I guess there is no denying the fact that this wresting thing just ain't going away. As much as I find it a joke in real life, I can't help but enjoy the wrestling games on home consoles. Since I can't stand wrestling in real life but enjoy the video games, I have no doubt that fans of the actors -- umm, I mean wrestlers -- just eat these games up. One need go no further than the top 10 monthly sales charts to see that wrestling games are just as popular as the real thing.
For at least a year, THQ was unchallenged when it came to wrestling on the N64. Then along came Acclaim and the awesome WWF War Zone. This is still one of my favorite games on the N64, so WCW/NWO Revenge is really going to have to show me something to take away my attention from it. Can it be done? If anyone can pull it off, it is the wrestling pros at THQ. I mean, this game is bursting with wrestler options and play modes. Wrestle in the real life events and see if you can take your favorite wrestler to the top.
When it comes to volume of wrestlers available, Revenge is the hands-down winner. No game out there can compete with the types of numbers we are looking at. The game boast more than 60 wrestlers. That is a hell of a lot of different wrestlers and moves to learn. One downside to having all these wrestlers is that there are sure to be a bunch you have never heard of before. I know that there is a tremendous loyalty to wrestlers by the fans, so my guess is that most people will only play their favorites instead of trying out the other wrestlers, but for a guy like me who doesn't know the difference between Diamond Dallas Whoever and Jimmy Somethingorother, I really liked all the variety.
I think the game developers did a great job of making this game easy for anyone to pick up and play. There are only a few button combinations to pull off the moves, and every wrestler uses the same combination. This means that no matter whom you choose, the commands are the same to get them to perform moves. Don't get me wrong; the moves are different between the wrestlers, but the button sequences are the same to get them to pull the moves off. I didn't like the fact that you had to move the player with the d-pad, and the analog stick was used for the crowd taunt. I can't tell you how many times I would have a guy down and be circling in for the kill, only to find my guy not moving but raising his hands to the crowd. What the hell? Oh yeah, I just grabbed the analog stick out of instinct. So instead of maneuvering my wrestler in for the finishing blow, I constantly missed the opportunity.
Once again, I am not a fan of real-life wrestling, but even I have not been shielded from the mass marketing hype that is professional wrestling. I have seen commercials for every Pay-per-View ripoff -- er -- event since they started doing them. I guess things just soak into your subconscious without you knowing, because I've heard of every single one of the match locations. You have things like Bash on the Beach and Souled Out, just to name a few. Even I can appreciate the fact that the developers have gone to great lengths to make the game feel as realistic as possible. Now only if the wrestlers could do the same...
All of this is fine and dandy, but the real question is, how does it play? The answer? Pretty darn good. The control is dead-on and your wrestler seems to execute your commands instantly. A common problem with wrestling games in the past has been the sluggish feeling, but this does not seem to be a problem with this game. Like I mentioned above, all of the moves are the same button presses, so once you perfect the moves, you will be able to check out the other wrestlers and still be successful.
One thing that THQ wrestling games use is the Spirit Meter. In this game, the Spirit Meter plays a huge role. This meter can help decide the outcome of matches by giving the wrestler more powerful moves. Eventually, the meter will flash Special and you will be able to perform a special move that is very powerful and leaves your opponent in a sad state. These moves can mean the difference between winning and losing a match.
All this is great, but the one thing that made War Zone so much fun was the create feature. I spent hours and hours creating my wrestlers. Since I spent that much time working on a wrestler, I was damn sure going to enjoy wrestling with him. You may have over 60 wrestlers to choose from, but there is nothing that even comes close to being able to create your own wrestler.
If there is one thing this game does correctly, it is creating the right atmosphere. From the first match, it becomes abundantly clear that the developers tried to cram in all the theatrics of professional wrestling. You get to see your wrestler enter the arena with smoke shooting up all around him and the crowd cheering. You really feel like you are about to watch a wrestling match. As far as the in-game graphics go, they did a pretty good job as well. All the moves are lifelike, although I did have a few instances where the collision detection seemed to be off. The wrestlers looked good and were very detailed. You will see all the pain and agony on their detailed faces.
This is a damn good wrestling game. Even if you are not a fan of wrestling, you should still enjoy it. There are plenty of wrestlers to choose from, and the real-life arenas are a great touch. Unfortunately for Revenge, I would give the nod to War Zone because of the create feature alone. The gameplay is very comparable, yet very different. If you are a starving N64 owner like most, you will do just fine owning both games.
Download WCW/nWo Revenge
Updated wrestling game that plays slightly better than WWF Warzone, but doesn't look as polished with slightly blocky wrestlers.
Taste The Fear!
A game that N64 owner should be without. By far the best beat'em-up on the N64 with unmatched multiplayer action! A wrestling fan's dream. Takes WWF Warzone into the ring and teaches it how to really wrestle. A top class brute- bashing bonanza... the amount of moves are amazing. Wrestling fans never had it so good. An essential buy!
Improved sequel with loads of wrestlers. Looks primitive compared to Warzone.
Kanyon: Get the TV title to get Kanyon in the WCW.
Kidman: Get the Cruiserweight Belt to get Kidman.
Meng and Barbarian: Get the Tag Team Belts and you'll be able to play as Meng and Barbarian.
Extra modes: Achieve the following challenges within the game to get these extra modes.
TV Title Mode: Win the Cruiserweight Belt to get TV Title Mode.
World Heavyweight Mode: Win the U.S. Heavyweight Belt to get World Heavyweight Mode.