History of WWF/E Games Part 8
WWF Super Wrestlemania
Sega Mega Drive
This week lets look at the very first WWF title of the 16 bit era
“Actual Game Selection Screen!” This quote is one of the things I will never forget when it comes to video games. While most gamers were looking forward to a new Mario game when the SNES hit, for me as a kid I was excited to see what the first WWF game would be like. It was in early 1992 in a issue of the WWF Magazine that I saw an advertisement for Super Wrestlemania, and I was completely blown away at how real the game selection screens looked. Of course now I know they were just scanned photos, but still to me at the time they were impressive.
WWF Super Wrestlemania which was first released on the SNES, and then a little later on the Sega Mega Drive, was the first in what is a trilogy of WWF games in this style.
At the time I was very impressed with Super Wrestlemania. It looked amazing, and so much better than any of the wrestling games on my good ol’ NES. It boasted ten wrestlers on the SNES and eight on the Mega Drive. All of the wrestlers are pretty much just palette swaps, but you can still easily tell who they were supposed to be. In a “Survivor Series” match I always found it funny how when you hit select it’s just like the wrestler changed clothes, and in some cases facial hair.
I have already mentioned the great superstar selection screens on the SNES that used real digitized photographs. This method was also used for the title screen and a few other places here and there. On the Mega Drive these were replaced with weird looking pictures, and they kind of looked like someone scanned in photos but then drew over them. They did not look bad, just not as good as the Super Nintendo version. Overall I would say the game on the Super Nintendo just has a better and cleaner look to it. One really cool feature of Super Wrestlemania was the commentators at ring side. While there was no actual commentary they would move and make motions like they were calling the action in side of the ring.
One good thing about the Mega Drive version being released a little later was the fact that they were able to include the Ultimate Warrior who was not in the Super Nintendo version. As far as wrestlers go while both versions did share a few of the same wrestlers, they both had exclusive ones. For example the Super Nintendo had Hawk and Animal, The Legion of Doom, Undertaker, Jake “The Snake” Robberts, Earthquake, Typhoon, and Sid Justice. While the Mega Drive version included Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, Papa Shango, and IRS. It is really quite a big difference, but for people who had both a SNES and Mega Drive, if you were a die hard WWF fan it made it worth while getting both versions.
On Super Nintendo, Super Wrestlemania has one huge problem, and that is that there is no damn single player championship mode. Nothing at all, and as a mater of fact all you can do in single player is just play exhibition matches. You can’t even select your opponent. This hurts the game so badly. I honestly have no idea why they did this. Even the first Wrestlemania game on the NES had a single player championship mode. Fortunately the Mega Drive version which was released a little bit later had a championship mode. Sure it was nothing fancy, just beat all the other wrestlers to be the WWF champion, but at least it gave you a purpose for playing it in single player.
There was other game modes as well. These are tag matches and four on four Survivor Series action. While it was four on four there could only be four guys on screen at once. Super Nintendo loses more points when it comes to the game play also. While it is not uncommon for wrestlers in wrestling games to all share the same moves, they at least have a unique signature move. Not on the Super Nintendo version. Again this really hurts the game and I have no clue what they were thinking. When I was a kid I would always pick either Hulk Hogan as a running elbow drop looked like his leg drop (with a lot of imagination I might add) or I would be Randy Savage as you could do a elbow from the top rope. Sega fixed this with there version by giving all the wrestlers there own unique finishing move.
This game introduced the grapple mechanic to WWF games on consoles. You would grapple your opponent then hit a button as fast as you could to win the grapple and hit a move. In multiplayer this could be really exciting as well as very tiring. Super Nintendo with its extra buttons makes this easier than the Mega Drive, as some moves on the Mega Drive require you to mash two buttons at once.
Super Wrestlemania is a game I will never forget, but I have to admit that the Sega Mega Drive version is superior. It may not look as nice and lack the extra button on the Super Nintendo controller, but at least it had a championship mode and each wrestler had there own finishing move. I was a Nintendo fan as a kid and it was this game that really made me want to get a Sega Mega Drive.
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