In the days of Arcade popularity, you rarely could go to the arcades and find a wrestling title that was appeasing to play. And you certainly would not find a title with WWF/WWE's name on it that was fun. (Wrestlemania Arcade, In Your House Arcade, talk about horror). But before even those, there was perhaps the best wrestling arcade game released in the United States, and that was WWF Wrestlefest.
Smash of Demolition
Crush of Demolition
Hawk of LOD
Animal of LOD
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Wrestlefest boasted 12 of the WWF's current stars, and a very interesting mode of play. 1-4 players had the option to battle it out, and a tag-team could even go through the ranks to win the WWF Tag Team Championship! Or you could just play it single and go for the WWF Championship, that always works too.
Graphics on this game are surprisingly good. In fact, the period this was released (1991) had seen nothing like this as far as US Wrestling games. Yes, they are the cartoonie kind, but remember when this was. Each character was uniquely designed and looked excellent, making it seem like you weren't just playing a skeleton with Ultimate Warrior skin on it.
Controls were about as good as they could have been for this time. You used the typical joystick and had your punch and kick buttons. Different combinations would do different things, but in the era before 18 buttons per player, which sometimes causes me to break my PS2 controllers in half so I can at least run around correctly on Smackdown, the controls were very good.
The gameplay had entrances, and even little side interviews by Mene Gene Okerland. Sometimes, Geneo would do a Prompt Report wrestling news section, to further the story of your character and who you were facing. In essence, it was the first game that had actual depth to storyline, although not much.
Wrestlers also had their own special moves. As seen above, Earthquake is performing his...Earthquake move. My favorite, of course, was the Perfectplex and Hulksters big leg, but Mike is partial to Earthquake due to the oddly accurate resemblence of the two.
The game featured battle royals, and had neat little animations showing who would enter next, like above with the Big Bossman coming down. Also notice the ref stepping on Jake Roberts. Actually, that was just a graphic flog.
If you got low on power, the quick way to solve that was to insert another quarter or two. A nice idea economically, this ensured that the game would be moderately hard for its target audience, so as to grab them Washingtons!
Sound was pretty nice too, decent crowd noises and simulated entrance themes. As good as it could be for this day, as was most of the features about this video game. There was even an announcer introducing the wrestlers (the lady announcer, remember her?) and a guy calling all the moves during the match (Bodyslam! Flying off the top rope!)
Unlike some, I'm not much on handing out good scores unless they are meritted, but Wrestlefest was genuinely fun. If you ever make a game room in your home, and want a wrestling game to put in there, get Wrestlefest, its the best wrestling arcade game that I ever have played, and I give it a 9/10.
[ August 14, 2004, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: The Stanster ]