Back in the 90’s the WWF and WCW went head to head on Monday nights. WWF had their RAW TV show and WCW had WCW Nitro. For a while WCW Nitro was the most watched wrestling show in the world and they just destroyed the WWF in the ratings. Of course this did not last forever and the WWF eventually would win the war, but this was a great time to be a wrestling fan.
This was the first game to be released based on their flagship TV show. While it was originally released on the Sony Playstation, the Nintendo 64, and the PC would see a port of the game nearly two years later.
I vividly remember before this game was released that THQ were making bold claims that this game had “photo realistic” graphics. While this was nowhere near to being true, at the time many gamers thought this game looked amazing. Sadly it really has not aged all that well over the years. The game does have a fantastic roster that is actually made up of not only WCW wrestlers, but there are also some made up characters as well. The arenas at the time looked incredible they really did a great job of making the pay-per-view arenas look and feel special.
The best thing though about the presentation of this game was the wrestler rants. On the wrestler selection screen you would be able to press a button that would make a video pop up of the wrestler giving you a reason to pick them. This was really cool and most of the wrestlers really got into it going over the top telling you to pick them. All these videos were recorded especially for this game.
The core game play of this game came under great criticism when it was released. You can play this game as a button masher and just hit random buttons, but if you want to execute the actual wrestling moves then you need to learn the different button combinations to do this. It is kind of similar to the games WWF Warzone and WWF Attitude. For example pressing circle, x, circle when playing as Sting would make him do the Stinger Splash. The good thing is once you learn one character most of the others use the same button combinations. Sometimes a move would only require the action buttons other times you would need to press a direction along with the action buttons.
This game play style I actually liked back in the day, but to me WCW Nitro was a really hard game to love. There was just so many annoying little things in the game play that spoiled the overall game for me. The collision detection is not exactly perfect and a great deal of the time the game has a hard time picking up when you have entered the right commands to do proper wrestling move. In all honesty if you want to beat the game quickly you can do it with just basic strikes.
As far as the game modes go there is really not a great deal on offer in WCW Nitro. You only have the very bare minimum of single and tag matches. There is no cage, ladder or any other specialty matches that are on offer here. The main single player mode is the WCW Nitro Challenge that sees you pick a wrestler and defeat a select number of other characters. This was not uncommon for the time period, but every wrestler in the game has the exact same FMV ending.
I will admit that when this game was first released I did actually kind of enjoy it for a short while. Sadly there control issues and the fact that there is just not a great deal to the game made it one that lost its appeal very quickly. I think that out of many of the wrestling games that were released during the WWF and WCW Monday Night Wars that this one has probably aged the worse than any of the others.
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