WWF Micro League Wrestling
This is a weekly look at the history of WWF/E video games, and may from time to time focus on WCW, ECW, or even Japanese wrestling games.
Many people may be surprised to know that the very first officially licensed WWF game was in fact not a “wrestling” game but more of a strategy game. While you got to pick what moves your chosen wrestler did, you did not actually move a character around the ring like you do in standard wrestling games. For the very first release of Micro League Wrestling you got to play as Hulk Hogan and wrestle against either Macho Man Randy Savage, or Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorf.
As far as gameplay goes there is a list of wrestling moves down the side of the screen, and in the middle of the screen there are pictures of the various moves. You can pick a wrestling move and then the AI opponent would pick a move. As a kid I put a ton of time into the C64 version of this game, and even as an adult I have picked it up a few times. I have never actually found a strategy that seems to work, and it is like the game is random. Supposedly certain strikes will always beat others, but for the most part it is quite a random game. Truth be told it really is not all that fun to play, but as a kid it was amazing how great the graphics were (I think calling them graphics is a bit of a stretch as they are just pictures).
Out of all the versions of WWF Micro League Wrestling the Amiga looks best. Yes it is just pictures, but they are very clear and look great. As to be expected the poor old C64 is the least impressive of the bunch. While the game does not have you controlling any actual wrestling action, one thing Micro League Wrestling does have is the feel of the WWF. WWF announcer Mean Gene Oakerland will interview the wrestlers prior to a match, and there is even text based commentary at the bottom of the screen. One feature that I always got a kick out of was the fact that you could name the arena anything you wanted.
One cool thing about Micro League Wrestling is that the game featured expansion packs that had extra playable wrestlers. The very first expansion pack had Randy Savage vs. Honkey Tonk Man, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. King Harley Race. Micro League Wrestling’s 2nd expansion would again have Hulk Hogan but this time wrestling against Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, and Jake The Snake Roberts vs. Ravishing Rick Rude. If someone can help me out with this it would be great but I have heard rumours that a 3rd expansion pack was released in the USA which would have Ultimate Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude, and Bret Hart vs. Mr Perfect. The story I have heard over the years is that only the Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude match was finished, and if you paid for both you got a refund for the 2nd disc. If anyone know for certain if this pack was official released I would love to know.
There you have it the first ever WWF game, and you don’t even actually get to wrestle. This really is only a game I would recommend if you are a wrestling game collector. Here in the UK the actual game should not put you too much out of pocket. The expansions however are another story as these were released in quite a limited quantity. In fact I only ever saw them in magazine ads as a kid, and never actually in stores. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I will see you next week with a look at the first WWF title for the NES.
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