WWF Wrestlemania The Arcade Game
Time to look at the the arcade version of this awesome game.
** I have decided to do this in three parts. This first part will look at the arcade release. The second part will look at the 16-bit ports, and the last part will look at the 32-bit ports**
For whatever reason the good people at Midway Games decided that they wanted to make a WWF game. Again for some reason they decided that instead of making a realistic pro wrestling game, they were going to make the most over the top arcade wrestling game fans had ever seen.
Many people who would work on this game were also the same people that gave us Mortal Kombat, and if you have played the two games you can pretty much tell this right away. Wrestlemania is NOT a wrestling game. It is a fighting game that just so happens to be set in the world of the WWF, and feature wrestlers as the characters.
Sadly Wrestlemania I feel has never gotten the credit it deserves, very few can see its brilliance. Many wrestling fans hate it for being unrealistic. At the same time non wrestling fans will take a look at it, and probably dismiss it on the fact that they think its just another wrestling game.
In the arcades this game is flawless. It uses digitized graphics the same way that Mortal Kombat did. I think these though are far more detailed than the ones in Mortal Kombat. Wrestlemania may only feature eight WWF wrestlers, but they all have been captured perfectly. As far as the characters go you really cannot fault this game at all. The roster is pretty good, but as the game had a really long development time despite the game being released in 1995. Wrestlemania t did not feature WWF Champion Diesel or Owen Hart who had become a major player in the WWF since 1994.
It is the little things that really make this game special. Midway really did capture every little detail you could imagine. For example you can see Shawn Michaels chewing gum as he wrestlers. There is only one arena, but it is alive. All of the fans are digitized, and they are going crazy over the action in the ring. Speaking of the ring, one thing that I liked, and I know this makes me sound like a wrestling nerd, is that the ring no longer had a unnecessary WWF logo in the middle of it. The ring just had the Wrestlemania logo on the apron. Also this was the very first WWF game that let you go behind the ring to fight.
Wrestlemania was also the first game to have real samples of the actual theme music of the WWF wrestlers. It also had commentary from Vince McMahon and Jerry The King Lawler. Before each match your wrestler would run along and stand to face his opponent. One other really cool thing as far as presentation goes is the blood. Well not blood, but if you hit Bret Hart then big hearts will fly out of him. If you hit Yokozuna ham will fly out of him. Each wrestler has there own “blood” effect it really is a fun little feature.
One rumour I want to touch on is the fact that this game was going to feature fatalities. Now I am sure we would not have seen Lex Luger rip off Bam Bam Bigelows head or anything like that. Rumour has it though that it was the WWF who put a stop to this being in the game. Fatalities would be in the sequel to this game.
I love the game play of this game. The arcade cab is set up just like Mortal Kombat, and it has two punch buttons and two kick buttons, and in the middle there is a block button. You pull of various moves just like you do in Mortal Kombat, for example forward forward kick. There also are grapple moves. These are done by pressing forward two times and putting your opponent in a head hold. From here you can do various other moves. You do not need to “pin” your opponent with a 1-2-3. It is a best two out of three just like any other fighting game. Once your opponents energy is all gone you win the round.
What I love about Wrestlemania is the over the top style of game play. There are some real wrestling moves, but for the most part you will be doing crazy stuff. When the Undertaker gives someone a uppercut they will fly twenty feet in the air. Doink The Clown can electrocute people with his hand buzzer. Bam Bam Bigelow can set people on fire. One very good thing that Midway was able to do is make each and every character really feel like a individual. Every character has there own feel to them, and they each have there own strengths and weaknesses.
Wrestlemania only has two game play modes in single player. They both see you wrestle seven matches. Intercontinental is the easy mode and will see you wrestle four one on one matches, followed by two one on two handicap matches, and finally a one on three match to win the Intercontinental championship. WWF Championship mode is much more difficult. You will face four one on two matches, then two one on three matches before taking on all seven in a Royal Rumble. One thing that is exclusive to the arcade mode that never made it to the home ports is the endings. Each wrestler has there own little story ending just like in Mortal Kombat.
In multi player you have two choices to either fight each other or as a team. Teaming up is very interesting as you both share a energy bar. So if you really do need to have each others backs in order to make sure you become the tag champions.
Wrestlemania The Arcade Game is one of my all time favourite games. As a fighting game I feel it really does not get the credit it deserves. If you like Mortal Kombat I am sure you will enjoy this. Even if you do not like wrestling I have no doubt you will enjoy it. If you have played the home versions it is worth trying to find a way to try this. Just the graphics alone will blow your mind at how much better they are than even the Playstation version.
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