Review by Flyersfreak85
"A good idea at the base, but that went downhill quickly..."
Introduction: Throughout the 1980's, wrestling was larger than life with personas that jumped off the television screen at you, and kids would become fascinated by these big named stars. Though there were many federations still in the 1980's (before Vince McMahon Jr. decided to play Pickett's Charge and buy out every single promotion that opposed him), one stood head and shoulders above the rest, that being the World Wrestling Federation (WWF for short). With the mass market saturated with everything from TV shows to comic books to action figures and so, one would only assume it would be a matter of time before the WWF decided to push its influence into making video games. While the NES made a couple of port video games for the home console, the arcade would get its first WWF game in 1989, released by Technos Japan.
Let's be fair though, it was a good and modest effort, but everything that was big and colorful about the real WWF was made small and dull in this effort, for the most part. But enough of the details in the introduction, let's get into this throwback game down below.
Gameplay: Okay so, when you plunk your quarter(s) into the machine, you will see a screen come up with six of the biggest names in the business at that time. You choose two wrestlers from the likes of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, the Honkey Tonk Man, and the Big Bossman, and you go on to compete in tag team action against any combination of the wrestlers you did not choose. After three hard fought matches, you get to compete against the WWF tag team champions The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant (with Virgil counting all of Ted's money). This is surprising to Technos because apparently no one told them that Ted and Andre were NEVER tag team champions, but no matter.
What's funny about the game is the cut scenes between fights leading up to the WWF tag team title match: once you've won the three matches to get to Ted and Andre, a VERY oddly looking Mean Gene Oakerlund will interview an incomprehensible Andre and a very fruity sounding Dibiase (one of those, however, was normal) and they talk some nonsense until you fight them. But this is the problem: much like a boss of a beat-em-up game, the tag champions are high powered, as Ted can sap your energy before you can scream the word that rhymes with puck. Andre, meanwhile, is impenetrable to attack from anyone except for (get this) the Bossman, who can use a headbutt to do damage to the French Giant. Again, Technos must have missed Wrestlemania III when Hogan, you know, slammed the big man like it was nothing.
Each wrestler has a punch and kick combination, on top of having special moves used by the wrestlers (such as the Hogan leg drop, the Warrior gorilla press, and so on) but pretty much the other moves are interchangeable. The score coming is not a reflection of their effort, but rather, the drab and boring choices presented to you a tag team match.
---Gameplay grade: 5/10
Controls: You have two buttons at your disposal, and together they can pull off about ten total moves. How you ask? Well it's simple: while the lock-ups are random and tend to be even more random in whom wins them (you or the AI), once you are in grapple, you can perform a number of actions for each character. However, the controls are sloppily down and tend to not respond when you want them to, and what's worse is that, if you played another Technos game The Combatribes which was released in 1990, you will see how ODD it is that the same actions were put in that game.
---Controls Grade: 5/10
Graphics: Small, thy adjective to describe the graphics: I mean seriously, when the intro said about the big and colorful becoming small and dull, that explains the graphics to a tee. And I swear I do NOT understand their fascination with making people look overly Asian (Gene and the Bossman) but it makes things comical. Most of the wrestlers, though, look like what they should, although Duggan looks a lot more sheep-dog like then he did in real life. But one thing does look good, that being the background during the match: it shows the four wrestlers in the match on a light-up screen in the Main Event.
---Graphics Grade: 5/10
Sound: Oh let me tell you, Technos spared NO expense when it came to the music: you get the SAME damn song in every tag team match, except for when you face Ted and Andre in the title match. And while they have your team come to the ring in the rolling platform (ALA Wrestlemania IV) which was a nice touch, they play NO music: it sounds like a faucet leaking. Oh, and remember the jab I took at Technos about the controls being lifted from this game and being put into The Combatribes? Yeah, go play THAT game, and come back and play this game to hear the wrestlers' grunts: it's the SAME thing. The only thing unique is when Ted, Andre, and Gene talk, and that only goes so far thanks to them screwing up the voice acting.
---Sound Grade: 4/10
Challenge: Oh, challenge you ask? Yes, this game is challenging, because it will suck your quarters right out of your pocket, or cup, or whatever you put them in. Let me make this simple for you, if you feel the need to play this game which is now almost 23-years old: use Warrior and Hogan, because if you don't you will be aped and pounded by them VIA the AI and his cheap tactics. And if that's not bad enough, then you have to deal with the BS from Teddy and Andre, and even with Hulk and Warrior, it will still be a tough task.
---Challenge Grade: 8/10
Final Thoughts: WWF Superstars was a great concept in theory, but the blame doesn't go to the WWF, it goes to Technos for this uninspired and simply mediocre effort. This is a shame, because if they had even put just a LITTLE bit of effort into this game, it could have been much better. Would it have been as good as the game that followed it up in 1991 and will be my next review? Probably not, but it sure would have been a lot better than this merely average five grade I just gave it.
---Final Grade: 5/10
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/17/12
Game Release: WWF Superstars (US, 12/31/89)
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