History of WWF/E Games Part 14-1
Sega Mega Drive
Time to look at the last of the classic 16-bit style WWF games, in this special two parter.
**WWF RAW was released on five different systems, so in order to do this game justice I have decided to split the review into two parts. This first part will look at the two main releases of WWF RAW on the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive**
WWF RAW was the last of what is the Acclaim trilogy of 16-bit WWF titles (if you do not count Rage in the Cage). The leap from Super Wrestlemania to Royal Rumble was huge, not just in terms of wrestling games, but I find it hard to imagine any sequel that packed in more over its predecessor than Royal Rumble did.
With that being said, it was obvious from the start that WWF RAW would most probably not provide that same huge leap that Royal Rumble did. However WWF RAW did tweak little things here and there, and for the most part is an improvement over Royal Rumble.
I vividly remember seeing the first images of WWF RAW in the classic magazine here in the UK; “Mean Machines Sega”. What I remember most about the scans they had for WWF RAW was how Luna Vachon was one of the playable characters. This made me and my friends very excited. Not because we wanted to wrestle as a woman, but because we thought that if Luna Vachon was in this game then that must be because there will be even more wrestlers than Rage in the Cage had. Sadly we were wrong as WWF RAW on Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive only had twelve wrestlers.
In terms of overall visuals, again I would say that the Super Nintendo version looks just a little better. However out of all the 16-bit WWF games, for me this one is the closest the two versions come to looking the same. The overall arena has been given an overhaul to try and look a little bit more like the WWF RAW TV show. To be honest WWF RAW does not look that much better than Royal Rumble, but it does have some cool TV style presentation.
Before a match you will see Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon as if they are at ringside telling the audience (through text) what the next match would be. This was a nice little feature that they put in, that just made it feel a little more like the WWF RAW tv show. As far as sound goes, as is the case in most 16-bit games, the Sega Mega Drive just cannot match the Super Nintendo in terms of audio.
All the wrestlers look pretty decent, but one downfall of WWF RAW for me was the rosters. This was the first and only time in the 16-bit era that the rosters for both the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive were exactly the same. I always liked in the previous games, how each version had a few exclusive characters.
One thing I have to mention in terms of presentation in WWF RAW that is really terrible is the games endings. WWF Royal Rumble when you won the WWF Championship would simply show a picture of the WWF magazine with your wrestlers face on it, very simple, very basic, but also very effective. What do you get for winning the WWF Championship in RAW? A black screen telling you that you are the WWF Champion. Overall the presentation of WWF RAW is actually really good. It is just that by the time they got to the games ending, they had gotten board.
Game Play is what really sets WWF RAW apart from all the other 16-bit WWF games. WWF RAW was the first game of this time to give the wrestlers different moves. I am not just talking about a unique finishing move which all the wrestlers did have. No, the wrestlers in WWF RAW all had slightly different moves. For example if an opponent was running at you while you were using the Undertaker and you hit the attack button, then you would kick them in the face. However if you were lets say Diesel, then you would give them a clothesline. This was huge at the time and never before in a wrestling game had it mattered this much who you picked. There is more…each wrestler also had a crazy unrealistic mayhem move that had to be executed using a button combination like in a beat em up. So while the core game play may be the same, all the little bells and whistles sure do add up to make it a great game play experience if you are a WWF fan. Not only was there a ton of new moves in the ring, but on the out side as well was as a steel chair and also a ring bell to throw your opponent into. As well as a spit bucket to hit them with.
In addition to each wrestler having different move sets, they also for the first time have different attributes. Things like strength, stamina and speed are all here. So if you picked a wrestler like the 1-2-3 Kid he will run fast as hell. Whereas a wrestler like Yokozuna will be very slow. This really was a great feature, and when combined with the different move sets resulted in you actually thinking about what wrestler you picked. There was even a way that you could go in and edit the wrestlers tributes to your exact specifications. So if you think the developers got the ratings of lets say Shawn Michaels wrong, then you can edit them yourself.
In terms of game play modes WWF RAW is just as stacked and Royal Rumble was, after the lacklustre amount of game modes that Rage in the Cage featured, it was great to get a ton of game play modes back. It did have a new game mode in bedlam, as well as the Survivor Series mode from Super Wrestlemania making a welcome return. One really cool feature is that if you are dominating your opponent, then it is not unusual for another wrestler to come from back stage and interfere in your match. WWF RAW also can boast in being the very first four player WWF game on a home console.
WWF RAW on Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive is a great way to end this series of games. I can fully understand why someone who is not a wrestling fan may think these games are just all the same. For me however while I do prefer the rosters of Royal Rumble, the actual game play of WWF RAW is just better, and makes for a more fun game play experience in my opinion. You have to own this game if you are a wrestling fan. It has a ton of content for both single and multi player, so it is a worthwhile purchase for any gamers collection.
**Look out for part 14-2 next week when we will look at the amazing 32X port and the Game Boy and Game Gear versions also**