Haven’t you always wanted to don the tights of pro-wrestling legend Typhoon? Yeah, me either. They wouldn’t fit, for one. For two, he sucks. But you can do just that in WWF Super WrestleMania for Super Nintendo. Yes, you can live out your dream of being obese and jumping on people in front of thousands of screaming fans. Doesn’t that make you wanna prance on over to GameStop right this very second and pick up this game? Boy, I sure hope it doesn’t.
Of course, Typhoon isn’t the only character you can play as in WWF Super WrestleMania. There’s perennial favorites like “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Undertaker, and Hulk Hogan, and even perennial crapheads like “Psycho” Sid Justice. While a sports-entertainment fan might get excited at the mere prospect of being able to wrestle as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, what really matters to everyone else is the awesome sports-entertainment action. Too bad that part was left out of this game.
You have the choice of either one- or two-player gaming, and having made your decision, you then choose to engage in either a one-on-one, tag-team, or Survivor Series bout. One-on-one is obvious enough. Tag-team involves you and a partner of your choosing against two randomly selected opponents; one of your characters wrestles at a time, and you can “tag” out to your partner if your energy bar is low. If your energy bar is too low, your opponent can “pin” you, thus winning the match for his team. The other way to loose is by being outside of the ring for more than ten seconds. Don’t ask; it’s a wrestling thing. Survivor Series is like a tag-team match, except that each team is composed of four members instead of two, and each of the four members must lose in order for a team to win.
So that sounds all well and good, right? An average wrestling game that won’t cause any severe damage, right?
Wrong. WWF Super WrestleMania is about as subaverage as wrestling games go.
The controls are the chief portion of this game that make it so unbearable. First of all there’s no pause button, but that pales in comparison to the rest of the game’s faults. Each wrestler has the ability to punch, kick, grapple, headbutt, etc.—all of the standard moves for a wrestling game. But Sculptured Software omitted all the supercool fancy moves like the “Tombstone Piledriver” and “The Million Dollar Dream,” leaving us with several different superstars who all have the same bland moveset. It’s kind of like the WWE now, except with not so many titties.
But that’s not the worst of it. In addition to not having any fun moves to perform, the controls are sluggish, like a wet sponge. You push the button and slowly, ever so slowly, your grappler punches the air where your opponent previously had been before seeing that you were about to punch him and moving out of the way in the minute or two that it took for your character to perform the punch. The controls make the game positively anti-fun. On the plus side, the cartridge features large men in various stages of undress, so if makes for an attractive wall-hang if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Accordingly, the game has virtually no replay value. You can barely get through a one-on-one match without hitting that wondrous power button; Survivor Series matches take a truckload of testicular fortitude to play through in their entirely once, let alone multiple times. Basically, you just sit there and let your characters be defeated so that you can finish this horror of a game and engage in a more pleasing activity, such as hitting yourself repeatedly in the head with a copy of Bruce Campbell’s autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. When the match is over, you’re given the option to have a rematch. Maybe there’s a special spot in hell for people who kill innocent sheep where they’re forced to endlessly select the rematch option. That’s the only use for it I can see.
The game does have one small thing going for it, a detail left out of today’s wrestling titles: the referee is there in the ring with you, keeping the match under his supervision. Unlike later SNES wrestling titles, however, you cannot hurt him. What’s the point of his presence, then? Half the fun of WWF Royal Rumble is smacking this zebra until he falls down unconscious!
The graphics of WWF Super WrestleMania are better than expected, and the music and sound effects aren’t painfully bad, but nothing can make up for the game’s atrociously slow-working controls. If you want a wrestling game, get WWF No Mercy for N64. If you want an SNES wrestling game, get WWF Royal Rumble. If you want naked men, hang WWF Super WrestleMania up on your wall. Just don’t play it, okay? Promise? I’ll be your best friend. Okay, good. BFF!!