WWF Royal Rumble Review

Let’s get ready to rumble! It may not be boxing, but wrestling can always satisfy the urge to pummel an opponent into submission. WWF Royal Rumble is even better because you can decide who’s really the best without following some silly script.

The game will also please the wrestling faithful with its great likenesses of the pro wrestlers and gorgeous full-color photos in between matches. While there are several game modes, the main event is the Royal Rumble: two wrestlers fight it out with an additional wrestler entering the ring until six are in at once! As soon as you throw a man out of the ring, another wrestler will take his place until you face all twelve.

The moves all depend on your relative position to the wrestler. Standard moves include punches and kicks, which turn into kneedrops or elbowdrops when your opponent is on the mat. You can also go for the pin, roll away while on the mat, or wiggle left and right on the pad to break out of a pin. There are also various aerial moves at your disposal.

These include hip-tosses, dropkicks, and clotheslines, which can be performed while your opponent is running toward you. If you are the one running, you can perform a flying elbowdrop or climb a turnbuckle and then leap off it! You can also leave the ring and grab a chair or use illegal moves such as chokeholds and eye gouges (but only when the ref isn’t looking).

The most important part of wrestling is the grapple, which is the weakest element in the game. To lock grips with an opponent you first press the X button when standing next to him; a meter will then appear showing who is winning the test of strength. The good thing is that you can perform one of six moves while in the grapple: headbutt, bodyslam, suplex, atomic drop, backbreaker and a push into the ropes.

The bad thing is that in order to perform these moves (each has its own button), you have to repeatedly tap the button like a madman. So if you want to perform a headbutt, you have to quickly tap the A button until the meter sways to your direction. The problem is that the other opponent is tapping a button too, so you end up doing a tug of war.

This control scheme is irritating and should have been banished after Track & Field. Frantically pounding a button just to win a grapple is not my idea of fun. Another thing to consider is the cheapness of the computer. While the difficulty can be set to ten different levels, the higher you set it, the faster it will win grapples.

On level ten, there is no possible way you can out-grapple the computer — unless you have a special controller with a rapid fire switch! Yet aside from the grapple system, there’s not much wrong with the game, and many may not find it to be as bothersome. While WWF Royal Rumble isn’t quite as exciting as a Pay-Per-View event, it offers enough enjoyment to satisfy hardcore fans.

Graphics

The wrestlers look close to their real-life counterparts, although they all have the same weight and height. Yokozuna looks too thin! A nice touch is the animated fans in the seats surrounding the ring.

Sound

The sound is well done and each wrestler’s theme music will play after a victory. Voice samples would have been a nice addition.

Enjoyment

Each wrestler has his own special move which can be used when an opponent is weakened. Brett Hart has his “Sharpshooter” and Ted DiBiase has his “Million Dollar Dream,” for example. The grappling control is extremely annoying, however, and the computer is not a very difficult opponent as long as you stay away from grapples.

Replay Value

There are a lot of play modes to keep fans busy, but there is no save feature to keep track of records or tournament progress.

Documentation

The manual explains all of the moves and contains biographies of all the wrestlers in the game.

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