History of WWF/E Games Part 12
WWF King of the Ring
Time to look at the fourth and last WWF game for the NES.
King of the Ring was a pay-per-view that the WWF introduced in June of 1993, to go along with the other four pay-per-view events, Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. It was a one night elimination tournament to crown a king of the WWF. Pretty much right away work was started on a video game to tie in with the event.
King of the Ring was the last out of four games based on the WWF license to be released on the NES. What is very interesting about the WWF video game library on the NES, is that while there are four games, each one of them is unique and does not really follow on from its predecessor at all. It is also a testament to the popularity of the NES. That even after there had been two 16-bit WWF titles, it was decided that there was enough demand for yet another WWF game this late in the life of the NES. I remember when this game was released here in the UK, I found it really hard to find as by the time this was released, many stores were scaling back there stock of NES games. So I guess it was not ordered in as big of quantities. When I did track it down it was a crazy expensive at £39.99.
As far as the graphics of this game go, in my experience it seems like there is no middle ground. You either like them or find them terrible. For NES standards I have always felt they were pretty damn good. They are big chunky sprites that are far bigger than in the Steel Cage Challenge game that was released a year earlier. The arena is very colourful but does look basic. I would say that you can easily tell who each wrestler is supposed to be.
There is quite an impressive roster boasting eleven of the top stars. This is a roster that is really stacked with some of the biggest talent in the WWF at the time. You had Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Undertaker, Yokozuna, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Mr Perfect, Yokozuna, Randy Savage, Bam Bam Bigelow and a wrestler called “You”. You was sort of the very first in a basic create a wrestler mode, while you could not alter there appearance you could give them there own name, and edit there attributes.
One thing I have always found odd with King of the Ring was the Game Boy version. Now credit must be given for how great the Game Boy version looks. Its right on level with the NES version. Another thing worthy of note about the Game Boy version is its speed. It is missing a few frames of animation here and there, but instead of having a negative effect it makes the game play really fast. The Game Boy version is missing two wrestlers from the roster; Undertaker and Bam Bam Bigelow. Still to this day I have no idea why they would cut out someone as popular as Undertaker.
One really cool thing about King of the Ring is that it boasts two different single player modes. Of course you have your usual exhibition and tag matches, but you also had WWF Championship mode and King of the Ring mode. WWF Championship was the usual where you would pick a wrestler and take on the whole roster to be the WWF Champion. However what was unique to this game, and for a very long time, was the King of the Ring mode. This would be just like it was on the pay-per-view, where you would pick a wrestler and have to win a eight man elimination tournament. As a kid I loved this and got a real kick out of the what really was a simplistic King of the Ring bracket, but it looked like it did on TV, so I loved it. You could even use the You character and name them after yourself, and then see if you had what it took to be the WWF Champion or the King of the Ring.
Now to the actual game play, again there is no god damn signature moves. There really is absolutely no excuse for this whatsoever. Unlike other wrestling games, while no doubt it sucks there is at least a reason to pick one wrestler over another. Attributes; this was the very first WWF game where wrestlers had different attributes for things like speed and strength. So while Yokozuna may be able to take a great deal of damage, he will walk around the ring really slow. This actually made the game interesting to play despite the lack of moves.
WWF King of the Ring I have always felt got a bad wrap. It most definitely is one of those games that you either like or hate. But I have always enjoyed it. Even as a kid I played this long after I played Royal Rumble on the SNES, but I still really enjoyed King of the Ring. While there is a lack of moves, the game modes and fact that there are different attributes for the wrestlers make it a fun game in both single player and multi player modes. As far as WWF games go I think the fact that this is the only game to ever be made to coincide with the now defunct King of the Ring pay-per-view is enough to make it a worthy addition to any collection.
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