Review by horror_spooky
Austin 3:16 says...
It's no secret that I am a big fan of professional wrestling. I live and breathe the stuff, and thanks to the WWE Network, I am sort of on a retro kick for pro wrestling. This has led me to seek out some classic retro WWF games, such as WWF King of the Ring on the NES, the last major wrestling game released for Nintendo's little grey box.
WWF King of the Ring has a few different game modes. You can do a singles match, a tag team match (not recommended), or tournaments, either in the form of King of the Ring (basically like a fighting game's arcade mode) or just a generic tournament where a second player can join in on the fun as well along with the CPU-controlled enemies.
I was impressed with the amount of game modes available as well as the roster. There's 11 wrestlers to choose from. Instead of padding the roster with a bunch of no-name talent, just the biggest and the best of the WWF at the time of the game's release (1993) are included on the playable roster. This list includes the likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Lex Luger, and others.
Even more impressive are the graphics. The wrestlers all look true to life, and the animations for the wrestling moves are extremely impressive given the hardware. The ring looks great and the animations are all good across the board. The audio is also on point. Overall, the game's presentation is very well done.
Where I have problems is with the core gameplay. Unfortunately, there are some fundamental flaws here that hold this otherwise pretty good wrestling game back. For one, there is no real character creation system despite the fact that you can choose a wrestler called "You"; all you can do with this guy is adjust his stats. Otherwise he will look exactly the same for everyone, which is not very appealing and kind of a waste of roster space, to be perfectly honest.
Another major issue is that every wrestler has the exact same set of moves. Yes, you read that right. None of the signature moves or finishing moves of the wrestlers are represented in this game. This means that you can't do The Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver or the Sweet Chin Music of Shawn Michaels. Instead you just get to do a bunch of generic slams, elbow drops, and suplexes. Everyone is doing the same thing, which can get old pretty quick.
WWF King of the Ring is more of a fighting game than a "wrestling" game as we'd know it today. The wrestlers have health bars at the bottom of the screen and pretty much your goal is to damage the other wrestler to the point that their health bar is depleted, and then pin them.
I was appreciative of the attention to detail in the game. They even managed to get count outs in as well as other stuff to keep in mind like the potential to get disqualified for your in-game actions.
WWF King of the Ring could've been a classic wrestling game, but it has a couple of fundamental issues that hold it back from greatness. Still, it's a cool little game to play for fans looking for a WWF-fueled nostalgia trip in video game form.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: WWF King of the Ring (US, 11/30/93)
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