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Video Game Review: WWF Royal Rumble

Out of the blue the other day I decided to play WWF Royal Rumble for the Super Nintendo. Can you blame me? The box offers Ho holds barred action! I played the shit out of this game back when it came out. This was the last wrestling game I got until Raw came out in 1998 and let me tell you I played it right up until that day. Me and this game have a history. So I threw the game on for the first time in many many years and the very first thought that came through my head was, “The opening has the same beginning as the Duck Tales theme song.”


Ric Flair has one intense "O" face

I figured it would be fun to start things off with a one on one exhibition match. That way I could get use to the gameplay again. Royal Rumble has a pretty small selection of wrestlers compared to modern games. There's only 12. Compare that to something like a Fire Pro Wrestling game which has approximately 900 wrestlers. Unlike a Fire Pro Wrestling game however there are more then five wrestlers here you will actually recognize. We've got Ric Flair, Macho Man, Shawn Michaels, Undertake, Bret Hart, the list of super stars goes on and on. Even people who were fairly minor at the time like The Narcissist Lex Luger or Razor Ramone are wrestlers who went on to do great things and bankrupt WCW. The only scrubs are Crush and Tatanka and even Tatanka was pretty hot at the time. He was popular with fans and had a two year long unpinned streak. Its like a winning streak but he still lost to count outs and submissions. He just didn't get pinned. Crush was and still is a huge loser but he had a sweet theme song.

So lets see, for my first match in years I'm going to pick Macho Man Randy Savage because he dresses like he's insane and boinked Stephanie McMahan when she was 15. My opponent is going to be Crush because he's the biggest scrub on the roster.

All the wrestlers have the same moves. You can punch, kick and grapple your opponent. Grappling is really annoying. When you grapple meter appears above your head. By pounding buttons you get your side of the meter to fill, meanwhile your opponent is doing the same. You can't do a move until the meter is filled enough and if your opponent is hitting buttons it drains your side to fill his and vice versa. If you're playing two player then the meter never fucking moves anywhere and the two of you sit there hitting the buttons until somebody's thumb slips or you both pass out.


Flying elbow smash bitches

The only unique move a wrestler has is his finisher. To use a wrestler's finishing move you get the opponent's health into the red, set up the situation for that wrestler's specific move, then press R. . For some like Macho Man Randy Savage you have to go to the top rope with your opponent on the ground and press R. Others like Shawn Michaels require you to stand behind a groggy opponent and press R. Some like Razor Ramone require you to grapple an opponent, fill the grapple meter, and then press R, this is a bitch to do. I wouldn't recommend ever playing as Razor Ramone.

There are four modes in the game, One on One, Tag Team, Triple Tag Team and Royal Rumble.
Aside from Royal Rumble you can also choose if it will be a one fall or a brawl. The difference is that in a one fall match you pin your opponent while in a brawl the match ends when you empty your opponents energy. If you're skilled you can end the match with a special move and make it look like you made your opponent submit with the Sharpshooter for example. This is special because in one fall there are no submissions. You can do the sharpshooter all day but your opponent just keeps getting out of it, unless you're Shawn Michaels and do the sharpshooter to Bret in which case you immediately win.

One on One and Tag Team also have the options to compete in a tournament. The tournament is just a series of matches which ultimately ends with you winning the championship belt. These matches are no different from a singles match except you have to beat everybody in the game before you're finished. Tag team is better then singles since the tag team tournament has half as many matches.

The Royal Rumble is the star of the game. It's pretty fun for some reason. Sure you're using the same crappy controls as you use for the rest of the game but it's strangely manic, with six superstars at a time going at it in the ring. They say in the Royal Rumble there are no friends, and I can tell you it is certainly true here seeing as how even if you wanted to team up with them. The game pretty much just has you changing targets at random so nobody around you is safe, even if you aren't trying to hit them.

The computer sucks at the Royal Rumble. There's like a one in a million chance of actually getting thrown out. Chances are you will throw all but one person out yourself. Good I say, I'm tired of AI getting all the fucking glory just because I'm bad at video games.

Rating

Graphics: 5/10

There aren't a whole lot of things in the game. There's the wrestlers and the ring and that's it. It seems like they just got lazy and didn't put a whole lot of effort into the details as they could have. For example:

That is the title screen. What the fuck am I looking at? I'm in an arena I guess, but why am I so high up? I can't even see the ring. In fact I don't even know if I'm at a wrestling event, this could just be a Guns N Roses concert circa 1992. It's in black and white and Guns N Roses videos love to show concert footage in black and white so it's not too far fetched.

