History of WWF/E Games Part 21
WWF Royal Rumble
Time to look at the last WWF game on Dreamcast.
WWF Royal Rumble was the first WWF game to be released in arcades since WWF Wrestlemania five years earlier. It was also a exclusive on the Sega Dreamcast. It was made by some of the same guys who were responsible for the early WWF Smackdown games on Playstation, and it shares a few things in common with them.
Royal Rumble got mixed reviews when it was released. This was due to the inevitable comparison with Smackdown on the Playstation. While it looked much better from a presentational point of view, at the end of the day this was pretty much a straight arcade port, and they did not really add anything new.
WWF Royal Rumble looked amazing at the time, and I feel like it still holds up fairly well to this day. To be honest the visuals of the actual wrestlers are not that far off from being like Smackdown Just Bring It on the Playstation 2 which was released in 2001. The game does have a fairly small roster when you consider what other WWF games of this era had, but all the characters look fantastic, and also they have multiple attires. The leap from Smackdown on the Playstation to this is quite a large one in terms of the wrestlers themselves.
There is only one arena, and it is based on the WWF Royal Rumble from 1999, and it looks great. While there is only one arena, there actually is multiple backstage areas that you will be abducted (more on that in a moment) to during matches. Overall this game has a very high polish to it, and it does a good job of showing how much more powerful the Dreamcast was to the Playstation. My main gripe in terms of presentation is the entrances. You get a short 5 second intro, and that is it. The reason for this is because it’s a arcade game, and no one wants to sit and watch a three minute wrestler entrance in a arcade, but they could have maybe extended them just a little for the home port.
Royal Rumble only has two modes of play Exhibition and Royal Rumble. Exhibition will allow you to pick a wrestler, and a well for lack of a better term a side kick. You will then have to wrestle a series of matches to become the WWF Champion. Your “side kick” is a pretty big game play ability. You can call them in at various points in the match to either hit there finishing move, do a double team move, or throw a weapon in. This adds a little more strategy to the matches as knowing when to use these is pretty important.
One really weird thing is the alien abduction aspect. At random points in some matches the arena goes black and the wrestlers stare at the skies. I swear to god I am not making this up. Then the wrestlers will all of a sudden appear at a back stage area or sometimes a cage will be over the ring. This is a very weird feature, and I would love to know why the hell they thought to do this. The weirdest thing is that it actually is fun. The Dreamcast also had two exclusive characters in Vince and Shane McMahon. You could only unlock these two by completing the exhibition mode.
Royal Rumble mode is what you would expect, but this is the biggest Royal Rumble ever. This was the first ever game to let you have nine wrestlers in the ring at once. The game does a fantastic job of keeping up with the action, and there is pretty much no slow down. Unfortunately when nine guys are in the ring its really hard to target the right guy. Also as wrestling fans will know a Royal Rumble match has 30 WWF wrestlers. As there is only just over twenty wrestlers in the game many wrestlers will repeat, and it is not unusual for there to be three of the same wrestler in the ring at the same time.
I feel that Royal Rumble is somewhat of a under rated game. Many people criticise the lack of game modes, but to be fair it is a straight arcade port. Many fans will praise WWF Wrestlefest all day long, but that had a smaller roster, less moves and pretty much the same game play modes. I think because Royal Rumble did get a home release is why people are so harsh on it. I honestly think if this had just been a arcade game then it would be more fondly remembered. I just wonder how good this game could have been had they given it a few more months in development, and added a few things for the home version
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