Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 03/04/02 | Updated: 03/06/02

A game with DDP is most definitely a GOOD THING.

WCW vs. NWO: World Tour was released in late 1997 for the Nintendo 64. The game was developed by Aki, a development team that went on to create the critically-acclaimed WCW/NWO Revenge, as well as WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy. This was their second wrestling game to see a U.S. release. Their first, WCW vs. the World, saw an early 1997 release on the Sony PlayStation. WCW vs. the World was the first game to incorporate their now-famous game engine. This is the second game to use a version of, this game features the first revised version of the engine. Asmik has gained a claim to fame by raising the standards for wrestling games, then topping the standards they created. With each new wrestling game they created, they tweaked the engine to do things no one would have ever thought possible. It is, at times, hard to believe that all of their success is due to this game's fantastic game engine.

WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, much like WCW vs. the World before it, features an international roster of wrestling's greatest stars. Also, just like WCW vs. the World, these stars go under different names to avoid legal problems. Nonetheless, the game features some of the biggest international wrestling stars in the last decade. High-flyers like Hayabusa TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo, Men's Teioh, and the Great Sasuke litter the roster landscape of the game. These high-flyers have been done justice thanks to the game's refined high-flying game engine that makes aerial moves even more user-friendly to pull off. Technical wrestlers featured in the game, such as ''The Canadian Crippler'' Chris Benoit, Lord Steven Regal (now William Regal,) and ''The Nature Boy'' Ric Flair are given their just desserts thanks to the game's increased use of wrestling psychology that allows their in-game characters to further replicate the wrestlers they're based on.

On top of all of the international stars in the game's roster, the WCW/NWO roster has seen significant improvements from the last game. In WCW vs. the World, a paltry selection of only 13 WCW/NWO wrestlers were selectable in the game. Now, over 20 WCW/NWO wrestlers are featured. This game adds in such glaring omissions from vs. the World as ''Diamond'' Dallas Page (or DDP for short,) ''The Macho Man'' Randy Savage, Wrath (now Bryan Clark, one half of Kronic), and Marcus Alexander Bagwell (or Buff Bagwell if you prefer), and NWO Sting (now Super J in New Japan Pro Wrestling.) This added roster depth does wonders towards extending the game's replay value, and it helps to cement the ''WCW'' feel in the game. Meaning, this game actually feels like a WCW game, despite the fact that it too, much like vs. the World before it, is not a generic wrestling game in WCW clothing. The fact that Aki was able to make this game feel like a WCW game, despite it's international roots, speaks volumes on their capabilities as game designers.

WCW vs. NWO: World Tour features a smooth, intuitive gameplay engine that does an incredible job of giving each wrestling style in the game their just desserts. High-flying wrestlers, such as the Ultimo Dragon, are represented well due to the plethora of aerial attacks featured in the game. Everything from the top-rope hurracanrana, to the Asai moonsault, a move named after the Ultimo Dragon, is included in the game. Technical wrestlers, such as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and “The Canadian Crippler” Chris Benoit are represented just as well as the high-flying cruiserweights, perhaps even moreso. The nature of their styles, specifically the submission aspects of their styles, compliments the realistic aspects of wrestling that the game covers. The scientific nature of their moves, especially those that wear down body parts, are shown off wondrously because the game reflects the damage done to body parts.

For example, if you play as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and you attack the legs in order to set your opponent up for his finisher, the figure-four leg lock, you’ll stand a better chance at attaining victory than if you hadn’t attacked the legs at all. This game does an even better job of emphasizing the psychological aspects of professional wrestling than WCW vs. the World did. Before, a wrestler who has had his leg worked over will have to be cautious when attempting to execute attacks that can be countered into moves that will further damage his already injured leg. If he isn’t careful, he will risk damaging the limb further, and risk losing the match as a result. This ideal has been furthered in this game. Now, if you attack a leg, for example, your wrestler will move slower than usual, on top of risking even more damage. The game’s attention to psychological details doesn’t stop there; they continue on with arm, neck, and back damage; much the same way as in leg damage.

WCW. vs. NWO: World Tour features even more modes than WCW vs. the World. Every mode from that game, from the one-on-one match, to the championship mode, has been brought back. The only mode that didn’t make the cut was the revolutionary create-a-belt mode. However, in the absence of that mode, two modes have been added. A new round robin tournament mode that feature cumulative damage for the competitors, meaning, damage you sustain in one match will carry over to the next. This mode adds an element of tension and excitement to the game, especially when it ends up with the deck being stacked towards one side. In addition to this mode, a tag team mode has been added to the fray. With this mode, you can create five-star tag team matches akin to the glory days of the Rock and Roll Express, that is, if you know your way around the ring, and make use of every in-ring tool the game provides you.

The controls in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour are smooth and intuitive, just like those in WCW. vs. the World. Each and every move can be done easily each and every time you attempt it. This is one wrestling game with a control scheme that works with the player, not against it like some other wrestling games on the market.

The graphics in the game are a mixed bag, just like they were in WCW vs. the World, and are one of the worst aspects of the game. However, despite their faults, they are satisfactory. The characters’ bodies, particularly the faces, lack detail. This causes them to look bland, almost generic. Thankfully, the outfits on all of the characters are pack with details. Little things, such as an NWO logo on a T-shirt, can be made out perfectly. The character movement and move animation are great. They are very life-like and add another layer of realism to the game.

The sound in the game is, without a doubt, the worst aspect of the game. There is no theme music for any of the wrestlers in the game, while I can understand this being the case for non-WCW wrestlers, there is no excuse for it with the WCW wrestlers. The in-game music, as well as the menu music, is uninspired and adds nothing to the game. It just serves to take up space.

The replay value of WCW vs. NWO: World Tour is sky-high. The addictive, reality-based gameplay will keep you hooked; as will the exciting round robin mode. The game’s diverse roster enables you to have dream matches you would have never thought about ever seeing in real life. Want to see Hayabusa take on Rey Mysterio Jr.? It’s possible with this game. As are many other dream matches.

Overall, WCW vs. NWO: World Tour is one of the finest wrestling games on the N64. The gameplay is some of the most addictive I’ve ever played, and the controls are great. The graphics and sound are the game’s only real downfalls. Thankfully, these downfalls don’t detract too much from the overall experience of playing the game. This game can now be found for about $5, so give it a shot.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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