Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 05/27/02 | Genre: Wrestling
Along comes one of the best and most welcome ideas in wrestling game history: to take the best-loved wrestlers from yesteryear, like Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik, and the Rock N' Roll Express, and put them together in one game. Old-school wrestling fans would love it, and fans of modern wrestling would get a taste of history. It's a sure-fire hit!
What's done right in this game? Well, it has a roster of 42 old-school wrestlers with such standouts as Koko B. Ware, George "The Animal" Steele, and the Road Warriors. It also features an innovative combo system as you try to hit the right button in time to reverse grapples or counterattacks. When you're defending against an attack or a hold, a timing bar appears under your name. If you press the button at the right time, you'll reverse the move. It's a cool idea that works fairly well, given the mind-numbingly slow pace of the game.
What's done wrong? Everything else. The slow, unintuitive controls underlie awful, slapped-together graphics and a poor excuse for soundtrack that features MIDI-rock sound-alikes of the wrestlers' classic themes which are really nowhere near the real thing(where is "I am a Real-american for Hulk Hogan or "Ironman" for the road warriors?) Wrestlers' entrances consist entirely of walking to the ring (in small dirty arenas as Somewhere Downtown, Out in the Desert, etc.), posing for a split second, and then standing in ready position for way too long. The lack of ringside commentary, a feature that help make other wrestling games is sorely missed here. Along with the lacking vareity in matches, and there awkward tournament system, which forces you to win against every opponent instead of a single elimination format. The game just seems tacked together as opposed to the slick, flashy presentation we're used to from SmackDown. Not only that, but the game's lineup of wrestlers also seems lacking: Classic superstars like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Andre the Giant are conspicuously absent, while Rob van Dam and Sabu made it on the list.
This game is strictly a renter, (one time renter at that) something to play for an afternoon while you're waiting for good to come on TV. If the game had even a fraction of the personalities of the wrestling giants it features, it would be a contender. As it is, yet another classic example of brawn over brains. What a shame.