I have wanted to talk about this one for awhile. This game to me was the ultimate reason to own a Nintendo 64 back in 1998. Yeah I know that Ocarina of Time and Turok 2 were also released late in 1998, but for my buddies and I this was the game to own back back in the day. I actually had a few friends who even bought a Nintendo 64 just so they could play this game.
This was the 2nd WCW game that AKI would make and THQ would publish on the Nintendo 64. It was a sequel to their previous game WCW vs nWo World Tour. This game was released at a time when wresting was one of the most popular things going. I personally think that it’s fair to say by the time this game came out, that WWF was really the number one wrestling company, but I am sure there are WCW fans who would disagree.
The first thing I want to talk about is the game’s intro. This game at the time had the best intro to a wrestling game that I had ever seen. What was so cool about it was how everything was done using in game character models. The WWF games at the time (well the CD based ones) would use FMV for intros and they were pretty cool, but I loved the extra mile that Yukes would go for this game.
The leap this game made from WCW vs nWo World Tour in terms of its presentation is just crazy. The wrestlers now all have full entrances and some of them even have managers and valets who will stay at ring side during a match. The only downside to these entrances was the lack of authentic theme music. It still to this day bugs me that they did not use real music. My theory for this, and I could be totally wrong, is that AKI were simply not that good at putting real music on the Nintendo 64. As WWF Wrestlemania 2000 that they would release in 1999 did have real music, but it sounded terrible. So who knows maybe that is why. I would have taken 16-bit style midi tunes though over the generic entrance music they gave all the wrestlers.
The roster was just freaking huge. You had all your favorite WCW and nWo stars, and they all had multiple attires. While I watched WCW I was way more of a WWF fan, and I loved how the game had Bret Hart and The British Bulldog as characters. As well as having WCW and nWo wrestlers the game also featured made up wrestlers who were once again based on real life Japanese superstars. Another really cool thing about the roster was that you could edit the wrestlers. So if you wanted you could make Goldberg a member of the nWo or change the color of someone’s attire. So the game did not have a create a wrestler mode like the Acclaim WWF wrestling games did, but I actually liked the roster editor better. In addition to these wrestlers, they even added in a referee. But he would only appear when he was needed. I always thought this was a pretty fun way of adding in a referee.
One other aspect that the game really improved on was the wrestlers personality. In WCW vs nWo World Tour many of the wrestlers did not have their proper moves. The example Kevin Nash just had a generic power bomb, but in Revenge you can clearly tell that it is his own unique power bomb. He was not the only wrestler either to get little things added. Many moves and mannerisms were added to make the wrestlers more like they were on TV.
The arenas had been greatly improved. As well as having the WCW Monday Nitro you had many of the major WCW pay-per-view events. My friends and I would have our very own WCW schedule that we would play out. The level of detail in the arenas was pretty spectacular, and at the time they were far better than what was on offer in the Acclaim WWF games.
The AKI wrestling engine I still think holds up as the one of the very…….. actually forget that I, will say that it is the very best wrestling game engine that so far has ever been made. AKI were smart enough not to radically change anything too much, and this was a great decision. Instead they added some small improvements. One was the ability to run and slide out of the ring. This may not sound like a huge deal, but this ability really did add a great deal to matches especially in multiplayer mode. I loved hitting someone with a weapon then sliding out of the ring before they had a chance to retaliate. Playing as a coward was actually really fun in this game. Well fun for you and annoying as hell to the people you were playing with.
The core AKI game play is just great. You basically have two kinds of strikes and grapples. Depending how hard you press the grapple button lets you perform a series of strong and weak grapples. The direction you press the d-pad in results in what move you will do. The idea is that you want to fill up your spirit meter which then lets you unleash special moves. What I love about these games is that your spirit meter flashes for a few seconds so it’s possible to hit a few finishing moves before it runs out. But some wrestlers finishing moves have quite long animations meaning you may only be able to hit one.
One thing that they added in this game that would never appear in an AKI wrestling game again were combos. I think this was added to try and replicate Goldberg’s punches and kicks, and the idea I guess was good. You would hit a series of strikes before hitting a grapple move. The problem was it was quite tricky to do, and it kind of made playing as Goldberg not much fun. Nevertheless it’s not like this was a feature you had to use, and it really did not take anything away from the game.
As far as the game modes go in single player the idea was that you would pick a championship like the “World Heavyweight Championship” or the “United States Championship” and beat a series of wrestlers before facing the champion. The champion was a wrestler who was not in the regular roster, but once you beat him he would be unlocked. I really enjoyed playing through these modes. And while they lacked any cut scenes or anything like tha,t they were still pretty fun to play.
The real fun though was in the multiplayer, and still to this day there is no better wrestling games for multiplayer than the AKI games. We would have these gaming nights where we would have games like Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Goldeneye and some others, but the majority of the time we would only ever play this game. I have said it before in other reviews, but I do not think any other company has grasped what makes a fun wrestling game like AKI did. They knew that it was not a sport and that games should not be simulation based.
WCW/nWo Revenge is a great game and by far the best game based on WCW that was ever released. I also think it is one of the very best game on the Nintendo 64 system. There are some people who even prefer this to the later AKI WWF games which in all honestly I can see why. If you want to have a collection of the best Nintendo 64 games then this has to be in it.
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