Ten Minute Game Review: Wrestle War

What is it good for?
Game #15: Wrestle War
Format: Megadrive, PAL
My copy is: Boxed with instructions

My copy does not look much like this. Add more black, for a start.
My copy does not look much like this. Add more black, for a start.

I think I’ve mentioned previously my interest in Wrestling videogames. I blame, for the most part, WCW vs NWO: Revenge, a game that I know in the most minute detail possible, and a game that I can still pick up and play to this day. The previously reviewed WWF No Mercy is a better game — it should be, it’s a direct sequel to Revenge — but Revenge was where it all started for me.
The Japanese box for the same game.
The Japanese box for the same game. And just in case you couldn't work out who they were trying to rip off, he's got both "Titan" and "Hogan" on his bandanna.

Well, technically, I did play WWF Superstars a bit in the arcades. And Exciting Hour a LOT. But they’re seemingly never getting home conversions, for reasons that elude me, so they don’t count.
Anyway, my wrestling game mania has led me to pick up some unusual wrestling games over the years, often many years after they were first “fresh”. Such as today’s contender, “Wrestle War”, one of the earlier games for Sega’s Megadrive system. The box shot above is from Wikipedia, but owing to the copy I own (which from memory cost me the grand sum of around 50c) being part of the re-release “Gold” collection, I don’t even get the over-jacked steroid freak in his full glory on the cover. Just lots of black and a minor, cut-down version of the same image.Just as the Western image is a cut-down version of the heavily copyright-infringing Japanese original, above.
Sadly for me, my wrestling game co-commentator, Chunks The Clown is not available today to give the game its proper due. Sadly for me, but as I found out, not so much sadly for him.
The sixteen bit era wasn’t a good one for wrestling games in the Western world, all things told. While Japanese gamers got their earliest bites at the excellent Fire Pro Wrestling series, we got…  well, Super Wrestlemania. And this. It couldn’t be as bad as Super Wrestlemania, could it?
Ten Minutes Later:
Oh yes. It could.
This still screenshot is moving at the same speed as the game. Possibly faster.

It’s tough to know where to start. The ill-defined controls? The weird, over-the-shoulder flick-camera system that serves to disorient? The incredibly stop-motion-like animation — much more “stop”, than “motion”, by the by — and lack of moves?
Well, all of those things did suck, but perhaps it’s best that I relate my ten minute journey, which was made up of a grand total of two matches. My first match was a delicate feeling out process whereupon I gauged my enemy’s weaknesses, and then… nah, not really. I spent most of the time working out the buttons and getting ever more annoyed with the flickering grapple meter, which bears little to no relation to how well you’re doing. I still won, though.
Then I was given a choice of US cities to ply my wrasslin’ trade in, and being a lifelong Prince fan, chose Minneapolis. Home, according to Wrestle War, of an overly pink freak in a Jason-Vorhees-style hockey mask, who beat the absolute living crud out of me. Twice. I tried to impress the crowd with just how poorly I could throw a dropkick a couple of times, but still ended up looking up at the lights for the 1, 2, 3….
Ten Minute Game Verdict: Not a keeper. Not at all. I do own games that are so bad that they’re good, but this isn’t one of them. It’s just plain bad. Chunks — you got lucky this time, not having to play this one.

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