Retro Rated: Wrestle War

Factfile
Developed by: Sega
Released: 1989
Format played: Arcade

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What Is It?

Continuing our journey along the road to Wrestlemania, we take a step off the well trodden WWE pathway and venture into random territory.

Wrestling historians will recognise this grappling game as sharing the name of a famous WCW pay-per-view series, matches down the years including one from the renowned Flair vs Steamboat series as well as a WarGames bout.

This release from Sega shared no affiliation with the defunct promotion however there are some very clear echoes with real life wrestling.

Being an arcade game (although it was later ported to the Mega Drive), longevity isn’t top of the agenda. This is very much from the ‘start at the bottom and work your way to the top’ school of gaming as you take on a series of increasingly tough opponents to take home the title.

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Presentation is nice. Whilst unfamiliar names, the combatants bear more than a passing resemblance to well known wrestlers of the day, including ‘tributes’ to Hulk Hogan and Road Warrior Hawk amongst others. Sprites are big and chunky with a satisfyingly meaty sense of weight to them, an essential component in fighting games. Player health is a simple power bar at the top of the screen where you will also find your opponent brilliantly referred to as ‘Enemy.’ And who doesn’t look forward to a ‘Titled Match?’

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The wrestlers move around the ring nicely with a quirky camera feature whereby when you, for instance, fling your opponent into the ropes, the camera whips around, keeping your character facing the same way. It is a little disorientating but you soon get used to it. Sound is the expected mix of grunts and bumps with some fairly inoffensive beats tapping along in the background as the crowd chant enthusiastically.

Your move set is fairly limited. Standing moves are a simple punch and kick whilst you can also stomp on your opponent when he hits the canvas. Between times, you engage in a grapple, a power bar denoting who wins the tussle and which seems to operate completely at random. Win the grapple and you execute a big move, a suplex say or an arm toss. Grind your opponent’s health down to the embers and you execute your finisher, an impossible looking leaping piledriver that knocks him out for the count.

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Worth Playing?

It’s fairly limited and you’ll quickly tire of it but it’s pretty decent fun whilst it lasts, plus you can even rope a mate in for a quick two player scrap.

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