Ten Minute Game Review: Super Wrestlemania (SNES) and WWF Royal Rumble (SNES)

Two for the price of one, as it were.
Game #3: Super Wrestlemania (SNES)
Format: SNES
My copy is: Boxed, and surprisingly, NTSC.

Ah, wrestling games. If there’s a wrestling game of the past fifteen years, the chances are very good that I’ve played it. I own far too many games — I’ve already admitted to that one — and of those, a surprising percentage are wrestling games.
Now, wrestling games vary a LOT in quality — from the exceptional games like WWF No Mercy and Fire Pro Wrestling — all the way down to Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This At Home. There’s nothing worse than BYW:DTTAH. Even the acronym is rubbish.
When I play wrestling games, it tends to be multiplayer, because, well, that’s the point. They’re multi-player fighting games with overly done theatrics, and, critically, they spotted the trend for wanting co-operative play YEARS before most genres. So, for this Ten Minute Review, I’ve enlisted the help of a friend of mine, who, in our too numerous-to-mention virtual bouts, tends to create a character called “Chunks The Clown”. Although Super Wrestlemania predates character creation for western games, so it’s perhaps a moot point here.
Eight minutes later:
Well, the roster is nice in a nostalgic way. This predates the idea of two-player controllable tag teams, so it’s a versus 4-on-4 Survivor series match. I take Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Hawk, Animal and Sid Justice — essentially the “Bewildering Interview” team — up against Earthquake, Typhoon, Ted Dibiase. and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Astonishingly, Chunks opts to have Jake as his team captain, which I guess makes this team Substance Abuse. And then we set in to “play”, once we figure out the buttons.

Feel the madness.
Feel the madness.

Oh dear. Time has not been kind to Super Wrestlemania. Animation is amazingly stiff, everyone has the exact same moves — no finishers for anyone. There’s some inadvertently humorous stuff, like the way one wrestler will stand still for running drop kicks, or the fact that out of the ring there is… nothing. You can run around (and smack yourself into walls, as we discover), but there’s no weapons, only one dive move, and you can’t roll into the ring from its base. Those interested in results might want to note that Randy Savage takes down both Earthquake and Typhoon fairly easily, only to fall to Jake Roberts after a single punch. Astonishingly, typing that was more interesting than playing it.
After eight minutes and about five eliminations, Super Wrestlemania gains the ignominious fate of being the first Ten Minute Game Challenge to not actually last ten minutes. And if we can’t stand to play it for even Ten Minutes, then….

Ten Minute Game Verdict:
Eww. Not a keeper. Sure, I’ll probably have some trouble getting rid of an NTSC copy of a sixteen year old wrestling game, but still.
In fact, Super Wrestlemania is so depressing that we’re almost immediately struck by the urge to check if its sequel, WWF Royal Rumble, is as bad.
Ten Minute Game Review: WWF Royal Rumble (SNES)

Game #3: Royal Rumble (SNES)
Format: SNES

My copy is: Boxed. Just. The box is kinda flat.

Having been thoroughly disappointed with Super Wrestlemania, the suitably anonymous Chunks The Clown and I elected to jump directly into its sequel, WWF Royal Rumble. Basically the same setup, but rather than a four on four survivor series challenge, we’d opt for the Royal Rumble, with the unspoken agreement that we’d not elminate each other until the other players were taken out of play.
Eleven Minutes And Forty Eight Seconds Later:

Damn. Damn, damn and drat. Razor Ramon (under my control), having eliminated virtually every other wrestler by chucking them off the top rope, liberally dispersing his Razor’s Edge finisher along the way, climbs to the top rope to jump onto the exhausted Bret “Hitman” Hart, under the control of Chunks. Displaying his canny Canadian “playing possum” style, Hart jumped to his feet and punches Ramon directly off the turnbuckle to the floor below. Calamity — Hart wins…
Shawn Michaels can't even align with the mat properly. I guess that would make him hard to pin. Just like real life!
Mr Perfect is the pair of blue pants you can see here.

Still, at least the eleven minutes makes up for much of the shortfall in Super Wrestlemania’s play time. I can quote it that directly, simply because the game tracks the time played. And, in case the paragraph above didn’t make it clear, this is still just enough fun to be worth playing.
It fixes just about everything that’s wrong with Super Wrestlemania, for a start. Sure, it took us a while to work out that Lex Luger for some reason looked a lot like Rick Rude, and it was only when we checked the elimination lists that we realised that the Mr Perfect lookalike in orange was meant to be the late Brian “Crush” Adams.There’s a whole different article about tracking wrestler mortality via video games, but that’s a (depressing) article for another day.
Critically, while the button mashing gameplay style isn’t altered, the speed of the game, finishing moves and ability to cheat push Royal Rumble over the edge into proper playability. Plus, let’s face it, Ramon needs his revenge…

Ten Minute Game Verdict:
A keeper; enough for solid play every once in a while when Chunks is in the immediate vicinity. That’s presuming he doesn’t spot the copy of “Bushido Blade” sitting on the shelf next to Royal Rumble, and blithely claim that he could complete the whole thing in ten minutes.
For the record, he was wrong. Just. But that’s a ten minute game review for another day.

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