History of WWF/E Games Part 6
Time for one of the most mass released WWF games ever
*** Please note in chronological order this instalment should actually be WWF Wrestlefest, but I have already covered that in my Arcade Tales section. So if you want to read about WWF Wrestlefest just give my name a click and you should find it***
Now I am not exactly sure how much of a big deal in the USA Ocean Software was but here in the UK and the rest of Europe they were huge. They made games for pretty much every home computer system as well as the majority of consoles and hand held systems. They were responsible for making games based on many big licenses such as Robocop, Batman, The Adams Family, Transformers, and of course the WWF.
The reason that Ocean were able to make this WWF game was simple, LJN had the rights to the home console market but there licensing deal did not cover home computers such as the Commodore 64 and Amiga. Ocean struck a deal with the WWF and this was the first of two games under the WWF license that they would release.
Being a multi-platform game its kind of hard to give it an over all critique for its presentation, but on the PC, Amiga, and Atari ST it looks amazing. Easily surpassing the WWF games on the NES and even the SNES and Mega Drive Super Wrestlemania titles that would be released a little later. As far as the wrestlers themselves go they are very similar to the WWF arcade games by Technos. While they do not have many moves, what they do have is very well animated and defined graphics.
The look of Wrestlemania is great too, and you get a really cool intro at the start showcasing a packed arena at a WWF event complete with a cool light show. What is amazing about this opening is that even the ZX Spectrum with its 128k of RAM had a intro like this. The arena looks great far more detailed than anything else we had seen at home at this time.
Like the Game Boy release of WWF Superstars, Ocean’s Wrestlemania had pre-match interviews. This really is a cool touch and it breaks up the constant string of matches you must take part in, making each one seem a little more personal. It is worth noting that even the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad versions all had these interview segments, of course in a much lower detail, but they were still there.
Wrestlemania looks amazing and there is no doubt even on the ZX Spectrum it still looks decent, but the game play leaves a lot to be desired. You can punch, kick, drop kick, and each wrestler has a grapple move. To be fair its not really any more basic than other wrestling games of the day but the way you do your grapple move kills this game. If you are playing using a joystick you have to waggle it back and forth as fast as you can, and this is not some sexual innuendo I am trying to do here this is really what you had to do. If you did not have a joystick but instead used the keys on the keyboard you would have to press the “O” and “P” keys back and forth as fast as you can. If you think a game where you have to mash a button is bad, this method is ten times more brutal, and just spoils any fun. As much as a pain in the ass it is when you have to button mash one button this is far far worse. Its one of those things that you really have to play for yourself to truly understand.
One really weird thing about this game that I have to mention is that if you wrestle outside of the ring if your opponent is still out there and when the timer reaches its limit, for some reason it is decided that you lose the match. Even people who know nothing about wrestling must know that this is wrong.
Its a shame about the grapple mechanics as the actual layout of the game is not too bad. There is only one on one matches and just a choice of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and British Bulldog to pick from, but the little interviews make the quest to be the WWF Champion more interesting than it normally would be. You have to face of against 5 “bad guys” being Mr Perfect, The Mountie, Ted Dibiase, The Warlord and lastly Sgt Slaughter for the WWF Championship. This can be a very frustrating chore especially the match against Sgt. Slaughter due to the grapple mechanic.
There is a two player “practice” mode but its nothing to brag about player one gets a choice of three wrestlers I mentioned before, but player two always has to be Mr Perfect or one of the other three “good guys”. Its such a waste that you are never able to play as any of the other 4 bad guys especially considering this is the only WWF game to ever have the Warlord as a character.
Ocean really did try with WWF Wrestlemania, however its just that damn grapple mechanic that spoils the game for me. It no doubt looks amazing especially the higher end versions, but even the lower end versions of the game look not bad for the hardware that they had. In conclusion WWF Wrestlemania is one of those games where as a kid I convinced myself it was great especially, the Amiga version, but when I go back and try to play it today it’s really not much fun.
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