WCW / nWo Revenge Review

WCW / nWo Revenge screenshot N64 box art

Pick your side in the wrestling competition and get ready to brawl.

Story

The biggest, baddest and meanest wrestlers from around the world are now ready to go head-to-head. Will you side with the World Champion Wrestling or the New World Order wrestlers? Either way you are yet to face the craziest battles ever witnessed and if it makes you feel better, you can bring a friend to the ring. Do you have what it takes to win the 40-man Battle Royale? Are you ready to brawl!?

The Game

WCW / nWo Revenge is the sequel to the wrestling game WCW vs. nWo: World Tour. It has come to be regarded as one of the best wrestling games ever made. The game surely has its moments and the array of features it sits on are not to be ignored. Many wrestlers seen in the game are known from the real World Championship Wrestling show, while others are fictional. All in all there are about 60 wrestlers included in this game, including big names like Hollywood Hogan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart and The Giant. Each one has many different costumes to choose from and you may customize the color of their outfits too.

Controls

The game has a pretty advanced control scheme. You will be able to pull off some different holds, kicks, punches and grapples depending on what wrestler you choose to play as. Many of the moves are similar though, but still some variety is there and makes the fighting feel quite fresh. Depending on the situation and the position of your wrestler, you’ll notice that the same buttons will do different moves. This isn’t as confusing as it may sound. Most of it works right off the bat and quickly becomes second to nature.

Content

The various game modes available are as follows; Championship which is divided into U.S Heavyweight, Cruiser-weight or Tag Team Tournaments. This is where you wrestle it out to achieve the championship wrestling belts. The championship fights follow set tournament rules and can not be adjusted and the Tag Team Tournament can be played co-op with a friend.wcenworevenge7
If you just want a quick match you’d select the Exhibition mode. Here you play against another player (or CPU opponent), and Tag Team with four players in a 2 vs. 2 set up. Unlike the championship modes you can adjust the rules to these matches as you see fit. For example you can control if the wrestlers will submit when he reaches his pain threshold and to what extent you’re allowed to fight outside the ring.
On top of these two fundamental game modes you’ll find the Special Match Mode. This is where you can play the 40-man Battle Royale mayhem with up to four human controlled players. Battle Royale is a free-for-all battle and when someone gives up or leaves the ring, a new wrestler enters the fray.

The coolest aspect of the whole fighting in this game is that every attack can be countered and reversed. When done right, you can turn an offensive move into an opportunity. You can counter holds, and it looks really cool. This gives the game the element of surprise – you never know when your grappled foe suddenly will break out of your grapple and pull a hold on you. This builds cinematic battles in the ring – and the camera also tends to rotate and zoom in when these things happen which makes it feel extra neat.

The game has no health or energy bars visible to the players. Instead there is a Spirit Meter that indicates how well spirited your wrestler is at any given time. The better your spirit, the more powerful attacks you’ll have and you’ll also be harder to pin down. When the Spirit Meter goes down on the other hand, you’ll be more vulnerable to submission holds and such. Keeping an eye on the somewhat unruly Spirit Meter is a must – this is key to when you’ll actually be able to make your opponent give up the match or pin him down.

The biggest downside with WCW / nWo Revenge is that the wrestlers are very tough – you can beat them like a punching bag and manhandle them for prolonged periods without them showing any sign of defeat. Most attacks and grapples in the game look outright deadly, so it doesn’t make sense that you must keep breaking the same guy’s back, neck, arms and legs more times than anyone cares to count. There is a game option that allows quick matches, which basically means that the wrestlers will give up easier and tire faster, but it just doesn’t feel right to have an option like that turned on.

Perhaps game would have benefited from having a more standard type of health bar or something that gives players immediate feedback on how their wrestler is doing. It would be great to know when the opponent looks weak enough to put down in a pin. This would allow a much more straight forward game, for better or for worse. As it appears now, you’ll just have to keep bashing away at your opponent and trying to pin him now and then and hope for the best.

Graphics

The graphics are generally good for a Nintendo 64 game. The animations, albeit some minor glitches here and there look cool and mimic realism quite well. The game has some different rings you can wrestle in but the difference between them is minimal. The background graphics are poor so you’re better off not looking at what’s there. The menus have a distinct style that fits the theme really well, and the design overall is pretty stylish. Even though there are hundreds of different costumes across all the wrestlers they sadly aren’t all that varied.

Sound

The music tries to mimic the same type of heavy metal featured in the real wrestling shows. It’s done with sound samples that are supposed to be electric guitars, and the music in general is overly generic. It is appropriate to the game and theme, but it can quickly become repetitive. At least the audience sounds okay – they’ll cheer you on and go wild if you manage to pull off some impressive moves. The other sound effects are passable too, even though they are a bit at a minimum.

Summary

A game with this many features can’t really go wrong. Even though the fighting is kind of tedious and long drawn sometimes, it can be fun for a while. The many multiplayer options certainly puts an interesting element into the game. Tag Team modes are always fun and this one is no exception. Playing against a human player turns quickly into a sweaty button-mashing contest – it’s a lot of fun but tiring.
If you are a huge fan of wrestling then this game is for you. Even more so if you want to experience some local multiplayer wrestling mayhem in either Tag Team or versus mode.

Developed By: Asmik Ace
Published By: THQ
Version Reviewed: Nintendo 64
Genre: Fighting / Wrestling
Players: 1-4
Released: 1998-10-26

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