Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 05/27/02 | Genre: Wrestling
I don't play many wrestling games because of certain traits that apply to every game in this fighting sub-genre, so there isn't much I can bench Legends of Wrestling on, except for itself. I can tell you how this game is in its own right, but not by comparison. Acclaim's going to have to take on THQ's WWE WrestleMania X8 in a cage match for consumer dominance. I doubt there's going to be any pins here... just one big, messy TKO.
The concept is simple: Throw a bunch of washed up old guys in a ring and let'em duke it out (presumably over the last spoonful of Metamucil). The wrestling interface is basic, but not all that intuiative at first. In many certain postions, a meter appears under your health, indicating small window when to press either A or B for a reversal or combo continuation. Unfortunately, the instruction booklet makes a short, unclear quip about this feature and nothing more. The problem is that it's a major part of fighting back successfully, and the player is left wondering what to do. With the Combo/Reversal Meter aside, the fighting is standard wrestling fare that even I have seen. Boring. To describe this game, I'm going to make up a new word, and that word is "poo monger." This game is total, utter poo monger.
The different modes of play may keep a fan entertained for a short time. Notice I said short; no mode of gameplay can hide a poo monger. You have your Exhibition mode, which is a a single match, whether alone or with your friends. In Career mode, you and your chosen wrestling go on a fanstastic voyage to become the Ultimate heavyweight champion. I think Tournament mode is self-explanatory (pssst...you fight until eliminated). Legends of Wrestling also gives you the ability to Create A Legend. Now, this mode disturbs me because legends earn their title crawling their way up the ranks, and Acclaim thinks you can just make one up on the fly. Anyhoo, the options here are plentiful, including entrances, styles, tattoo and logo desgins and even several shades of Diseased Skin! Yay, my legend has Ebola!
On the superficial side, Legends of Wrestling looks... well... like arse. The character models have rather low poly counts, which is something all wrestling games suffer from, however, these just look horrible. They also look really fat. Seriously. These pro wrestlers look like they've been hitting the buffet every night for a month, and it's unsettling. Also, the massive amounts of clipping destroys my life. The wrestlers will clip through anything; the ropes, the turnbuckle, the mat, each other, etc. Disturbing. The music isn't so bad, but you're not going to remember it once you turn the game off. Truthfully, I don't think I ever even noticed the music while playing if I wasn't looking for it. It's fitting, but not great.
I doubt that there are really any redeeming factors in this game. There a handful of modes to play and characters to unlock. You can also have a few minutes of fun in the multiplayer modes, but even that dies quicker than it should. Although I had some fun with World Tour and Revenge on the Nintendo 64, I'm not a big wrestling fan, so that should be taken into some consideration. Somehow, sweaty guys in speedos trying to grab at each other just doesn't do it for me. So, will there be old-skool wreslting fans who will enjoy this? Sure! Though, for me, this game was shallow and holds no nostalgic value. Please, if you must play it, rent it first. It's pretty poo monger. As for Acclaim... go back to the indie circuit.