|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||WWF WARZONE|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Beat-em-up||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||September 1998||Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
I must admit that although I am not the worlds greatest wrestling fan, I can see where the appeal comes from, and who it is aimed towards. With this in mind I decided to offer the playtest for WWF Warzone to my ten- year-old son - a real expert in the world of grapples, forearm smashes and powerslams. I then sat back and watched on in amazement. I remember the last wrestling title he loaded up. It was the slow and sluggish WCW Nitro and the disc was duly binned after less than an hours play time. WCW vs the World remains the firm old favorite but could that honor be prized away by the latest offering from Acclaim. Their WWF track record of Wrestlemania and In Your House may not prove convincing reading but lets wipe that slate clean and start afresh. Ding! Ding! Round One!
My Opinion: Televised wrestling is a elaborately scripted show - not a sporting event. In fact I would go as far to say that live wrestling has taken the place of the legendary circus act. With this in mind WWF Warzone is a pure beat-em-up - not a sports sim as some would have you believe. The Opinion of a Ten-Year-Old: Wrestling is real and the contestants are all super-fit athletes. If boxing is a sport then so is wrestling. Compete with one of the WWF superstars or with your own custom-designed wrestler, players body slam their opponents and pile drive their friends with over 300 signature and finishing moves unique to each wrestler.
The combination of rock music, explosions and FMV clips works superbly to set the scene in a style normally reserved for EA Sports games. There's nothing like a bit of live action footage, backed by a thunderous soundtrack, to get you in the mood for a right royal rumble on the canvas, and Warzone certainly delivers. See your favorite celebrities break every rule in the house to generate an electrifying intro that will have you gagging for more... even before you begin. I was quite shocked when I first set my eyes on the in-game characters, they look very realistic. Although through digitizing and texture mapping the faces of over a dozen WWF wrestlers on 3D polygonal figures, the characters still seem to look like cut-outs of photographs when placed over the flat backgrounds. Don't get me wrong, they are far better than anything previously seen in a wrestling game, just don't expect Tekken 3! Rather than select one of the ready made celebrity characters you may venture into the lower depths of the stadium where the facility is available to create your very own fighter. Personally I loved this feature and was amazed that virtually every detail could be tampered with from hair style and clothing to how hairy the fighters body was. There's beards, tattoos, masks, jewelry, sunglasses... in fact everything a poser would wish for. You even get to decide if he's the good guy or the baddie. I've never had as much fun since dressing up my Action Man. The fighting takes place in a 3D arena with a flat backdrop. The arena is far better than anything previously experienced in a wrestling game as each throw shakes the canvas and shudders the ropes. The backdrop is fairly lifeless, although the occasional camera flash adds a little realism to the event.
Sounds and Effects
The opening music is a fitting thrash rock soundtrack but once the game begins each wrestler has their own exclusive signature tune. Each theme booms out of the PA when entering the ring, which I am sure will be instantly recognized by those of you who are TV wrestling regulars. There's the haunting graveyard chime of the Undertaker as the organ slowly rises above the noise of thunder and lightening. There's the screaming guitars that normally introduce Bret Hart, the catchy rock/pop tune that heralds the arrival of Shawn and who could forget the entrance of the Bulldog to the regimental Rule Britannia. The sound effects are probably the best we have heard from a game that portrays a fighting event. The wrestlers grunt and groan as they struggle to gain the upper hand while every punch, throw, slap and slam is amplified to give maximum effect - just like the real deal. What I found most impressive was something that I have been screaming about for years - audience participation. How many times have we witnessed an event that takes place in a stadium and the crowd all make noises as one? Never! So why do game developers always opt for that monotonous, one tone roar that is so unrealistic? Not here! Oh no! WWF Warzone goes all out for realism with cat calls, boos and jeers from the crowd while individuals seem to actually get carried away with the whole occasion. Lone voices can be heard screaming out comments such as "Rest in Peace", "You are the best there ever will be", "Bite his ear off!!!" and an almighty chant of "Have a nice day! Have a nice day!". It's also worth mentioning the commentary. Jim Ross and Vince McMahon team up to put the icing on the cake as far as the sound effects go. Excellent!
The options screen also adds to the atmosphere of the game. It is set in a rusty old building where each menu selection motions you towards an elevator to take a ride onto another floor. There are three modes of difficulty and the option to configurate your control pad to your liking. All of the buttons are used to allow the wrestler to kick, punch, block, tie up, climb and run, while the top shoulder buttons work extremely well when sidestepping an opponent. It's almost a strafe. A biography is available to browse through at your leasure and includes facts and figures about each famous wrestler that takes part in the game. I've already mentioned the Create Player section therefore we'll move straight down to the training area for Practice mode. Here you can hone in on your skills in much the same way as other beat-em-ups with each combination pressed being displayed on the bottom of the screen, and boy are there a few combo's to learn. There must be eighty moves for each character therefore the use of this feature should avoid the "how the hell did I do that" syndrome. Gameplay modes cater for up to four players. Single player modes include Challenge, Versus, Tag Team, Cage and Weapons. Challenge allows you to climb the dizzy heights to become World Wrestling Champ. Versus is a one on one. Tag a two on two. Weapons allows you to pick up objects (bottle, chairs, TV sets!!!) thrown from the crowd and then use them on your opponent. The Cage will be familiar to TV wrestling fans where two fighters slug it our with the main objective being to climb out of the cage before your opponent. Multi-player games include Versus, Tornado, Tag Team, Cooperative, Cage and Weapons. As mentioned earlier in the review I was quite content to sit back and watch a true ten year old professional at work. I was amazed at the number of moves and combinations each wrestler had - both legal and illegal. This was very close to watching the actual event. Some five hours later, after a break every hour as instructed by those chaps from Sony (believe that and you'll believe anything), I had to wrench the control pad form the child's hands. He wanted more, but enough was enough. Afterall, I wanted a piece of the action.
Value for Money
I found it difficult to fault WWF Warzone. There is a massive amount of gameplay contained within, the graphics are fine and the sound effects are superb. Check it out!
was nice to see a wrestling bout won by skill rather than arrangement.
Not a great deal more to say apart from that WWF Warzone has finally
given Playstation grapple fans something to shout about.
This still won't convert me into a wrestling aficionado but you can't help being impressed by the transition.