ECW Hardcore Revolution
For the longest time professional wrestling video games were much like games licensed for blockbuster movies: the premise was great, but the actual end product was seldom passable.
The sport, er, sports entertainment, exploded around the same time as video games rebounded with the NES in the 1980s. A few commendable games appeared in the 16-bit era, but it was the jump to a 3-D landscape which set the new generation of wrestling games apart from the old.
Acclaim was at the forefront of the hot WWF license for the longest time, producing the popular WWF Attitude. But as noted to any wrestling fans, the late 90s were a huge war between the big two promotions: the WWF and WCW.
When WCW’s license jumped to EA, their former publisher, THQ, went after the WWF – this left Acclaim with no wrestling property during the genre’s highest period in history.
Enter ECW, or Extreme Championship Wrestling, a third outfit which was smaller than the other two mentioned, but was growing from a regional company into a national brand. Acclaim swooped in and made a deal with the company, in which they would repaint their WWF Attitude series over with ECW trademarks and characters.
Make no bones about it: that’s precisely what Hardcore Revolution is. A rebadged WWF Attitude.
That could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. For the WWF, THQ just rebranded their WCW vs. NWO World Tour game into WrestleMania 2000, with some enhancements, and it was wildly popular.
However, Hardcore Revolution was already built on what I felt was janky controls and sluggish gameplay to begin with.
Yes, it’s the N64 blocky characters, which was amazingly advanced for its time – but so much else about this game just feels more like a punch/kick brawler than a smooth-as-butter wrestling experience witnessed elsewhere.
Moves don’t really chain together well and you’re left with the feeling of those 8-bit and 16-bit button masher wrestling games as opposed to something “revolutionary”.
I will say that having the ECW theme to open the game will give you goosebumps. The amount of game modes and customization (including custom PPVs and create-a-wrestler) is more than aplenty to appease gamers looking for variety.
The roster or wrestlers, including some that can be unlocked, is a laundry list of most ECW mainstays too.
Usually, the fun in each of these games was watching the wrestlers’ entrances – and this is where the steam starts to run out for ECW’s title, as the company used a lot of cover bands to replay popular music hits. Those songs were unable to appear within the game and instead, you get the equivalent of a dubbed out, modified version for nearly every character.
The rest looks appealing – and the camera angles are a different approach than what you may see in other wrestling games of the era.
Yet, there’s something about ECW Hardcore Revolution that just seems off. That’s why I’m giving it a middle thumb – there’s some nostalgia and fans of WWF Attitude won’t mind the experience duplicated with ECW wrestlers.
But I didn’t care for Attitude either, so that’s why I’m somewhere in the middle of not being in love with this game.