- Category: RetroReaction
- Published on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:19
- Written by The Analyst
Welcome to Retro Reaction
I am the Wrestling Analyst... Why? Because today we are looking at a pre-smackdown WWF.
This is a part 1 so were looking at everything up to the WWF Attitude era games. Those will be looked at in part 2 which takes place in set 5.
Wrestlemania (NES) Wrestlemania Challenge (NES) Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge (NES / MASTER SYSTEM)
The 8 bit era got Wrestlemania. The first few were exactly what you could expect from an 8 bit wrestling game. Not too great. Apart from giving you the opportunity to wrestle as Andre the Giant or Hulk Hogan. The first Wrestlemania played vaguely recognizable versions of the wrestlers theme music as you played.
Matches were simple singles or tag matches throughout the early games
Wrestlemania recently shot to Retro fame in the movie “The Wrestler” where the title character is seen playing a game looking very similar.
Later versions added more wrestlers (Challenge) and for the first time in gaming a Steel Cage (Steel Cage Challenge) Although the latter had revamped the control system the basics where the same and very basic. None of these games featured special moves yet, and the wrestlers all had the same move set. Single player modes consisted of a series of matches of increasing difficulty.
King of the ring was a similar game that added the tournament format.
Wrestlemania (PC, Amiga, C64, ZX Spectrum)
I had the Amiga version of what was the best wrestling game of the 8 bit era. Big sprites that looked a lot more like their real life counterparts in a cartoon way. Ok Hogans finisher was never a pile driver but at least it tried to emulate WWE TV at the time in its presentation and it's feuds (Slaughter was the WWF Champion in this game)
European Rampage (PC, Amiga, C64)
After Wrestlemania you would think this would be very good. Not so much sadly. This sequel was made exclusively for European release and was much more like the NES 8 bit games. It focused exclusively on tag team competition. The games only nice feature was the ability to battle through European arenas (which all looked the same apart from a flag change). The tag team effort was an attempt to emulate what was happening in the arcade. But the arcade was so much better at the time
WWF Superstars, WWF Wrestlefest (Arcade)
These were the best games for their time. Cartoon but perfectly matched to the WWF at the time. WWF Wrestlefest gained cult status and has gone on to a recent re release. Here you got an interesting game with special moves and for the time a large character selection (exp Wrestlefest).
Wrestlefest also added a fun royal rumble mode.
The main game on both these arcade machines involves pursuit of the tag team championships. You choose two of your favorite wrestlers to challenge either the legion of doom (Wrestlefest) or Andre the giant and Ted Dibiase (Superstars).
These arcade games really captured the excitement of the WWF during a boom period of their history and I urge any wrestling fan to play them... Google how ;)
WWF Super Wrestlemania (Mega Drive, SNES)
A 16 bit game. Even said so on the box. Graphically this was a stage up from the other home consoles. It had a much bigger roster and added more moves and a survivor series mode.
The wrestlers all wrestled the same still.
It is the first time that different platforms got exclusives. The Mega drive featured fewer characters but finally added signature moves.
The SNES version got extra characters but left out finishers. A tragic move for SNES owners.
WWF Royal Rumble (Mega Drive, SNES) WWF Rage in the cage (Mega CD) WWF RAW (Mega Drive, 32x, SNES)
All these games run on the same graping engine with various add ons and various degrees of polish. It was slightly tweaked from Super Wrestlemania. Lock ups now included a certain degree of button bashing to get the move over your opponent. WWF Royal Rumble added – you guessed it a royal rumble mode.
Rage in the cage expanded upon this concept using the same basic game engine but adding one of the biggest rosters seen in a game to that point. The WWF was undergoing changes that were reflected in these games. The bigger names slowly dwindled, replaced by well soon to be big names. Razor,
In fact by the last Game WWF RAW the set is almost recognizable as the weekly show we see today. Despite this the game being a throwback to the hulk hogan era. But our pre attitude era look back is about to get weirder.
WWF Wrestlemania the arcade game (Arcade, PSX, Mega Drive, SNES,) WWF In your House (PSX, Saturn)
The 32bit era of gaming had arrived and with it came another graphical leap. But a very different style of game play. It was a great idea on paper WWF mixed with Acclaims other major hit Mortal Kombat. It mixed WWF characters with MK's 3 round format. Making it unrecognizable to wrestling fans.
On the plus side commentary had made a comeback (not seen since WWF Wrestlefest) the bad news was the commentary was provided by Vince. The wrestlers at last wrestled differently.. Very differently. Razor used a real razor. Undertaker hit his opponents with a real tombstone.
Yeah that style of cartoon.
In your house used the same system with an updated roster that included Vader, Goldust, a young HHH etc. It also allowed you to wrestle in say Undertaker's graveyard etc.
Very playable but just not in tune with the WWF Product. Very soon the WWF product and games were about to change.
The era of Attitude had started and it was time to enter the WARZONE