Legends of Wrestling II Review

Legends of Wrestling II carries on the dubious tradition of poor handheld wrestling games from Acclaim, publishers of such atrocities as WWF Attitude, WWF Betrayal, and countless other offenders. Yet the horrifying part is not the quality of said titles, but that they are selling well enough to justify more slipshod wrestling games. Hopefully, players have learned from previous errors in judgment to avoid Legends of Wrestling II, whose gameplay, graphics, and sound are not up to the standards of Game Boy Color, much less Game Boy Advance. All of the familiar problems from previous handheld wrestling games are present in this 2002 release.

For starters, the hit detection is arbitrary at best, non-existent at worst. Players will watch as a wrestler’s fist misses a few inches from the head and still count as a punch. Get close to a wrestler and body parts will start to merge in a disturbing union of flailing pixels. Characters would be indistinguishable from one another if not for the varying hairstyles and skin colors, and animation consists of a few frames. There’s only one ring in the game, and the wrestlers don’t even enter from opposite sides: the same entrance is shot for both characters.

Even if the hit detection were fine and the visuals were brought up to the handheld’s minimum standards, players would be sorely disappointed with each wrestler’s basic move set. The grappling system in particular will tear out the hairs of the most ardent fan, with a ridiculous timing-based interface that rewards blind luck over skill. A horizontal meter appears in the corner underneath the wrestler’s health, with a line rapidly moving back and forth. In order to perform a grapple, players must press the button when the line hits the green region, but the meter moves extremely fast and button presses aren’t nearly as responsive as they should be.

The rest of the package seems hastily thrown together. While the menu screens and career aspects are nice, there’s no two-player support, which is almost unforgivable in any wrestling title. The computer AI is cheap one moment and then brain-dead the next, but the most irritating aspect by far is the overall sluggishness of the action inside the ring. Acclaim should have never released this title in such a sorry state of playability, but the only way for companies to get the message that this is unacceptable is when players or their parents stop buying titles from them.

Graphics

Take a shapeless form, throw on some different colored hair and call him a legend of wrestling.

Sound

The same ohs and ahs are recycled over and over again.

Enjoyment

The action inside the ring is slow, tedious, and in some cases, painful — at least to the thumbs.

Replay Value

Completing the Career mode unlocks character bios, but there’s no two-player support. That may be a blessing in disguise….

Documentation

Perhaps the best part of the game is the documentation, which explains the ridiculous grapple meter and various game modes.

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