Championship Wrestling
Copyright/Publisher: Epyx, Created By: Richard Ditton, Elaine Ditton, Timothy Skelly, David Thiel
& Lonnie Ropp, Release Year: 1986, Genre: Wrestling, Number Of Players: 1 to 8

Yo' old lady tussles better than you! screams your 295lb opponent. Unperturbed, you yell back, 'Haaarggh! Oooorowrr...KILL!' Did that scare him? We'll just have to wait and see.

Welcome to the world of Championship Wrestling, where rules and competitors are made to be broken, and mercy is the ultimate sign of weakness. Eight completely different opponents, each with their own character and personality, wait to mangle and maim you in the most painful way they can.

Upon loading, an option screen is presented which allows you to select either practice or championship wrestling. Selecting either of these options loads a screen where you can input a name and choose a wrestler. If the practice option is choses you are asked to select another wrestler to battle with, the championship option however, automatically puts you up against the computer opponent, or the other human controlled players if more than one human opponent is playing.

When the wrestlers have been selected, the screen changes to show a view of the ring with a large animated picture of each wrestler's face, along with text underneath each picture revealing the grappler's origin and displaying his motto. The theme tune of each wrestler is played, and once the music is over the contest begins.

The ring is displayed using forced perspective 3D with the wrestlers beginning their bout facing each other in the centre of the screen, rather than from the corners in more traditional fashion. The bout is three minutes long and to win you must pin your opponent's shoulder blades to the canvas for three seconds, if neither player achieves this, then the wrestler could lift his opponents in preparation for a body slam, pile driver or even an aeroplane spin, and then throw him - perhaps out of the ring if the move is timed correctly.

There are other moves too: a wrestler can use the ropes to whizz him across the screen; jump onto the corner posts and then leap upon the opponent; punch out of a strong headlock grip or use the custom move, a specialised personal move which every wrestler has.

Each wrestler has a strength gauge, shown at the top of the screen as a bar which shrinks as the wrestlers get knocked about. If a wrestler is knocked down or pinned when his energy is low there's less chance of him getting up again, so softening up an opponent with a series of kicks and punces before actually going in for a grapple seems a sensible tactic.

The onlooking crowd is very fickle and they react to your performance as they see fit - if they think you're being boring you'll get a slow hand clap, and perhaps even worse. On the other hand, excite them and they'll cheer you on! As moves are completed, a score is given which the game keeps track of, and on the disk version there's a high-score table which automatically saves out good scores.

Julian Rignall
This is great fun, miles better than the other wrestling game on the market. The whole program is extremely well presented, from the very beginning when you get the superb character pictures, to the way the movements can be accessed from the joystick. The wrestlers are extremely well drawn with great use of colour, and they're very well animated too.

The game plays well, but I must say I was a little disappointed at the multi-player option, it would have been nice to have the computer opponents included in the competition. The other niggle is that a round only lasts three minutes and it can all end with one pin - it should have been the best of three pins, making each bout last much longer. It's a shame that the cassette version will be multi-load. Still, it's great fun, takes a little time to master and a is a nice departure from the regular beat em up style games already on the market.

Gary Penn
This alternative beat'em up is certainly better than Rock'n'Wrestle. In fact it drops on Rock'n'Wrestle from a considerable height. Championship Wrestling is great fun and offers a significant challenge with eight increasingly difficult computer opponents and the option of two player bouts. However, like many recent American release Championship Wrestling is multi-load, so the cassette version may well prove painful. Look before you leap.

INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 82%
Informative instructions, excellent use of joystick and slick ingame presentation. Annoying multi-load.
GRAPHICS 81%
Superb use of colour and the sprites are well animated
SOUND 88%
Eight different theme tunes and suitable spot FX.
HOOKABILITY 80%
The variety of movements take a bit of getting use to, but apart from that the game is very enjoyable to play.
LASTABILITY 76%
Eight different wrestlers to master, and there's the multi-player option to add variety.
VALUE 75%
Not cheap, but there's plenty of action on offer for prospective binary grapplers.
OVERALL 80%
An entertaining wrestling game which works well. Give it a whirl if you're into fighting games.


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