WCW Backstage Assault
Man I would loved to have been in the room when this game was pitched, and then approved by the powers that be at EA! WCW Mayhem the previous WCW game by EA introduced backstage areas to fight in. Well that was seen as one of the best features of the game, so someone at EA thought it would be a great idea to have a wrestling game that is entirely set in backstage areas. Hey who needs a wrestling ring in a wrestling game?
WCW Backstage Assault would be the last game to be released based on the WCW as the WWF purchased WCW in 2001. Due to EA’s shunning of the Sega Dreamcast the game would only be released on the Nintendo 64 and the Sony Playstation.
This game has some of the worst wrestler character models you will ever see! It is crazy to think that this game was released in 2000. In terms of its wrestler character models I honestly think that the best comparison is WWF Aftershock for the Nokia NGage. Each wrestlers body looks like it is a triangle with more triangles added to it to try and make it seem square (if that makes any sense) and then a big circle that resembles a head. The game does have a decent selection of wrestlers both male and female, but they all look just god awful. They may not look horrible in still pictures, but in motion this game is just a mess.
The various “arenas” in the game look just as bad. As this game is set in the backstage areas of arenas the area that you can “wrestle” in is actually pretty large, but each area looks very half ass. Things are either really blurry or horribly jaggy. And one other thing that always bugged the hell out of me was the look of the weapons. In particular the trash cans which are nearly as big as the wrestlers themselves.
Despite its flaws I think that the previous game WCW Mayhem did a great job of making the best use of the WCW license. The game looked like a WCW game should look, but this game lacks that WCW presentation. The only saving grace if you can call it that is the sound. The play by play commentary is not too bad.
How I wish I could say this game makes up for its terrible graphics with some nice game play, but sadly that is not the case. This is a horrible wrestling game let me say that right away. What on earth were EA thinking with this game. They had a solid foundation with WCW Mayhem that they could have built on, but it is like this one was rushed out as fast as they could. The game moves fairly fast, but the controls are not good. The “wrestling” mechanics of the game are flat out broken. You enter a grapple then have like half a second to hit a move, but that is if you can even get into a grapple in the first place. Trying to do actual wrestling moves is just no fun at all. Instead all you want to do is grab a weapon and spam attack until the fight is over.
The one thing though above all else that kills this game from a game play point of view, and yes it’s even worse than the actual wrestling. And that is the collision detection. Everything in these backstage areas you can run into, and I mean everything. Just running to the other side of the area is a huge chore as you will be running into things that you are at least five feet away from. Add to this the constant changing of the camera angles, and after about a minute you are ready to put the controller through the wall! This is just horrible game to play. The one interesting feature is that you can pick up a stick set it on fire, and hit your opponent with it……. if you can actually manage to hit them with it that is.
The game has very few game modes. Gauntlet sees you taking on seven wrestlers that the cheapness of the AI raps up with after each match. Regular is just a regular one on one match. First Blood is a match to see who can bleed first. Here is a hint it will probably be you after you run into something! And Human Torch is where you need to set you opponent on fire. And you can try and win various championships which also unlocks new areas and wrestlers, but my god is this mode a chore to play through.
I think this may very well be my least favorite wrestling game of all time. It is just horrible in every single regard. I am a diehard wrestling fan, and I was even more so back in the late 90’s early 00’s so I would just eat anything up with the WWF or WCW name, but this game went way beyond what I would except. I like to try and say at least one positive thing about each game, but all I have with this one is that you can set a stick on fire. The funny thing is I actually recommend this game because it is one that is so bad you really must try it to see for yourself. It is a real downer that this was the last game ever to be made that was based on WCW.
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