Review by JPeeples

"The best SNES wrestling game."

WWF Raw was released for the Super Nintendo in November of 1994. WWF Raw was developed Acclaim and distributed by Acclaim. WWF Raw 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. WWF Raw uses the same gameplay engine as its prequel, WWF Royal Rumble. 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 Raw are solid. The in-game characters look great; quite a few of them resemble their real-life counterparts, some of the better ones are “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel, “The King of Harts” Owen Hart, and the 1-2-3 Kid. Some of the worst are Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who uses the EXACT same character model as in Royal Rumble, and “The Heart Break Kid” Shawn Michaels, who is wearing dark red tights, with NO DESIGN, this should be a sin for any game with him in it. 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 Shawn Michaels teardrop suplex is one example. The same can be said, however, for the standard moves, some of them, like DDT and the suplex, look great, while some of them, like the chokehold, look odd.

WWF Raw is quite an ear-pleaser; the music throughout the game is great, and the wrestlers’ theme songs are crystal clear and sound just like the real thing, the only downside to them is that they lack lyrics, but it’s 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 Raw 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 Raw 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 Raw 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 the last time this mode was included in a U.S.-released wrestling game. WWF Raw 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. The Royal Rumble mode in this game is great because it has a frantic pace and keeps you on your toes. 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 Raws great. It is quite responsive, which is a must in a game that uses this style of gameplay. The button layout really helps the game’s control, each and every action is mapped to a certain button, and the button couldn’t be placed any better. The flawless button configuration is a highlight of the game as it makes getting your way around the virtual ring that much easier.

WWF Raw 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 Raw 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 Raw 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:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/22/01, Updated 07/22/01

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