Showdown: Legends Of Wrestling
Showdown: Legends Of Wrestling was the very last wrestling game that Acclaim would put out. Actually it was one of the last video games they would ever produce as shortly after this game was released they went under. The game was rushed out with some bugs because Acclaim wanted it on store shelves in the hopes it would bring them in some much needed revenue. But it was too little too late, and they still went under.
One of the biggest things this game had going for it was The Ultimate Warrior. He had not appeared in a wrestling game since the 1996 release WWF In Your House. So getting him in the game was a huge coup for Acclaim. As he had refused to be in any WWE games. He ever went as far to demand his likeness be removed from the 2003 game WWE Smackdown Here Comes The Pain or he would pursue legal action.
Showdown has the greatest roster that has ever been in a wrestling game. It is like a who’s who of wrestlers from the 70’s all the way to the 00’s. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Sting, Jake Robberts and Andre The Giant just to name a small selection of the huge roster that the game had on offer. What is really impressive is that each wrestler had four different attires to choose from. Some wrestlers like Scott Steiner for example when changing his attire it almost made him a brand new character depending on which one you would choose.
The game had a ton of real life arenas that just looked amazing. Actually in addition to arenas the game also had some really huge stadiums. Madison Square Garden, The Skydome and Wembley Stadium are just a small selection of what is available. One cool thing is that some stadiums like The LA Sports Arena are designed so that they look like the pay-per-view they were based on. In this case it was WWF Wrestlemania VII, which was held at the LA Sports Arena. So while Acclaim could not use the WWF likeness, they were very clever and made sure that fans knew exactly what they were going for.
Showdown is a game that is full of bugs let me just say that right away. This game was in no condition to be released when it was, but I can see why they did. Now the weird thing is I can forgive this game for all its bugs because I had so much fun with it. Now it would be impossible for me to list all the bugs, but one of the major ones was that the game would just crash and force you to reset your console. I must have been lucky because I never had this happen to me. But I did have a few other weird things happen. Like wrestlers teleporting to a different spot in the ring. Or a wrestler getting stuck in a move.
The core game play is very much like an arcade wrestling game and the AI is pretty atrocious. It is just so damn stupid. There is a decent selection of wrestling moves, but you are better just beating the AI with stomps while they are on the ground. The wrestlers like in the other Legends Of Wrestling games use moves that they would never in a million years use in real life.
Legends Of Wrestling II had one of the best career modes I had ever played, but the one here is much more linear. You play through three decades. You start in the 70’s and work your way up to the 90’s facing the appropriate wrestlers along the way. You will take part in a variety of different match types. This mode is not bad at all, but it is a huge step back from what its predecessor offered. There is a cool classic match type mode where you get to relive some of wrestling’s greatest matches. These are accompanied by some text explaining the background of each match. This mode did make up for the kind of lackluster career mode.
This is a game that has a great deal wrong with it I will always admit that, but I still played this game a great deal. The reason for this was the multi player. There is an awesome option called quick match. My friends and I would spend hours playing this mode. The best way to play this mode is that if you turn the entrances off. Until the bell rings you have no clue who each of you are going to be; it is totally random. It’s a shame that the AI in single player was so poor because in multiplayer I really got the impression with a few more months in development this could have offered some great wrestling action.
I know this is really far from being a perfect game, but for some reason I can overlook all this games flaws. If you are a wrestling fan it is a game that has to be in your collection based on the phenomenal roster in the game. We will probably never see a roster as diverse as this in a wrestling game ever again.
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