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PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

Developer: Iguana West OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Acclaim 1-4 Player
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 

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.  


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!
GRAPHICS: 17/20 It 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.
SOUND: 9/10
VALUE: 17/20


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