WWF Wrestlemania
Copyright/Publisher: Ocean, Music: Sean Conran, Programming, Graphics & Design By:
Twilight, Release Year: 1991, Genre: Wrestling, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Remember Saturday afternoons sat in front of the telly, watching big, hulking hairy fellas flinging each other round a (square) ring pretending to hurt each other? Corky gets in the ring to see if Ocean have caught the thrills of the hammiest sport in the world!

Oh the joys of wrestling! The blood, the sweat, the tears... the brightly coloured underpants! Fun for all the familt, to be sure! What a tragedy when they went and axed if from ITV. So unless you've got satellite TV (and let's face it, only forty-five people have!), your only chance to see those beefy brutes battling it out is in World Wrestling Federation, the game.

Your goal in WWF is to win the Wrestlemania Belt, a tough task indeed as you'll have to compete against five of the meanest, obscenest wrestlers around. There's Mr Perfect, who's into showing off just a bit whilst performing his Perfect Plex manoeuvre.

The Warlord is rather nifty at Full Nelsons, the Million Dollar Man certainly works for his money with the odd Back Breaker or three. The Mountie enjoys dishing out Drop Headlocks (ouch!) and Sergeant Slaughter is sure to give you the hump with his Camel Clutch!

You have at your disposal the notorious Hulk Hogan, decked out in yellow panties, the Ultimate Warrior, who knows all there is to know about giving his opponnets a good old Gorilla Press, and British Bulldog, whose fetish lies in Power Slamming!

Choose one of the three and get ready to slog your guts out in a big way. But before you commence with biffing and bashing, there's a two-player practice mode, just to toughen you up a bit - and by golly you're gonna need it!

Each wrestler has a strength indicator, displayed at the side of the screen. This determines how quickly he can recover from being knocked to the floor, or how fast he can throw off the lump of lard who's pinning him down!

Each match lasts a maximum of five minutes and can be won by pinning your opponent to the canvas for three seconds. That's not as easy as it sounds: unless your opponent has had his energy reduced to zero he'll be able to shrug you off by hammering the fire button.

You can execute a varied array of moves with combinations of fire and a direction. Each individual wrestler has his own aforementioned special move, along with the usual punch, kick and drop kick manoeuvres. Whilst running, you can carry out the Flying Knee or Flying Kick strategy.

If things are getting a little hectic in the ring, you can climb the posts and perform tricky leaps from there, or leave the ring and bettle it put on the floor - but don't take too long, after twenty seconds you're disqualified.

Whilst things are hotting up in the ring various icons appear in the lower part of the screen. The finger icon instructs you to press the fire button as quickly as you can to ensure your wrestler gets up in time. The joystick icon appears when you're haveing a good old grapple.

Waggle the stick at great speed to increase your grapple strength (shown by a rising bar at the side of the icon). The first player to reach maximum grapple performs his own special move on his opponent.

If there's not an outright winner at the end of five minutes, the match is declared a draw and your challenge for Belt is over. If on the other hand you manage to show the world what you're made of, it's on to wrestle another hulking hero. Extra large torso, extra large ego, extra large panties!

After playing WWF on several machines I can honestly declate the Commodore version is the best I've seen to date. The characters are really quite large, well detailed, nicely animated and flicker free. There's not much to look at on screen apart from the ring and the wrestlers, but a least things are tidy and you can see what's going on.

Sound isn't quite so impressive, after a decent intro tune you're reduced to spot FX once in the ring. Playability is high though, the various moves are fairly challenging and keep you on your toes. It's not just a case of waggling the joystick, pressing the fire button and hoping for the best.

The manoeuvres can be executed really well with a bit of patience. I especially like climbing the ropes for superjumps, but watch out for getting caught in endless grapples. Umpteen times I've had someone half-dead only for them to come back, trap me in a corner and execute grapple after grapple.

Once they're so close to being eliminated they really get their blood up and there's no way you can waggle to victory in grapple, not unless you're prepared to reduce your hands to raw flesh! But this means you can't rely on one simple move to be victorious.

I enjoyed WWF, it brings the animal out in ya! There was a hell of a lot of gruntin! and groanin! going on in ZZAP! Towers when this arrived in the office and that's before we'd even got the game out of the box! A must for grapple fans everywhere!

?.?.
I have to admit I thought this was going to be my least favourite of Ocean's Xmas line-up. Nevertheless WWF has turned out to be a real winner and possibly the most fun game this month.

It opens with searchlights playing over a crowd, a simple programming gimmick which nevertheless looks good, as do some finely drawn character pics.on the selection screen and interlevel challenge screen, where hilarious insults are made!

The actual game isn't quite so glossy; the icons flashing at the bottom of the screen are neat, but the ring is a bit spartan and the characters aren't that slick. However the important things are there, the characters are well animated, move quickly and there's lots of moves to master.

Two-player mode is hysterically funny with frantic joystick waggling in the grapples, followed up by the victor jumping on the other guy's stomach. Be careful though! - grappling is dangerous, especially against computer players, so it's wise to practise the drop kicks, punches, rope drops and so on.

Eventually the five opponents should be bested, which raises the question of why not a league for more long-term play, but if you've got a friend to challenge then this doesn't matter. WWF is a fun and original beat-'em-up well worth giving a fling!


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 87%
Neat intro and interlevel 'insult' screens. Each of the five levels is a multiload, but three continue-plays ease the pain. There's also a choice of three characters to control, and two-player 'practice mode'..
GRAPHICS 84%
The wrestlers aren't incredibly impressively static, but are speedy and well-animted through a wide variety of special moves.
SOUND 78%
Good intro music, basic thumping spot FX in-game.
HOOKABILITY 91%
First opponent is push-over making for quick addiction.
LASTABILITY 88%
Five opponents aren't that many, but you've got three different characters to master, each with their own unique moves, plus a great two-player mode.
OVERALL 90%
Top-notch beat-'em-up action!


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