Retro Rated: WWF Wrestlemania

Factfile
Developed by: Twilight
Released: 1991
Format played: Amiga

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What Is It?

Taking its name from the annual wrestling ‘showcase of the immortals’ this grappler from Ocean hit the Amiga in 1991.

As we saw with our review of WWF Superstars, wrestling can be a difficult beast to translate into video game format, its more story based appeal eschewing the traditional appeal of a one-on-one fighting game. Razzmatazz and character are the order of the day, especially given the more cartoony based antics of early 1990s WWF.

What a shame then that this travesty fails on pretty much every level.

Things get under way with some generic background music, the game disappointingly coming too early to benefit from┬áthe vocal stylings of the WWFs very own band of musical Superstars. We then get the option of two (count ’em!) game modes as you opt either to go for the WWF championship or just a practise match.

Whichever option you plump for, you only have a choice of three measly characters; Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and British Bulldog. Competing for the championship sees you battle five further combatants but with no option to unlock defeated opponents, replayability is a little thin on the ground.

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Not that it will be too much of a concern because after a couple of plays, it’s doubtful you’ll want to come back for more. Whichever grappler you pick, your move set consists of little more than punch, kick and dropkick, all executed with the grace of a stumbling elephant. Wander too close to your opponent and you might end up in a grapple, a joystick waggle-off that would put Daley Thompson’s Decathalon to shame. Should you manage to win it, you are rewarded with a signature move, such as Hogan executing a crushing piledriver, despite any casual fan knowing full well that one of Hogan’s three moves in his prime was of course the Legdrop of Doom. Rinse and repeat until one of the wrestlers runs out of energy or the timer elapses. The single button limitations of the Amiga joystick are undeniably a challenge for developers when trying to craft a fighting game with a range of moves but this is poor nonetheless.

Extracurricular activities are in short supply. You can bounce off the ropes and climb the turnbuckle to add a little variety to your attack, plus you can venture out of the ring to grab a steel chair, your man bringing it crashing down whilst appearing to be auditioning for Swan Lake.

Graphically it is fine. The wrestlers themselves are big and chunky and everything moves around the screen nicely. Outside of pre-match music, sound is virtually non-existent save for a few pathetic whines when someone executes a move. Pre-match you get some cheesy promos between the wrestlers to hype up the match but these are slim pickings. Where is the glitz? Where is the glamour? Where are the match options, the unlockables, the moves, the music?

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Worth Playing?

With all the essential elements of wrestling stripped away, what you are left with is dull, repetitive and boring.

Hulkamania is not such much running wild with this one as running on empty.

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