Legends Of Wrestling

a game by Acclaim
Platforms: GameCube XBox Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 3 reviews
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A while back, I had the misfortune to review Legend of Wrestling for the PS2. Now, I've always enjoyed wrestling, watching it quite regularly on television, and occasionally playing the odd title. Many of them had hope, many had a lot of potential, and even a few could be called 'enjoyable'. However, most played worse than an old, poorly designed arcade machine, and Legends of Wrestling is no exception. It presents a series of classic fighters, from Hulk Hogan to RVD, puts a small spit shine polish on the graphics, and then gives you one of the more poorly designed control schemes ever invented.

Going from a series of on/off grappling and striking attacks, to a furious amount of rapid button pushing, this game plays like a fitful bout of epilepsy. The matches only last a few minutes, but consist mostly of beating your opponent bloody, and then pinning them when you get the chance, but in a strange twist, the pin isn't needed, as you can just smack 'em around 'til they drop. As a singular high point, the game features a fairly complex combo grappling system that, while unwieldy, does let you pull off some signature moves.

Graphically, this title still doesn't have much going for it, as the background, foreground, and character models are all poorly suited for a next-gen console. With only a passing resemblance to the real wrestlers, each character is a strange, bulbous representation of the normal human form. Audio wise, there's some commentary during each round, and little in the way of music, making for a boring experience.

As if it is really needed, I make my summation in this. Legends of Wrestling is a dull and repetitive title that should not be purchased except by the most die hard of fans, and even then, I'd caution against it.

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Game Reviews

OK, I like the idea of taking some of the more famous names in wrestling's less-then-glorious past, but a good idea does not a game make. With the premise of playing the game with name's from the 70s and 80's like Jerry 'the King' Lawler and the Road Warriors, the game makers stole what little audience they may have had. Sadly most game players won't know who Don Muraco and Rick Martel are, therefore, why would you want to play as them?

For an Xbox game, I'd say the graphics are right on par for the original Playstation; this is a bad thing for those of you scoring at home. Characters move a little too stiff and look strangely boxy with only the most minimal use of smooth textures. Complimenting these pathetic graphics is a control scheme that seems flat by design. While each character has his own compliment of custom moves, doing anything but the simplest of moves is far more difficult then it should be. I mean if you're going to play as the legendary Hulk Hogan, pulling off his signature flying leg drop should be easy and fun. Unfortunately, in this game, it is neither.

The only redeeming feature of this game is its mildly acceptable multiplayer mode, which includes several options like a 3- way dance (all against all), a 4-way dance (same) and a tag team mode. In fact, the only way to unlock many of the locked characters is to play through the tag team mode, giving me a small amount of motivation to play through.

Oh yeah, there is one other cool feature that this game has; you can play as the Hitman himself, Bret Hart. Regardless, if you are a die hard, rabid, crazy fan of some of the older wrestling character' like George 'The Animal' Steele, then this one's for you, but chances are you could care less about a bunch of wrestler's you have never heard of. Otherwise skip this one and pick up WWF Raw.

Overview

It can be said that writing a good game review is equal parts fact and opinion. A concise review presents a good dose of the reviewer's own feelings about the game, as well as informing you of the many strengths and weaknesses in any game. I'm lucky. This game has enough merit to make my opinion somewhat easy to convey, but lacks any significant character, giving me plenty of weaknesses to write about.

Legends of Wrestling lets you take on the mantle of one of over 50 of the greatest figures in wrestling history. Among them are characters like Hulk Hogan, Captain Lou Albano, the Iron Shiek, RVD, the Von Erich brothers, Mr. Fuji, Ricky "The Steamboat" Dragon, Nikolai Volkoff, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, and more. Once you've unlocked all of the characters, you'll probably be disgustingly amazed at the number of wrestlers they've managed to cram into this game, each popular wrestlers from recent memory.

Using a combo system that relies heavily on grappling, Legends of Wrestling sets out to provide a realistic wrestling experience that simulates the give and take of an actual match. A simple statistic system lets you keep track of your wrestlers' skills and abilities, and since most of the wrestlers in the game start out locked from play, you've got a lot to work at if you intend to have a full gameplay experience.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Button mashing, button mashing, and more button mashing. It's rather simple. First, you choose your wrestler. Depending on whether you choose multiplayer, tag team, single match, or campaign, you'll always get to choose from the broad list of wrestlers in Legends of Wrestling. Choose the wrestler you like and you'll move on to the game itself. After a short introduction, you're put into the ring, ready to fight your opponent. Hopefully, if you've got a good twenty minutes or so to spare, you'll be able to pin him. You can run around the ring, but most of the time, you'll just amble at the pitifully slow pace of a grandma walking down the street with the assistance of a metal walker.

First, learn to grapple. You can strike your opponent, but you'll want to grapple to get into the meat of the game. Striking is fun, especially given how some of the wrestlers use their trademark kicks and punches, but grappling is the heart of the combo engine. After grappling, one of the players can get the other into a favorable position, and enter what is called the Intermediate Start Position. I'm scratching my head to remember at this point, but I vaguely remember this from my wrestling classes in high school, so you might want to pay attention to this part. It may just be the only part of this game that resembles wrestling in any way, shape, or form, be that realistic or cinematic.

Once you've got your opponent in the ISP, you can hit a button to time with a small green bar just underneath your energy meter. If you score it right, your wrestler performs a special move. Mess up, and the opponent has a chance to reverse the hold on you. This means that you can literally have a few minutes of just trading grapples, not really advancing in the match. Not only are these moves and combos hard to pull off once you've got an opponent in a grapple, but you'll pray that you don't get stunned, as you'll suddenly need to switch from a smooth, timed button pressing game to a severe, quick, button mashing competition. Flip flopping between these two isn't any fun, so you'll want to avoid any stunning, but if you can manage to last an entire match, that should hopefully be the least of your worries. Your energy meter takes forever to run out, and only after you've depleted your opponent's energy meter can you reliably pin him. It might take a half-hour for a good match on TV, but I don't want my PS2 to be tied up for 30-45 minutes on a single wrestling match.

Multiplayer support/experience

You can multiplay against friends in nearly any of the gameplay modes other than the career, although I doubt you'd be able to convince anyone other than a wrestling fanatic to play against you for more than a few minutes at a time.

Graphics

It is a damnable shame that people can't put good graphics into a game with this much potential. Not only were the designers of Legends of Wrestling unable to capture the physique of many of the wrestlers (many exhibit far too many muscles for their own good), but each wrestler appears to use the exact same character model, only slightly blown up or thinned down, with different faces and clothing styles.

Audio

Given that this game doesn't even have a convincing wrestling announcer, I didn't bother listening to it for very long, relying on the discussion of friends to keep my attention while I played this repetitive thumb-wrecking video game.

Bottom Line

A good friend of mine put it correctly when he uttered, "dull and repetitive." Truly a boring title, I can't really suggest that anyone play this game. It's entertaining for only superfluous reasons, those being the large cast and chance to wrestle using your favorite wrestlers of yesteryear. Still, I don't think I can really consider this game a good representation of the Legends of Wrestling when it doesn't even have Andre the Giant or Rowdy Roddy Piper in the cast.

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