WCW vs. NWO: World
System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Asmik/AKI Corporation
Genre: Pro Wrestling
Capabilities: Controller & Rumble Pak Compatible
Here's som pics of the character select screen
and an match of the first, great, N64
wrestling game. Picture Credit(nintendosports.com)
In late 1997, THQ published the first wrestling game in the US for the Nintendo 64. It was also one of the first wrestling games to be developed by Asmik/AKI Corporation, also in late 97 WCW was in its final months of dominating the wrestling wars, before the WWF caught on in April 98, so this game caught the attention of many gamers, would it succeed, and prove to be a very good first generation wrestler on the N64, or, will it prove to be a disaster as an attempt to cash in the WWF license at the time? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Let me start off by saying even though these graphics seem very outdated now, they were superb when this game was released. Most of the moves are animated well, and look fantastic like the splashes from the turnbuckles, the piledrivers, clotheslines, etc. Each wrestler had 4 costumes you can choose from by pressing the left or right C buttons on the wrestler select screen, which had a nice variation between the wrestlers, for example, you could have the gothic Sting costume, or the old face, blond haired, Sting from the early 90's, the same goes for Hogan, you can have his Hollywood gimmick costume, or his Hulkster red and yellow outfit. You had 4 different rings you could wrestle in where back in the first generation of wrestling games, all there was is just the logo in the ring and ring apron, and no fancy decorations, lights, or entrances.
Speaking of entrances, the wrestler introductions werent the greatest in here, but appropriate at the time, where you got a 3-5 second shot of the wrestler in the ring doing his pose, but the game only has about 10-20 authentic poses for some of the in-ring poses in the game, the other half of the wrestlers just raise their arms in the air for the in-ring pose. Nothing special, but at least it added to the presentation to the game. All the wrestlers do 2 poses in the ring, most of them have their own, unique, poses, like Syxx doing the DX crotch chop, and DDP doing his bang sign, etc. Most of the faces of the wrestlers in the game look nothing like their real life counterparts, for example, take a good look at Ric Flairs and Pages faces in the game, and compare them to the real thing. Also the game does have major slowdown when up to 4 players are playing the game, this does get frustrating, but the game was so fun to play, that the flaws were forgivable.
Generic rock, guitar music is what you get in the backgrounds, it sounds alright, but gets in the way of action, thankfully you have the option of turning it off during game play. The sound effects are somewhat cheesy, every time a wrestler does a move they let out a faint oooh or waa, which gets to be really annoying and tedious, but all the kicks, drops, punches and so on sound just like the real thing, plus a neat voice over gives us just a tiny bit of commentary as he counts the pin falls, count outs, and says if you win by pin fall, count out, or knockout, even though the deep, rugged, announcer sounds weird at first, youll eventually get use to it. And the major drawback here to the sound category is because there is no authentic wrestler entrance themes or anything, which really disappointed me.
This game introduced a new, easy to learn, move/grapple system. Moves are now easy to pull off. Whoever starts the grapple first(either do a weak grapple by tapping A, or strong grapple by holding A), then press just the A or B button pulls off the move first. No more button mashing grapple meters, ala the 16-bit WWF games! No more stupid button combinations, ala WWF In Your House and Warzone! Plus reversals happen often so it isn't always the quickest player who has the advantage. The B button is your basic punch/kick button, and the C buttons are used to pin, flip over fallen wrestlers, change focus to a different wrestler, run across the ring and to climb in/out of the ring, or to climb the turnbuckles.
The game features about 22 real WCW/NWO wrestlers and about another 25 from Japan going by fake names so THQ didn't shell out the extra bucks for Japan wrestling licenses(A lot of the Kaeintai guys are in here: Taka Michinoku is Black Belt, for example). Some of the real wrestlers you got in here are: The Steiner Brothers, The Outsiders, Hulk Hogan, Sting, The Giant, Steven Regal, Rey Mysterio Jr., Syxx, Scott Norton, Diamond Dallas Page, Randy Savage, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Wrath. The game has a nice variety of modes as well. There's singles one-on-one action, tag team where up to 4 players can play at once, WCW vs. NWO(Sort of like team battle modes found in current fighting games like Virtua Fighter 3tb, Soul Caliber, and Tekken Tag Tournament), League(Has up to 8 wrestlers or tag teams who fight up to 7 teams where you get points for wins, draws, and losses, and whoever gets the most after the matches are over, wins), League Challenge(Where you challenge the organizations wrestlers to unlock hidden characters, much like Championship modes in wrestling games), Tournament(a lot like the King of the Ring modes found in Attitude and Wrestlemania 2000), Handicap, and Battle Royal mode where you have four wrestlers in the ring at once in a elimination match.
Lots of modes here for you to monkey around with. Tag team and Battle Royal can have up to 4 players simultaneously, for parties with your friends.. The game could've offered more real WCW wrestlers instead of giving the US fans a lot of Japanese ones they never heard of, but overall, the game has so many different modes to play from, that youll be playing it for a while.
+: Innovative grapple system, easy to learn controls, lots game modes
-: All those Japanese wrestlers may not please the US fans, no authentic entrance music, most of the faces of the wrestlers look really weird
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.2
Replay Value: 8.4
Rounded to fit GameFAQs score: 8
Asmik scored an A with their first wrestling outing, they used the same wrestling engine, modified over the years, to produce 3 more sequels on the N64. This game was so popular that it won the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences award for Best Console Fighting game of 1997. This game is also a Players Choice title, so you can easily pick it up for about $20-30 brand new, and if you wanted to see what the early 64-bit wrestling games were like, then you should definitely check this title out.