Review by JPeeples

"The great wrestling game marred with some control issues."

WWF Royal Rumble was released for the Sega Genesis in November of 1993. WWF Royal Rumble was developed by Sculptured Software and distributed by Acclaim. WWF Royal Rumble contains 12 characters, all of them have their own unique Trademark moves, and is packed to the gills with gameplay modes. A version of this game was released on the Sega Genesis, complete with a brand new roster. The game engine used here would later be used for WWF Rage in the Cage, a Sega CD game, as well as the sequel to Royal Rumble, WWF Raw. The gameplay engine closely resembles a tug-of-war. The goal is to grapple with your opponent and mash buttons faster than your opponent in order to activate a move. I like this system because it makes you earn that move, if you want to execute a move, you’ve got to work for it.

The graphics throughout WWF Royal Rumble are solid. The in-game characters look great, quite a few of them resemble their real-life counterparts, some of the better ones are Papa Shango, Hulk Hogan, Bret “Hitman” Hart, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Some of the worst are Shawn Michaels and I.R.S. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag, the westlers’ Trademark moves look great, most notably the Tombstone Piledriver of the Undertaker, but some of the Traemark moves look odd, Hulk Hogan’s running leg drop comes to mind. The same can be said, however, for the standard moves, some of them, like the bodyslam and the suplex, look great, while some of them, like the chokehold, look odd.

WWF Royal Rumble is quite an ear-pleaser; the music throughout the game is great, and the wrestlers’ theme songs sound just like the real thing, the only downsides to them is that they sound a bit muddy, and they lack lyrics, the muddy sound isn’t all that bad, and the loss of lyrics is no big deal, except for Shawn Michaels’ theme, most of his song’s personality is in the lyrics, oh well, one bad theme out of 12 won’t kill the game. The sound effects are another great feature, most of them sound just like they should, some are a little off though, most notably the punching sound effect.

As I mentioned earlier, the gameplay engine in WWF Royal Rumble closely resembles a tug-of-war, and I love it. This addictive gameplay style helps to keep the game fresh, it also gives the game an added sense of difficulty, which I love. WWF Royal Rumble features many game modes to choose from; there’s the traditional one-on-one mode, in which you and your opponent go at it man to man, this mode allows you to choose a one fall match, or a Brawl match in which the referee is gone and the match ends when one of the wrestlers has their life bar completely depleted. WWF Royal Rumble has some unique tag team modes as well, aside from the traditional two-on-two tag team match, there a six-man tag team match option, in which each team has three members on it, two of the members are on-screen, the wrestlers on the apron can be switched to be the third partner, I’m a big fan of this match, it contains some frantic gameplay and never really gets old, plus it’s only been in one other wrestling game since, that game you ask? Why, it’s WWF Raw, the sequel to Royal Rumble. WWF Royal Rumble also contains a championship mode in which you go after either the WWF World Heavyweight Title, or the WWF World Tag Team Titles. I love this mode because it captures the feeling of the WWF, when you win either title, “Mean” Gene Okerlund comes up to the ring with the title belt, or belts as the case may be, and raises the hands of the winner, or winners. After the belt presentation, you are treated to a WWF Magazine cover with a portrait of your wrestler, or wrestlers, on the cover. These may seen like some relatively minor things, but they really enhance the feel of the game. There is also the legendary Royal Rumble mode. This match in anything goes brawl in which you attempt to throw your opponent over the top rope, and to the floor. If you are thrown out, you are eliminated, but the match will continue until there is a winner.

The control in WWF Royal Rumble is a mixed bag. On the Genesis’ three-button pad, it is horrible, it is damn near impossible to pull anything with this poorly done control scheme. The six-button pad makes things much easier, the button mapping is flawless, and the control is responsive. WWF Royal Rumble is packed with replay value; the game’s ultra-addictive gameplay makes this game a blast to play for years to come. Plus, you’ll notice something new about the game each and every time you play it. WWF Royal Rumble contains ten difficulty settings. The earlier settings are perfect for new players due to their lower AI and their lack of tenacity in grapples. The higher settings are well suited for veteran players, the AI is razor sharp and the CPU opponents won’t give up an inch in a grapple. I love the difficulty of the game, it really gives players the best of both worlds, and it’s not cheap, which is a rarity nowadays. WWF Royal Rumble is one of the finest wrestling games ever. It might not pack in as many modes as most modern wrestling games, but what it does have, it does about as well as could be expected, something that most wrestling game companies should take a look at. Why have 30+ modes if only three or four of them are done well? But I digress... The game has some splendid graphics, and has some of the most addictive gameplay ever in a wrestling game, I’ve had the game since the day it came out, and I still play it, it’s that good. I can’t stress enough how fun this game is to play, it sucks you in from the second you lock-up with your opponent. You will WANT to win that grapple, you will WANT to hit your move because it sucks you in like no other wrestling game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/21/01, Updated 07/21/01

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