History of WWF/E Games Part 10
WWF Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge
Sega Master System
Sega Game Gear (1993)
Time to look at the first 8bit WWF game for Sega and the third for the NES.
Steel Cage Challenge was first released on the NES late summer in 1992, a little later a version would be released on the Sega Master System. This was the very first and only WWF game for the Sega Master System, and a port of the Master System version was released on the Sega Game Gear in 1993.
Despite the fact that the game is called Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge, it is not in fact a true sequel to the Wrestlemania Challenge game that was previously released on the NES.
On the NES the graphics are not really bad at all, and it takes on a more traditional side on view of the ring rather than the isometric angle featured in Wrestlemania Challenge. All of the ten wrestlers look pretty decent and you can easily tell who each one is supposed to be. The arena looks great and the ring changes depending on if you are having a regular match or a cage match. During a regular match there is a WWF logo in the middle of the ring, while during cage matches there is WWF logos on the ring apron. This was a nice little touch that no other WWF game on the NES ever did.
On the Sega versions of the game it looked noticeably brighter and more colourful. Both the Master System and Game Gear Versions looked exactly the same. It just looked more polished than the NES versions. Each of the ten characters on the SEGA versions looked great.
While I am on characters, like other games of the era, there was differences in the versions. NES and Sega both shared a few wrestlers and they included Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, IRS, Ted Dibiase, Bret Hart, and the Undertaker. The NES had exclusive characters in Jake The Snake Robberts, Roddy Piper, Sid Justice and The Mountie. While the SEGA versions had Shawn Michaels, Papa Shango, Ric Flair and Tatanka. To be fair both versions of the game do a decent job of representing the characters.
This game for me shares many similarities with WWF Superstars 2 on the Game Boy. They both had a fantastic predecessor, but instead of building on that, the games went in a direction as if they were trying to be like Super Wrestlemania on the 16 bit consoles. This is such a shame as a true sequel to Wrestlemania Challenge would have been fantastic.
There is a good amount of game modes such as regular matches and cage matches, and there was also tag team action and two championship modes. You could either pick a single wrestler and go for the WWF Championship, or you could pick two and try your luck at becoming the Tag Team Champions. So as far as game modes go, I really have no complaints.
So far we have good graphics, a good wrestler selection, and good game modes. This game must have been great back in the day right? Wrong sadly this game falls short when it comes to actually playing it. Sure its not a terrible game. It’s just so damn boring. In two player mode its not so bad, but as a single player game you can get fed up really fast with this. A huge reason for this is because all the wrestlers have the same damn moves. Just like WWF Superstars 2 there is no signature moves, so all the wrestlers play exactly the same. Another problem is that at this point in time only have two buttons on the NES and SEGA controllers was starting to become a issue.
Steel Cage Challenge is not a bad game; it is just a very boring one. I feel had they just given the wrestlers a signature move than this would have made the game a whole lot better. I was very excited being able to play as Bret Hart on my NES as a kid, but when I found out I could not use his Sharpshooter finishing move I was very disappointed.
I loved back in the day how we would get different wrestlers on the SEGA and Nintendo versions of wrestling games, as if you had both consoles it made getting both versions worth it.