Showdown: Legends Of Wrestling
With the relative popularity of wrestling, as a spectator sport goes, it amazes me how often the gameplay in your average wrestling title fails to live up to even cursory standards, often being a maze of ill timed button mashing and inane combo moves. Showdown has worked out many of these problems, but with a relatively buggy program, a lack of unlockables, and some elements of the game that are neither documented nor explained, it still isn't the sort of title I can truly believe in.
Truly the most entertaining part of this game is the ability to play through some of the most historic wrestling matches ever caught on film. The match mode lets you choose from several of the most famous matches in history, whereas the Showdown Challenge takes you through three decades of fabulous fighting. A whole host of wrestling's greatest are present for your use, from the givens like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant to fan favorites like Jake 'The Snake'? Roberts and Eddie Guerrero.
As far as game controls go, let me be perfectly clear. This is a step above what Acclaim has offered before. In previous Legends of Wrestling titles, the game has mixed button mashing with careful timed button pressing, making for a hazy and difficult control system. In Showdown, the only button pressing you really need to worry about occurs only when your character is dazed, and a clear and easy to follow in game help system lets you know exactly what moves you can perform at any given time. It seems like they've loosened the timing on move countering, and the only really annoying thing I can find is that I couldn't get the game to leave the help system on.
In conclusion, this is a significant advancement in the Legends series, and while it provides some of the most intriguing gameplay in the form of the historic matches, it is still a relative letdown as far as an overall fun game goes. When will Acclaim learn, and design a wrestling game more like Def Jam Vendetta? Imagine if you combined that imaginative play technique with good old fashioned wrestling?