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A.P.I Review: WCW NWO Thunder
Developer: Inland Productions OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: THQ 1-2 Player
Game Type: Beat-em-up Memory Card
Review Date: February 1999 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

Featuring double the number of WCW and NWO wrestlers and rants, new modes, more moves and improved gameplay. Official Thunder announcers call all of the action as over 60 WCW and NWO superstars jump into the ring. Cheer on your favorite grappler as he makes his way to the squared circle while his theme music is blasted. Think twice before you step into the all-new steel cage match, because there is NO ESCAPE from these powerful grapplers. WCW/NWO Thunder - the wrestling game where only “the big boys play!"


Slightly delayed review because we didn't receive our NTSC copy and had to await the PAL version, WCW NWO Thunder is the follow up to THQ's previous PlayStation wrestling game, WCW Nitro.


If you are a grapple fan then you could hardly complain about the intro. It features a selection of live action footage from real wrestling bouts starring your favorite muscle-bound maniacs and duly sets the scene perfectly.

Before getting into the action Thunder uses FMV ring intros and rant videos for each selectable wrestler to great effect. Simply choose your character and press the circle button to hear the likes of Bret Hart ramble on about being the best, Randy Savage 'Oooh, Yeah'ing' and Hollywood Hogan mumbling on about torture. Each wrestlers affiliations may also be switched around between WCW, NWO, Raven and Horseman. Changing this occasionally alters the wrestlers in-ring attire.

Back to the live FMV as the wrestlers take to the ring before finally arriving at a little animation. In graphical terms WCW NWO Thunder is an improvement on Nitro as the wrestlers have lost that grainy outline. Each wrestler is almost a clone of the character they portray, meaning they dress and wear similar face paint. They do, however, still move around the ring as if rigor-mortis has set in... they are soooo stiff.

The ring is a little small and severely restricts much movement... especially when up to four wrestlers are crammed inside at one time. The backgrounds are rather poor and lack detail but there's a nice touch when the giant screen relays the ring action to the crowd.

Sounds and Effects

Surprisingly there is little commentary and few sound effects. Back-breakers give off a nice bone-crunching noise, while each slam to the canvas sounds like the 'big bass drum' is being pounded. Sadly the Two-man commentary, featuring official WCW announcers Tony Schiavonne and Mike Tenay, is limited to one liners such as "The Powerbomb", or "The Piledriver"!

Smothering all of these effects is a continuous Heavy Metal soundtrack that seems rather suitable to the chaotic action. Additionally there are thirty-two new wrestlers’ rants and authentic wrestler entrances with theme music.


Slipping into the Options screen we see that virtually everything possible may be tampered with. Match length ranges from a sensible 3 minutes to an outrageous unlimited bout. Ringout time may also be adjusted. There are three difficulty modes, option for surprise attacks, weapons from few to many and a wide selection of rings to choose from.

Single player game modes include a 10 match World Heavyweight Championship, 7 match US Heavyweight Championship, 5 match TV title, Exhibition mode, tag team battle, Battle Royal and an Exhibition Cage match. Battle Royal is the equivalent to the immensely popular Royal Rumble where thirty wrestler charge one after the other into the ring and throw opponents out. Bit of a marathon this one.

Two players are better than one in these games and to cater for this there are a few 2 Player games including Vs mode, Tag Team, Battle Royal and Cage match.

Most of your favorite characters are available for selection including Macho Man, Bret Hart, Sting, Lex Luger, Giant, Raven, Scott and Rick Steiner. Bonus characters are awarded when competitions are won (or simply entering the cheat code) allowing rather strange match-ups such as Horses vs Giant Ants and Aliens vs Buxom Broads.... whatever turns you on.

So you wanna know how it handles? In my opinion, not very well. Instead of relying on constant button bashing and complicated combos, WCW NWO Thunder opts for a series of button presses that executes moves from both the standing and tie-up positions. Unfortunately once your opponent gets hold of you, all you can do is bash down on the control pad, hoping you can squeeze in the escape move before he can pull off another attack.

Value for Money

It is probably only worth playing this game against a human opponent because the CPU intelligence sucks. Each computer controlled wrestler can be laid out flat in under a minute... usually quicker. Once you work out the system (grabbing their hands and heaving) it's all over bar the shouting. Shame!

GRAPHICS: 15/20 Once more we see the kids who 'must buy anything to do with wrestling' taken for a ride again. The wrestlers, graphics, and modes have changed, but the gameplay is still substandard. Thunder? I've heard louder farts!
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 13/20


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