Legends Of Wrestling
The ten year relationship that Acclaim had with the WWF in the late 80’s up to 1999 was one of their strongest properties. When they lost the license to THQ they went after the license of ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling). They made a couple of games based on ECW before the WWF bought out ECW, so Acclaim were once again without a wrestling company to make games for.
As the WWF now owned both WCW and ECW there was no major American wrestling promotion for Acclaim to work with. So what they did was sign deals with numerous classic wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart, and make a game based on pro wrestling’s past.
I loved the character models in Legends Of Wrestling. They were big and chunky and resembled the classic Hasbro WWF action figures. There was a great selection of classic wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, The Road Warriors, Jimmy Snuka, and many more who included in the game. The only downside was that while Acclaim could secure the rights to use the actual wrestlers, the WWF owned most of the entrance music that these wrestlers used, but the arenas look amazing. There is a great selection of small town style convention centres. The crowd at this point was still made using 2D characters which is pretty lame, but for 2002 this was common in wrestling games. Overall for 2002 this game looked amazing and it really did stand out from what THQ were doing with the WWF license at the time.
One cool thing that was added in Legends Of Wrestling was the blood effects. The WWF was understandably a bit uptight about having their games be full of blood. However now that Acclaim did not have to answer to anyone, the wrestlers in the game could become bloody messes by the time a match was over.
Legends of Wresting is a very slow paced arcade style of wrestling game. I remember the previews before the game was released said that the game would have the most amazing realistic reversal back and forth wrestling action we had ever seen, and when playing with a buddy the game can be very fun. But the AI when playing in single player is just so stupid. You can pretty much win with just a series of punches. Which sucks because there is a great selection of moves in the game. Speaking of moves the move sets that they gave the wrestlers in this game are very odd, and some wrestlers will execute moves that they had never used before. I know for some this is not a huge issue, but there were more than a few wrestling fans bugged by this.
There really is not a great variety when it comes to the match types in this game. I can kind of understand this as this was a whole brand new game for Acclaim. But when you put it next to the match selection that was in WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It; it really is quite poor. The game does make up for it with a fantastic single player campaign. This will see you go to different territories across the country trying to win various titles along the way and hopefully becoming the world champion. This is a great throw back to the days of when there were many different wrestling territories all over the country. This was a great idea and it is fun, but you do have to put up with the poor AI.
I loved this game when it first came out. I think it was a very smart move by Acclaim to make a game based on old school wrestlers. While the game is far from perfect and it certainly has not aged very well, I think that it is a worthy game to be in a collection.
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