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WCW vs. NWO Revenge
Platform:  Nintendo 64
# of Players:  1-4
Developer:  THQ
Publisher:  THQ
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  
There is a theory about wrestling games that goes like this, "Those who like wrestling games will buy it no matter what and those who do not could care less about them anyway." Because of this theory many wrestling games (WCW ones in particular) have been mediocre, at best, only appealing to the audience that watches and follows it on Monday Nitro and the Pay-Per-View specials. Well, with Revenge, developers, THQ, hope to change all of that. With fast and easy control, great animations, and a big number of moves and wrestlers, they have made a game that will appeal to even the semi-enthusiast.

A problem that has plagued WCW wrestling games for the past couple of years is that by the time they come out the wrestlers and situations have all changed so they are dated on opening day. When WCW Vs. NWO came out for N64 it did not include all of the wrestlers like Raven and Goldberg, and then NWO split into two different groups and that was not in the game obviously. The nice thing about Revenge is that it is fairly current. Unless some other major change occurs , the game will reflect the current state of WCW for a while. There are many WCW fighters along with NWO Hollywood and Wolfpack as well as Raven's flock and some other organizations. There are also some hidden characters that can be earned. All in all, there are enough wrestlers to keep the game interesting even after you have mastered all of your favorites. Also, as in WCW Nitro, allied wrestlers of each group will run out from the locker room to assist their teammates.

Many wrestlers means many moves and the animations on the moves are pretty fluid. As with previous games on the N64 the collision engine leaves a lot to be desired and it is sometimes hard to see where one guy's leg begins and another guys arm ends. There is clipping on practically every move which looks really bad, but that is forgivable since the moves are plentiful and animated to look just like the real thing. Another nice thing about the moves is the control in pulling them off. The game pretty much sticks to a 2 button format for most of the moves using the C buttons and the L and R for special things. This makes it easy for anyone who had never even picked up an N64 controller to immediately understand the controls and enjoy the game.

If you played the first WCW game on N64 then you know how the spirit meter works. For those of you that this is new to, it goes like this: Your spirit is determined by what the crowd thinks of you based on your decisions, charisma, and success. A variety of moves including some pretty tough ones to pull off will increase your spirit appealing to the crowd by taunting your opponent. Playing dirty or getting pounded will make it go down. Once the spirit is at its peak you can enter special mode, which allows you to pull off up to 5 different special moves including each wrestlers signature move. It is these special moves that define professional wrestling and are the main reasons everybody watches wrestling. What's more the animations for the signature moves are the best I have seen capturing each wrestler's personality.

As far as options go, there are few. The most prominent is the choice of all of the Pay-Per-View arenas. Fighting options include, 1 on 1, Tag Team, 2 on 1, and a Battle Royal. There is no Create-a-Wrestler mode like in WWF Warzone, but there are multiple costumes like in the first game. Each match plays pretty much the same although it becomes really difficult to face the person attacking you when the ring has multiple people in it. As far as I can see though, the game is less about types of matches as much as it is about the different groups feuding with each other. The game shines best in its 1 on 1 modes (sorry multi-player) where everything is very easy to see and control. In this mode the camera can show instant replays of really well-executed moves (which it does automatically) as well as always being in the right place at the right time. When there are too many combatants the camera has to pan back so far that it ceases to be effective or interesting.

So does the theory still stand? Will WCW/NWO Revenge make a wrestling fan out of you, or do you have to be a wrestling fan to like wrestling games? The answer is this: If you think the entire sport is silly and boring well then that is what you will think about the game. On the other hand, if you have always wanted to watch a person get their head smashed with a chair, or control a lone fighter in the squared circle then Revenge is a great choice for easy pick up and play wrestling mayhem. It immediately shows you who is allied with who, and the controls are easy enough to learn even for beginners. If you know you like wrestling, and you watch all the matches, and you even dressed up like Sting for Halloween this year, then who are you kidding? You know you have to get this game. You don't need my approval. Don't worry though, you'll love it.

Chris Shade

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