Review by Bobo The Clown

Reviewed: 04/14/02 | Updated: 04/14/02

WATCHA GONNA DO, When Hulkamania Runs Wild Over You???

WWF Wrestlemania Challenge is the best wrestling game available on the Nintendo Entertainment System. However, saying that is like saying you're the best manure sniffer in the entire country; it's really not that much of an honor, and almost any Joe Shmoe can claim the title with the dearth of decent wrestling games. Nevertheless, Wrestlemania Challenge gets an inflated score due to the weakness of the genre on the system, as well as the fact that it's fun to play for a little bit.

There's only a few different ways to play Wrestlemania Challenge. You can choose a generic character known as Yourself and attempt to fight your way through the federation, until you finally win that elusive championship belt. Or you could select an already established superstar and attempt to do the same thing. Or you can pick two superstars and attempt to win a tag belt. That's about it for gameplay options, but hey, it was a fairly early NES game...

That doesn't excuse the far too simplistic gameplay. Forget about grappling, there's only about four moves in Wrestlemania Challenge. You can try to punch or kick your opponent. Or you can body slam him. Or you can press both buttons at the same time and launch a drop kick. That's it. Sound easy? Well, it is.

Wrestlemania Challenge doesn't take a whole lot of brains to play. In fact, if you choose a strong character, such as Hulk Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior, you can bodyslam your way through the entire circuit without blinking. There's not a ton of fun in that.

However, the strong old school roster is one of Wrestlemania Challenge's strong points. Forget that ''Legends of Wrestling'' crap for the Playstation 2. In this game, you can control legends such as Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Big Bossman in his blue jumpsuit, and Ravishing Rick Rude. What more could you ask for in a game? Honestly...

Well, now that I think about, perhaps some signature moves? Some characters have them, most don't. Hacksaw's three-point stance is well represented, as is Macho Man Randy Savage's elbow from the top rope. Everyone else's classic finisher has been replaced by something that isn't (The Big Boss Man does a belly flop for some reason) or left out completely (Hogan's big boot and legdrop are both missing).

Graphically, Wrestlemania Challenge does get the character models right, a good move indeed. Hogan looks like Hogan, Warrior looks like Warrior, ect ect. None of the moves are visually stunning, or the almost sickeningly bright colors, but it could have been a LOT worse judging by some of the other efforts on the NES.

A nice theme is heard throughout Wrestlemania Challenge. Well, I use the term ''nice'' loosely here; it's nice for about ten minutes, but after playing one championship circuit through, you'll probably want to mute the television. The sound effects are a good mix though. You can hear each slap, and the ''thwack'' of a body hitting the mat hard.

Despite the flaws in the wrestling system, Wrestlemania Challenge is still fun to pick up and play for a spurt or two. However, it's doubtful that you'll get more than thirty minutes of enjoyment out of it. If you want a cheap, older wrestling game, try the far superior ''Royal Rumble'' for the Super Nintendo.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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