled outside the squared circle. The new modes also give some life to the game including a replica of the Thanksgiving tradition "Survivor Series" and tag matches (including interference). Players can also head out to challenge for the WWF title by beating all of the other wrestlers.

wrestlemaniachallenge2.png (4339 bytes)The game is hit or miss in the audio/visual department. The new ring perspective means all new sprites. These cartoonish and too-small characters represent the wrestlers only sparingly. Their animation is limited and hardly convincing (particularly when you try and grab someone). At least the original Wrestlemania offered up some large and colorful sprites. But, this game does offer an audience to watch these matches, but that's not that important compared to the sprites.

Once again, each of the wrestlers theme music plays during the matches, but whenever a pin attempt is made, it stops and then repeats when the pin is over. It can get infuriating, especially towards the end of a match when health is low and attempts are frequent. The sound effects are simple and are comprised of basic punching sounds along with a weak mat-hitting effect.

For every advance this game made on the previous entry into the series, it took another one backward. An accurate simulation is not to be expected on the hardware of course, but again, if Nintendo can pull a wonderful and brilliant title out for the launch, Acclaim can do one better. Of the four WWF titles for the console, this is probably the most playable and entertaining, but that doesn't really say much.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 01:22 AM