This anticipated title from Acclaim is sure to be a big hit for fans of wrestling which seems to be a significant number of console owners. For everyone that watches the events and shells out the cash for the pay-per-views this game is for you. For those of you that don't particularly care for the sport this game will probably short-lived in your collections. All the wrestlers are here from Stone Cold Steve Austin, to Kane, to the D-generation X. And if that is not enough for you, get a memory pack and create your own superstar with the create-a-player mode.
The thing that separates this game from the rest of the mediocre wrestling games is the fact that it is packed with options. Compete in a single match, tag team, or tournament play. Then see how well you do in a steel cage or in a ring full of weapons (including a TV). And if you think you are tough enough, enter the Royal Rumble or fight 5 different wrestlers without having your energy restored in the appropriately named Gauntlet mode.
The best option by far however is the wrestler editor. Create your own fighter by changing his looks, and body from the hair on his head to the shoes on his feet and everything in between. (My personal favorite is the doctor outfit.) Then customize his abilities and moves, name him , and you are ready to rock. You can have a big fat monstrous character or a mild mannered skinny geek. I know you have always wanted to be a wrestler so here's your chance. After making your champ exactly as you want him put him up against the Undertaker or Golddust and see how he fares. The most worthwhile thing about this is that it allows you to create NWO wrestlers or retired favorites (Andre the Giant?).
As far as the actual gameplay is concerned, I would rate it as livable. The characters are nice and big unlike WCW vs. NWO and the way the camera moves is much more helpful in seeing all of the action too. Like nearly every wrestling game I have played the collision engine is sometimes really shoddy. It is hard to tell where my arm is in a certain kind of hold and when there are more than 2 people in the ring it gets really messy. Also the running is extremely slow even for the fast guys. But like I said it is livable and most of the time I had no trouble judging space or figuring out what was where.
The control on the other hand is very user friendly. On most games of this nature you can either do a move after you begin a grapple or you only have the option to do something from a standing position. In this game you can do both just like in the real ring. A helpful move list can be accessed at any time and it will only show you the moves you are able to do at that moment, a useful function for people who do not want to scroll through a bunch of moves. So if the guy if on the ground it will show you all of the hold and punches you can do to a lying opponent.
Instead of being a button mashing game like most others this one uses meters based on your characters reCovery and toughness abilities. If you get in a submission hold or a pin you will just have to wait for you meter to run down before you can break out of it. This is a very beneficial option for those who are not fast button mashers and it makes the game more realistic since it focuses on the personality of each wrestler. It is also easier on the fingers.
What wrestler would be complete without their personalized theme music? Well this game features everyone's trademark songs and a bunch more for your customized guys. Sadly all of the players sound pretty much the same once they step into the ring but some of the sound effects are fun especially like when you put a sleeper hold on Mankind and he cries for Mama. The crowd and announcers get into the action too offering their support and commentary.
This is definitely a game that you will want to get if you are a fan of the sport (sport?) and even if you used to be in the olden days, you might want to pick this up to just relive some of the old memories. It is really exciting multi-player and since N64 supports 4 players, grab some of your friends, sit down and go at it. It is a lot better than wrecking the furniture trying to do the moves in your living room... not that I would know anything about that.
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