I don’t even know where to begin with WCW Wrestling for the NES. It’s one of the first semi-customizable wrestling games ever made? Upon playing this quality product, I’ll admit I was excited about the roster, being a huge classic wrestling fan. Mike Rotunda, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner, Kevin Sullivan, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, Michael PS Hayes, Eddie Gilbert, Dr Death Steve Williams, both Road Warriors and Ric Flair are all accounted for. This is also the only game ever made under the NWA license.
WCW Wrestling can be played by either one or two players in single or tag format. Sadly, all of the wrestlers wear the same tights/pants combo but palette swapped… even the ones who don’t wear full pants, like Ric Flair.
After picking your favorite blast from the past, your are given a list of eight moves. You can choose four of these moves to use during the match (none of which you will EVER pull off) and assign to each direction on the d-pad. Everyone also has their own finisher, but some of the finishers make no sense at all. Ric Flair finishing someone off with a Neck Breaker instead of the Figure Four? These moves can also ONLY be done in the dead center of the ring by pressing A + B when the opponent has two blocks of health or less.
I have to say, however, that this was a pretty innovative game for its time. When thrown out of the ring, the camera system goes from standard 2D to rounding the corner in a 2.5D style camera. Also, it features some hardcore wrestling elements when the fans (wtf?) throw wrenches and other weapons out onto the floor for the computer controlled opponent to bludgeon the shark piss out of you with.
This brings me to the biggest downfall. This being the overall difficulty of the game. Seriously, what 9-year-old kid did they expect to actually win once? I played about seven or eight times tonight and I couldn’t even get a move off against Michael Hayes. Every time he would just haul ass at me like I stole his favorite pornographic magazine and proceeded to wreck me, Warriors style.
The graphics weren’t too bad for the time but again, the character sprites only have realistic faces with the generic pants of a different color. The camera work outside of the ring is also very impressive for a game that is 16 years young. The controls may be good, and they may not; I never really got a chance to pull off anything other than a kick or a punch. Sometimes I ran, but I always got clotheslined. That Michael Hayes is one tough prick. I give this game an A for innovation considering the lack of customization and overall depth the other wrestling games offered at the time. If it weren’t so frigging hard, I might have actually enjoyed the game a little more.
Great presentation but about as fun as a the flexing muscle on the front cover that makes the “L” in the word “wrestling.”