ECW Anarchy Rulz
ECW Anarchy Rulz is the sequel to the less than great ECW Hardcore Revolution (which we have reviewed here on the site) ECW Hardcore Revolution did not perform very well in both sales and reviews. So Acclaim released this game about seven months after it. It has been rumored for years that Acclaim released the game so fast because they were worried that ECW was going to go out of business before they could release another game.
This game would also be the last pro wrestling game that Acclaim would make that would be based on an actual wrestling promotion. ECW would eventually become part of the WWF/E in 2001 and Acclaim would start their Legends Of Wrestling series. There was a Nintendo 64 version Of ECW Anarchy Rulz in development, but it was cancelled.
One of the main criticisms of ECW Hardcore Revolution was that the game did not really feel like a game based on ECW. I think that Acclaim did a much better job here. The game is part of the same series as WWF Warzone, WWF Attitude and of course ECW Hardcore Revolution. And you can instantly tell this the moment you start a match, but I do think that much more of an effort was made to make sure that you did know this was an ECW game. Little things were added to give the game more of a ECW feel rather than just a WWF game with some ECW stickers, which is what the previous game felt like.
The wrestler selection is really cool with each wrestler having multiple attires which is always great. There are also fictional “jobber” wrestlers. A jobber is the wrestler you would see on TV who would just get his butt beat by the real wrestler. I really liked the addition of jobbers and it is something that for years after I wished was in the WWF games.
While I appreciate the effort that was made to give the game a more authentic ECW appearance, the game really did not look great when it was released in 2000. The Dreamcast version especially really should have looked so much better than it did. In truth it just looks like a more smooth and shiny version of what the Playstation offered.
I was pretty harsh in my review for ECW Hardcore Revolution so I will start by talking about the positives this game has. Much like they did with the presentation Acclaim wanted to make the game feel more like a game based on ECW with the match selection. A bunch of new match types were added. Table match, dumpster match, rage in a cage and backlot brawl are just a few of the matches that were added to the game and did help give it that ECW feel.
The career mode here was just such a great idea. It was split into four different modes. You have single, tag, stable and multi player mode. The single player sees you start at the bottom of ECW wrestling on non televised shows trying to make your way to TV shows and eventually make it where you are wrestling at pay-per-views for the ECW Heavyweight Title. The tag mode is pretty much the same thing, but of course you are in a tag team. The multiplayer career sees you and some buddies all playing at the same time, competing trying to see who can be the king of ECW.
The best thing about the career mode in this game though is the Stable Career mode. A stable in wrestling is where you would have a group of wrestlers all together in one group. The nWo, DX, and The Four Horsemen are just a few examples. Anyway the idea of this mode is that you pick a stable of four wrestlers and then before each match you decide which members of your stable will compete. This was such a great idea and something I think would be awesome in a modern wrestling game.
Sadly though the game still has that same game play style which was in WWF Warzone back in 1998. Now do not get me wrong I loved WWF Warzone and WWF Attitude, but by this point in time this game engine felt slow and sluggish. It was just not as much fun to play as it was a couple of years earlier in the WWF games that used the same game engine. Acclaim did add a decent amount of moves to the game, but you still had that same game play. Again which was great for the WWF games, but I really think Acclaim should have done something else with the ECW license.
I actually liked this game better than ECW Hardcore Revolution and I really do think that Acclaim wanted to give us a great ECW game, but it just needed a new engine, or at the very least some serious tweaking added to the one they already had. But at the end of the day what can you expect from a game that was released a mere seven months after its predecessor? The career mode is great and if you are a ECW fan I am sure you would get a kick out of it. But if the Acclaim WWF games did nothing for you then I cannot see this game winning you over. One other thing is that this was the only one of the four Acclaim 3D wrestling games to not have some cool pre order bonus like a t-shirt, poster or a rumble pack like the other Acclaim wrestling games did here in the UK.