WWF Super WrestleMania
After dealing with the limitations of the 8-bit era pro wrestling games, WWF Super WrestleMania came along and blew everything out of the water during the 16-bit era.
Interestingly enough the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo had different versions of the same title: this one reviews the latter which had a larger roster, and obviously better graphics and audio as opposed to the competition.
The graphics, audio, gameplay, roster and everything just about trumps any of the NES era WWF games. When you first start the game, however, LJN had to keep their logo onscreen until you hit the start button – a minor annoyance but one found throughout the game at times.
The next step was your traditional start menu, which then led to an amazing discovery that you could play with not only tag teams, but a four-man “Survivor Series” style match as well.
You select a difficulty level next and then get to choose from one of ten wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan, the Macho Man, and the Road Warriors – the rosters were the main difference between the two games, as the SNES was lacking the popular Ultimate Warrior. Aside from Hulk and Macho, both versions only shared The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase as well.
Otherwise, the available wrestlers were vastly different, including the Undertaker, Sid Justice and Jake “The Snake” Roberts, plus two tag teams: the aforementioned Road Warriors and the Natural Disasters.
Ring introductions looked cheesy, but the fun, if you will, begins after the bell.
The visual life bar was a major help in the new 16-bit era, but everything else was ramped up – with more buttons on the controllers themselves, you were now able to do much more with your wrestler, such as running or climbing the ropes.
You could even brawl outside of the ring, but beware of a count-out! (Heck, let’s gone one further: there are announcers ringside and a referee in the ring!)
Yet, and quite honestly, this game still suffers from the “pickup and play” issue most pro wrestling games do. You often grapple with your opponent, a commonality with the 16-bit era games, but in Super WrestleMania there’s no “tug-of-war” bar to know who is getting the upper hand.
You’ll often come out of the grapple with a simple headbutt… or if you’re close to the ropes, you might throw your opponent over the top rope.
There were no signature moves in the SNES version, which is a bummer – you’re pretty much stuck to suplexes and body slams. However, the character selection menu has a nice treat. If you stay on one wrestler for a few seconds, their entrance music plays.
This was likely a “killer app” type of feature back in 1992! (I know it was when I was a kid!)
Overall, this was a step in the right direction for the wrestling genre, but it still lacked the ease of mastering. Grappling appears to be related to AI cheating, and figuring out how and when to pin your opponent meant matches lasted 20 minutes or longer in some cases.
There are better wrestling games on the platform, but then again, in 1992 this title was groundbreaking. It’s worth having a look just for the progression from Super WrestleMania to the next games in the series.