History of WWF/E Games Part 3
This week we look at the very first WWF arcade title.
WWF Superstars was developed by the good people at Technos who are the guys behind the smash hit Double Dragon. This was the very first WWF arcade title to be released and to put it simply blew wrestling fans minds. At the time of release the only other game that let you actually wrestle as the superstars of the WWF was Wrestlemania for the NES. Like most NES games while they were a whole heap of fun, they could never match the power of a arcade machine (the difference between this and Wrestlemania is staggering).
It may be a little unfair to compare these two games, but for this time frame these were the only two games to compare. Going from playing Wrestlemania at home on your NES to then play this at the local arcade really was an amazing experience. A little bit of trivia about this game is that many people think that the two original Gameboy titles from LJN WWF Superstars and Superstars 2 are based on this, when in fact they are not related in any way at all.
As far as overall presentation goes this game really is impressive. WWF Superstars features six of the biggest names that the WWF had to offer at the time. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Big Boss Man, Honky Tonk Man and Hacksaw Jim Duggan were all playable characters, and they all had there little mannerisms that made each character unique. Also included in WWF Superstars that was never featured on any of the NES games or Super NES for that mater, were these cool little entrances. Technos did a fantastic job of capturing each wrestlers look and personality, making each wrestler seem like an individual. This is something developers even struggle with today, but back in 1989 Techon’s managed this quite well.
The whole game has the “feel” of the WWF, and the arena that the matches take place in looks amazing. It is a great sight seeing the crowd go wild for the action inside the ring. What really makes this game capture the world of the WWF is how it has these really cool cut scenes with The Million Dollar Man & Andre The Giant (who also serve as the games bosses). In addition before each match it has a kind of TV style presentation to it. Its great to have the wrestlers act and look like there real life counterparts, but its all the little bells and whistles that Technos added that really bring this game to life.
As far as gameplay of WWF Superstars goes its pretty much a button masher. You need to pick two wrestlers to create a tag team. Once the action starts you can punch, kick, do running attacks, and grapple your opponents. Grapple is where your wrestler can do one of two signature moves such as the Ultimate Warrior’s “Gorilla Press Slam”. Each wrestler controls a little bit differently. Randy Savage for example is quite fast where as the Big Boss Man is very slow and quite a hindrance to play as. WWF Superstars does have a very simple control scheme but for a arcade title it works perfectly, and will drain your money away really fast. People may play this on some kind of emulator and think that it is very simplistic, which to be fair it is, but arcade games back then didn’t need to be overly complex.
Once you get the hang of the controls it is time to take the challenge of winning the WWF tag team titles. You start your quest in a match in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fantastic presentation of the game really brings this to life. You must defeat the other wrestlers who are put into random tag teams. The goal is to get to Japan and wrestle Andre The Giant and The Million Dollar Man who as a tag team are known as “The Mega Bucks”. I will go on record right now as to saying that there is no harder match in any WWF game than this one. Andre The Giant is a monster and will take you a whole heap of credits to beat him. Now it is easy to do this on a emulator, but back then it could be very frustrating. It actually is quite easy to beat the other wrestlers in the game, and it is just this last match where the difficulty shoots through the roof.
WWF Superstars is not only a good WWF game it is also a good arcade game from a golden era in arcades. It is such a shame we never saw this ported to one of the more powerful home computers such as the Amiga or the Atari ST as I am sure they could have done a somewhat decent conversion. Reasoning for this was that Micro League still had the WWF rights for the home computer market and in the early 1990’s these rights would then go to developers Ocean Software. WWF Superstars is a fun game that I highly recommend you check out, and it still holds up well today. Thanks to emulators you now no longer have to worry about Andre The Giant taking all your 20pences you would use to play this (or quarters to my American friends)
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