Welcome to the NES era, where the difficulty of 8-bit games often claimed the souls of young children.
None could be truer than the poor kiddo who unpacked this cool looking WCW Wrestling game. It’s wrestling, those are the Road Warriors on the cover (one of the biggest draws outside of the WWF at wrestling’s height) and this should be a blast…
Should be, because it wasn’t made by LJN.
It isn’t, because like every other wrestling game made during this era, its either:
- Too Hard
- Limited By Technology
This is true of WCW Wrestling, which looks cool and lets you move all over the place, including outside of the ring with even an isometric corner view.
There’s also a nice roster of wrestlers to choose from, none of which as any special abilities than the other aside from how they look. Everyone’s here, including Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, Road Warriors Hawk and Animal, Ricky Steamboat, and then maybe lesser knowns outside of the regional territory such as Mike Rotundo, Steve Williams, Kevin Sullivan, Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert, and Michael “PS” Hayes.
The boss at the end of the game is a generic masked wrestler called the “WCW Master”, who can be unlocked to play with. (He’s actually based on Andre The Giant’s character “Giant Machine” in Japan, as this game’s engine was originally released there as a totally different wrestling game.)
You can also customize your wrestler’s move set before the match. But good luck using it – or getting any offense in.
As was customary at the time, jamming on buttons was necessary to success. Jamming on them here, however, usually ends up in poor collision detection where you can never land a hit on the CPU controlled opponent.
Despite the custom moves, you’re relegated to kicking and punching – usually landing neither. Your character is at the mercy of watching the CPU do all of the cool stuff, and should you happen to get off of the mat or kickout from a pin attempt, you’re most likely hitting every button known to man as fast as possible, which pressing A+B makes you run.
Then you run into a clothesline. Or a dropkick. Or any other cool moves you can’t do, but the computer performs mercilessly.
Thankfully matches are timed. That will make sure you’re out of your misery soon enough, because no other power bars or meters exist that show you if you’re ahead or behind your opponent health wise. Nope, the only gauge which exists is when you suplex someone out of a grapple, a power bar which eventually lands on full power, flashes the screen, and allows you to execute your special move.
Well, not you, but the computer.
It’s almost as if you’re playing Mortal Kombat in the arcade and were lucky enough to win two matches. Guess what’s next? The cheating CPU that will suck your quarters!
Except there’s no quarters. And there’s no winning – unless you trick the CPU into getting counted out of the ring at 20!
I have a real love/hate relationship with wrestling games from this era, and WCW Wrestling is among the worst of them. While it presents itself as more of a pure wrestling game than LJN’s WrestleMania fare, it’s still a turd that should be long forgotten aside from the cool Road Warriors pose on the cover.
Avoid it unless you enjoy terrible video games.