Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 08/29/00 | Updated: 08/29/00

A great wrestling game with a few serious flaws.

ECW Anarchy Rulz was just released in August of 2000 for the Sony Playstation; it was developed and published by Acclaim. This is the sequel to ECW Hardcore Revolution which was released in February of 2000. Many wrestling fans wondered if this game would succeed were ECW HR failed; they wondered if it would fix the control problems that have plagued games that have used this engine, and most importantly, they wondered if it would capture the spirit of ECW. I’m happy to report that this game captures ECW’s spirit better than any game so far, it’s not perfect, but it succeeds were it needs to and that’s what counts. I will score this game based on other Playstation wrestling games, not on games on other systems.

Graphics-8/10- For the most part the graphics in this game are great, the characters look just like their real-life counterparts and most of their trademark moves look great, some have questionable animation (Tommy Dreamer’s Dreamer Driver comes to mind), and others have perfect animation (Nova’s Kryptonite Krunch shows this.) 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 (Crippler) Crossface is an example of this, your characters arm goes through you opponent’s head), overall the collision detection and animation problems knock my score down a couple of notches.

Sound-8/10- The sound is great, the commentary 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, 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, Simon Diamond’s and the opening of the Sandman’s theme), while others sound horrible (Francine’s theme and Justin Credible’s), there is one exception to the sound-alikes, Rhino has his real there in the game.

Gameplay-8/10- There is a ton of stuff to do, you have many options available to you, you can have a Dumpster match (you win when you throw your opponent in the dumpster), a Brimstone match (A.K.A. Inferno match) you throw your opponent(s) into the lava to win, you can have a barbed wire match, it’s a regular match except the ropes are now barbed wire, if you throw your opponent into it they will bleed, you can have a Table match, it’s a regular match, except there are 4 tables outside the ring for you to slam your opponent through, Acclaim also added a Backlot Brawl match, you and your opponent(s) fight in a backlot, you can use all kinks of weapons and can climb a fence an jump on you your opponent, you can also throw them into a side of a truck or a door, there’s a ton of things to do in this mode, the same thing applies to the Rage in the Cage mode, it’s you and your opponent(s) in a UFC-style cage that takes up most of the arena, needless to say, you have a ton of room to move around and tons of ways to hurt your opponent. There is also a Create-a-Wrestler mode which allows you to make your own wrestler, a Create-a-Stable mode which allows you to make a stable, name it, give it music, and pick a symbol for it, and a Create-a-PPV mode, this 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.

Control-7/10- The control is a mixed bag, Acclaim simplified it, but it’s still too unresponsive, basic things like climbing the turnbuckle are far too difficult because of the sluggishness of the control. The good news is the rest of the game control well, most of the moves are easy to do (including finishers).

Replay Value-10/10- 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. For wrestling fans, this game has a ton of replay value.

Presentation-9/10- Everything fits ECW perfectly, from the chairs, to the tables, to the barbed wire.

Overall-8/10- Almost everything is this game is great, if you’re a fan of wrestling, go out and buy this game

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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