Another thing is the wrestlers are all the same size. Ric Flair is just as muscular as Lex Luger. Lex Luger in real life is huge and Ric Flair is not. They already made a fat body model for Yokozuna, they couldn't make another one so everybody else doesn't look like He-Man?

They are all the same size as well. The Undertaker isn't nearly as scary when he's of average height. That just makes him look like an asshole goth. Yeah, sure it's the Super Nintendo so I shouldn't be asking for anything to wild but like I said, aside there aren't a lot of graphics in the game. There is one ring, so once they got that out of the way all they had to do was make the wrestlers. I refuse to believe it was impossible to make people a little taller or skinnier.

I don't know, maybe they were to busy making sure audience members were dressed like Hulk Hogan despite the fact that Hulk Hogan isn't in the game.

Gameplay: 3/10

I want to give the gameplay a higher score, I really do. Here's the problem though, it sucks balls. Everybody has the same moves, doing a grapple on a higher difficulty or against a human is pointless, and aside from the Royal Rumble all the game modes are basically the same thing. There's no variation. Pro Wrestling on the Nintendo at least had unique move sets including one that let you bit people in the face. I expect better from the Super Nintendo.

Music: 2/10

Like I said before, the opening song is similar to the Duck Tales theme, at least for the first second. There are also midi versions of all the wrestler's theme songs which is cool since I enjoy midi versions of songs. Trouble is during the matches, when you'll be spending 90% of the game, there is no music. Maybe they thought music would take away from me being able to hear my wrestler grunt while being kicked in the gut but you know what? Not having music in a game gets really annoying. The next time you play Mario Bros or Tetris or a fun game mute the tv. It gets boring. This isn't Silent Hill, not having music doesn't add to the atmosphere, all it adds to is me wanting to play a game that isn't practically silent.

Funness: 8/10

I know did nothing but complain about how bad the game was in all these other sections but damn it its fun for some reason. Maybe it's the nostalgia, or the slight carbon monoxide leak in my apartment but man, I just can't stop having Royal Rumbles

In Summery

I wanted an excuse to play Royal Rumble again. I like wrestling and I like video games and combining them is like combining chocolate and bananas for a person who really likes chocolate and bananas although in this case the bananas are smooshy and brown and the chocolate is 15 years old. It works and is even satisfying for the first few bites but by the end you feel disgusting and are more then willing to return to things that are a little more modern.

Hints and Tricks

There aren't any stats, so you don't have to worry about a particular wrestler being worse then any others, except for Crush. Crush sucks balls.

If you pick up the chair outside the ring the computer opponent will enter the ring. You cannot enter the ring while holding the chair but you can put it down and stand next to it. The computer opponent isn't programmed well enough to realize that you are standing next to the chair. As he is rolling out of the ring pick up the chair and hit him with it.

Punching is very effective in two player mode, especially if you punch the controller out of your opponent's hands.

Pressing L or R on the controller during the character select screen makes the background move around, slower or faster depending on which button you press. You can also somehow use this to be able to select the same player twice but I don't remember how to do it. Look it up yourself douchebag.

Not many people know that the Revive materia can be leveled up past 3 stars. There is a secret 4th star which holds an ability named resurrect. To get this ability, you must earn somewhere between 800,000 and 1,500,000 AP. There is a catch though. You MUST have the Buster Sword equipped and the Revive materia fastened to it before you can gain AP for it. When you have the Resurrect ability, visit Owen Hart's House in Sector 5 of Midgar. Go into her room (the one on the right) and use the 4 tissues. Cloud should break down and shout "Why did you have to die?" Cloud will then go outside and tell the others his desire to bring back Owen Hart. The will be doubtful at first but will eventually agree. Once Cloud has regained his composure, go to the Church in sector 4. Make sure Cait Sith is in your party, then talk to the kid on the right. She will want to play with Cait Sith (seeing as he is a cat!) and they will all go outside. Owen Hart's spirit should appear in the flowers telling you about the Resurrect Spell and to go to the Forgotten City. This is your next destination. Remember the waterfall where you saw Owen Hart pray for Holy? This is where you Cloud will perform the resurrect spell. Go up to the Pedestal and press the OK button. Cloud will put the materia on the altar then kneel and pray. The materia should become an extremely bright orb of light and then shatter into a million pieces. Owen Hart's spirit will now tell you to return to the Church. Now that you have performed the Resurrect Spell, when you see Owen Hart's ghost in the Church, it should become solid. At this moment Owen Hart will say "Don't worry Cloud, it really is me. Maybe now we can do all those things we never finished first time around." And there you have it, Owen Hart is back! Now you can take her on the Highwind just like you promised!