History of WWF/E Games Part 5
Time for a look at the first WWF game for a handheld system.
WWF Superstars for the Game Boy was the very first WWF game that was ever released for a handheld system. This was developed like many of the early WWF games by the good people at Rare. Considering this is the first WWF title for the Gameboy it is actually very ambitious. This is a stand alone title based on the WWF Superstars TV show, and does not have any relation to the arcade game by the same name that was made by Technos.
WWF Superstars is considered to be the best WWF game for the original Gameboy, and it is its own game and never tries to emulate the WWF games for the NES. This makes it a very unique experience. Many of the later Gameboy WWF games tried a bit hard to emulate there NES and SNES counterparts, and most of the time came across as just a watered down port. WWF Superstars however really stands out as a great game.
Amazing is the best word to describe the look of WWF Superstars. Graphically it looks better than the two WWF games that were released on the NES by 1991. You can argue that there is only five wrestlers in the game but they all look great. They have nice big and chunky sprites more similar to the arcade game WWF Wrestlefest than they are the NES WWF games. The arena while quite basic still looks great, and there are no fans but in the darkness you can see flashes of light as if there is people taking pictures of the action in the ring.
The most noticeable thing about the presentation of WWF Superstars is the fact that it has actual WWF style TV presentation before and after matches. Before each match the two wrestlers will go back and forth in a interview segment. What makes this even better is it is slightly different each time. For example Ultimate Warrior will say different things to Randy Savage than he does to Ted Dibiase. Also after each match Vince McMahon gives a run down of the action.
Sound wise the game has the WWF Superstars entrance themes and they all sound good with the exception of Ted Dibiase’s (I really am not sure who the hell gave the OK to that). My only complaint with the sound is that the music during matches never changes, and after awhile it can get really repetitive.
WWF Superstars is a typical wrestling game of the era; nothing to complex it is very easy to pick up and play as a handheld game most of the time was back in the day. All five of the wrestlers have the same basic moves in both strikes and a body slam, and also a pile driver. To mix it up each wrestler has a unique strike attack that is achieved by landing three strikes in a row. Ultimate Warrior will do a head butt and Randy Savage will do a elbow smash. One thing that really annoyed me as a kid was the fact that every superstar did a elbow off the top rope, except for Randy Savage. Wrestling fans will know this is odd as a elbow from the top rope was Randy Savage’s finishing move, yet it was like they went out of there way to not give him this move.
One thing that never gets a mention in WWF Superstars is that as well as standing moves and moves when your opponent was lying on the mat, that there is a third set of moves. If you get close enough as your opponent is standing up you can grab then while that are kneeling and do a couple of extra moves. Like WWF Superstars in the arcade and WWF Wrestlefest, when the action spills to the outside of the ring the view changes.
WWF Superstars does play great but there is only really one game mode. You pick your wrestler and then must defeat the other four wrestlers in order to become the Champion. You can pick between one fall or best of three falls to change it up a bit. This may seem like a huge downside to this game but at the time this really was not that uncommon. While in this day and age of handheld gaming when you buy a game you are expecting a experience similar to what you get on a console. Back then a handheld game was a pick up and play experience.
WWF Superstars for me is the best Gameboy WWF game by a mile, and this is due to it standing in its own and not trying to be like another WWF game. It looks great and plays great, and it really is the perfect WWF experience on Gameboy. I will not lie and say that the lack of game modes is not a issue as after awhile it is, but there is no better WWF game to pick up and waste half a hour or so on than this one.
This and WWF Wrestlemania Challenge really were a golden era of WWF games on NES and Gameboy. I cannot recommend this game highly enough, and I know that here in the UK you can easily find this game really cheap for only a couple of pounds at the most.
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