WWF Road to
System: Game Boy Advance
Released: November 2001
Genre: Pro Wrestling
Capabilities: GBA Game Link Compatible, Passwords for Saving
Review Written: December 13, 2001
WWF Road to Wrestlemania is the second wrestling game for the Game Boy Advance in North America. The other wrestling game is Fire Pro Wrestling, which got many rave reviews. This game is developed by Natsume, the same people who developed the GB Color version of Wrestlemania 2000. So did Natsume take advantage of the GBA's upgrades in their first wrestling game outing on this platform? Let's get onto the review and find out.
Usually the graphics for most wrestling games on portable systems is not the greatest, and you think with the theory of working on a more powerful platform that things should get better, right? Well, unfortunately, that is not the case here. All the wrestlers have the same height and body shape appearence in the heat of action. And as for the designs of the wrestlers, only about half of them barely resemble their real life counterparts. Like The Undertaker is just one Black blob. The wrestling arena and crowd are well done though, and are probably the highlight of the graphics department. The simple moves you see performed in this game like a body slam or suplex, only have a few simple frames of animation and barely resemble what they look like on television. The game does add some neat things like a pretty real looking digitized photo of all 24 wrestlers in the game. Plus mini Titan Tron videos that play before the wrestlers walk out like they do in No Mercy for N64.
Usual scenario is most portable games have horrible music, and even though things are starting to improve with the technology of the Game Boy Advance, things are just way too bad in WWF Road to Wrestlemania to justify that statement. For background music all we have is just one crappy rock tune during matches that we get to here again and again. All the punches, holds, and slams are represented with simple beeps. We do get a little bit of speech from the referee though as he counts pins and calls submissions. On the up side, for the first time in a WWF portable game since WWF RAW in 1994 we get to hear the actual theme music. And most of them sound pretty darn good too.
The controls for this game leave something to be desired. For the main grappling system they take a page out of Fire Pro Wrestling's book where you have to take a pause after initiating a grapple to enter the button combination to do a move. That may sound all fine and dandy, but too bad your move list is limited to about four moves. And all your moves are for the most part are a body slam, a suplex, and and a simple eye rake. You still have all your standard turnbuckle and running moves, and you can perform the wrestlers signature moves in here by pressing A and B at the same time when two of the three bars on your adrenaline meter fill up. Yes, that horrible life meter from the GBC version of Wrestlemania 2000 is back and it makes playing the game horrible.
The game does have a good amount of modes of play. We have your basic exhibition match ups which consist of your simple bouts of single, tag team, handicap, and triple threat matches. Then we move onto the gimmick matches where we have the standard Cage Match, and for the first time on portable wrestling games, the Royal Rumble where all 24 wrestlers in the game need to be tossed out of the ring to decide a winner. The King of the Ring tournament is also here as well where up to eight wrestlers can compete in an elimination style tournament. Gauntlet mode is here where you can see how many superstars you can defeat straight with just one life.
The game's main story mode is the Road to Wrestlemania, which plays exactly like the same named mode in the N64 version of Wrestlemania 2000 where you go through 52 weeks of a full calendar year of matches and Pay-Per-View's, complete with storylines, as you work your way up to the main PPV, Wrestlemania. The game only has one creation mode, and that is create-a-ppv where you can creat your own card and add as many matches as you want. Too bad there isn't a create a wrestler, because the game really could of used one considering it only has a roster of 24 guys. Yes, this is only a portable game, but on a brand new platform, so expectations are higher. Also worth mentioning is that Fire Pro Wrestling even has a edit wrestler option, even though it has a near 200-man roster.
The game is GBA Link Cable compatible where up to four players can play to heat up the action. And yes, multi player is usually where most the fun is in portable wrestling games. The main Road to Wrestlemania mode is pretty fun to play through and will take a long time to beat for the solo gamer playing through it. The Gauntlet and PPV modes will also add some replay, but I'm not too sure what most gamers will think after they find out there is only 24 wrestlers with no create-a-wrestler mode. Even though this is the highest amount of wrestlers in a WWF Licensed game on a portable system (the old record use to be 20 in the GB Color version of WWF Attitude).
+: Lots of game modes to play in, Actual Entrances complete with official theme music, Up to four players can compete
-: No create-a-wrestler, Wrestlers look horrible, Limited moves and adrenaline meter makes the controls bizarre and confusing
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 4.8
Replay Value: 4.2
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 4
I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed with this wrestling game. Funny to see how Natsume actually took a step back from its last wrestling portable wrestling game, Wrestlemania 2000 for GB Color, which turned out to be better than this. The game does add a few new interesting things like theme music, and plenty of new modes of play, but it doesn't match up to the horrible controls and graphics for this game. You'd be better off getting Fire Pro Wrestling for Game Boy Advance instead.
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