Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 07/10/01 | Updated: 07/10/01

This is EXTREME. Or not, in this case.

ECW Hardcore Revolution was released on February 17, 2000 for the Nintendo 64. ECW:HR was developed and published by Acclaim; it is also the first ECW game ever made. ECW:HR contains quite a few modes of play, including the all-new barb wire mode. ECW: HR features a roster of ECW legends such as Raven, Taz, Rob Van Dam, and Tommy Dreamer. Newer ECW sensations such as Rhno, Tajiri, Super Crazy Roadkill, Danny Doring, and Simon Diamond are also in the game. ECW: HR is, for all intents and purposes, WWF Attitude 1.5. The graphics, control, some of the sound effects (mainly crowd noises), and even the entrances. Super Crazy has Gangrel’s flaming entrance, great job Acclaim, don’t people usually test these games to make sure that stuff like this doesn’t happen?

Well, let’s get the good parts about the graphics squared away. The characters look just like their real-life counterparts and most of their trademark moves look great (Raven’s Evenflow DDT is a great example of this, the animation for it is quite fluid.}. Unfortunately, some of them have questionable animation Tommy Dreamer’s Dreamer Driver comes to mind) The animation on a whole is questionable though, some basic moves look great (the belly-to-belly suplexes), while others look strange (the Sleeper Hold), collision detection is also a flaw, it is very loose and makes some moves look horrible (the Cobra Clutch is an example of this, your character’s arms go right through you opponent’s head). Then we get to the crowd, well, they’re pretty active, but they look like paper cutouts, it can be quite distracting when the camera pans and you see a sea of cardboard. Also, the entrances, while most of them, most notably Tommy Dreamer’s, look great and animate realistically, some don’t, like Danny Doring’s entrance, and some of them are embarassments to gaming, like Super Crazy’s entrance. Overall, the collision detection and animation problems knock the graphics down a few notches.

The sound is, for the most part, great. The commentary by Joey Styles is pretty witty and is very amusing. The sound effects are well done (especially the weapon effects, each one matches the weapon perfectly.) The only real downside is the theme music (this isn’t really a fault of the game, ECW uses commercially-released music for most of their wreslters, they don’t make it themselves, this means that in order to get the real music in the game, Acclaim would have had to pay a ton of money for royalties, this isn’t a practical cost in game design, so they had to make sound-alikes for the wrestler themes. Some of them sound perfect (Tommy Dreamer’s theme, Simon Diamond’s theme, and Taz's theme, which sounds amazingly close to ''War Machine'' the actual song by KISS that Taz used in ECW), while others sound horrible (Francine’s theme and Justin Credible’s), there is one exemption from this rule, Rhino has his actual theme song, which was a custom-made song. The entrance music plays a huge role in the game’s CAW, or lack of it. There are only about nine songs in the CAW, three of them are the same song (the FBI has the same music and they take up about a third of the CAW.

There is a ton of stuff to do, you have many options available to you. You can go through a virtual career with any one of the over 40 ECW superstars included in this game. There is a lumberjack match mode in which you face a wrestler with two people on the outside of the ring; their job is to throw you back in the ring, but they will take cheap shots at you (I love that, it’s just like a real lumberjack match.} There is also a handicap match mode which pits one wrestler against two, or maybe even three adversaries. These matches are tough to win, so only try them if you are experienced at the game. There is a three-way dance mode (an ECW trademark matchin which all wrestlers must be pinned in order for someone to win), a triple threat match mode (identical to three-way dance except only one person needs to lose), and a four-way dance mode (identical to three-way dance, only with another wrestler.) There is a create a wrestler mode that allows you to, shockingly enough, create your own wrestler and allow your imagination to go wild.. There is also a Create a PPV mode that allows you to have your own wrestling event, do you have a favorite PPV that you’d like to recreate? Go ahead make it, you can customize the arena and make your own wrestlers for it. New to ECW: HR is the barb wire match, in this match barbed wire replaces the ring ropes. If you are thrown into the ropes, you bleed.
Pretty simple match, the barb wire knocks a ton of life off of you, so be sure not to run into it. Too bad the sloppy, sluggish game engine really doesn’t do justice to any of the modes in the game.

Moves are done through a series of D-Pad movements and button presses. This kind of makes the control a mixed bag, on one hand, you can chain moves together well, but on the other, it’s far too unresponsive to do much more than that. Many basic things like climbing the turnbuckle are far too difficult because of the sluggishness of the control scheme. The good news is the rest of the game aspects control well, most of the more advanced moves are easy to do (including finishers.)

Man oh man, this game does have some tough modes. On any difficulty you are put through hell in two-on-one and three-on-one handicap matches matches. These are near to nigh impossible to win. The AI is very cheap in these making it a chore just to get through the match. The same can be said for the lumberjack match, the lumberjacks are more than willing to pull you out to the floor and, as the late Rick Rude once said, ''Give you the ass kicking of a limetime.''

This game has a ton of replay value, beating the career mode in certain situations unlocks secrets such as secret characters and various comedy modes. You can also create your own wrestlers. This feature alone should keep you occupied for hours on end. For wrestling fans, this game has a ton of replay value.

ECW: HR is pretty decent presentation-wise. The menus look decent enough, and they are easy to navigate through. Barb wire adorns all of the menus for that “extreme” feel. The graphical problems knock down the presentation a bit though.

This game is a huge disappointment because it’s nothing more than a poory done remix of WWF Attitude. Granted, the game is still above-average by default, but so much more could have been done, it's sad really. This is, by far, the worst N64 wrestling game out there. WWF Wrestlemania 2000, a game released three months before this one, trounces it in nearly every way. The graphics would have been great if the collision problems and shoddy animation had been fixed. The control is decent enough, it’s a bit too sluggish for my tastes, but it’s not too bad. The sound is one of the game’s biggest dissapointments. Although I definitely got what I expected. I expected a rehash of WWF Attitude, after all, Acclaim only had about five months to make the game, and that’s what I got. I feel sorry for Acclaim though, it seems like they really wanted to do a better job, but time constraints put a damper to their plans.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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