The Wrestling Game Rundown returns to Acclaim 16-bit games with Royal Rumble, a particular favourite of mine. It was the 1992 Royal Rumble that turned me from casual fan to diehard “must watch everything” fan, and getting to play the titular match type sitting in my bedroom was amazing… What’s it like now? Er, well, less amazing (and in fact common place now!) Let’s take a look!
It’s a Rumble of Royal variety! (MD)
WWF Royal Rumble was first released on the Super NES in June 1993 in the US, followed later in the year for Japan and Europe. The Mega Drive version came out in September 1993 in America, and in 1994 everywhere else. This was a direct sequel to WWF Super WrestleMania.
Much like Super WrestleMania the roster has a base roster of wrestlers and then different stars for each system. The core roster for both features Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage and Lex Luger (making his WWF game debut here, but not his overall wrestling game debut…), plus the overall game debuts of Razor Ramon and Crush. The SNES version has Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect and Ted DiBiase, along with the first appearances of Yokozuna and Tatanka. The Mega Drive version has Hulk Hogan, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, I.R.S. and Papa Shango, plus the debut of Rick “The Model” Martel.
A sadly blurry picture (for some reason) of Flair with a chair! (SNES)
The actual core gameplay remains the same from Super WrestleMania. The only key differences are little improvements like being able to see the actual “swing-o-meter” system when you grapple people, more moves and some nice little additions like being able to roll back into the ring from the bottom of the screen rather than just the sides, which is handy as the outside of the ring now features a chair that can be used as a weapon. It should also be noted that both versions of the game allow finishing moves, rather than just the Mega Drive version…
There is a good selection of modes for both systems this time. In singles you can have a regular match, a “Brawl” (which means no referee, and therefore unlimited eye rakes, chokes and outside the ring brawling, and it only ends via one person having all their stamina drained.) or a tournament, which sees you go through the whole roster to win a championship. The same three modes are available for tag matches as well, plus a 3 v 3 mode has the regular and Brawl rule list, but no tournament. The big addition is the Royal Rumble mode, where just like the real thing you start with two in the ring, and then more participants come down and fill the ring (with the console limitation being that once the max 6 people are in the ring the next person doesn’t come down until a spot in open…), with elimination being via over-the-top rope rules. You even get a fun results screen at the end, seeing how long each person lasted and how many people they eliminated!
Graphics and Sound:
Somehow the original image here was lost when I combined my old game review blog with this one… Oh well, here’s a random shot from google image search! (MD)
Much like the previous entry, the visual style of both games are very similar, though the Mega Drive version is bit more jagged and darker. This time the crowd and ring look pretty similar, mind you, so there have been improvements.
Midi versions of people’s themes play on the character select screen, which is fun, but other than that (and a catchy title screen theme!) it’s the same “oofs” and “Argh” sound effects during play, and some mild crowd noise. Perfectly fine for a 16-bit game.
Final Thoughts (Then):
Man Vince is freaking out in the background! (SNES)
You couldn’t tare me away from this thing when I first got it. Finally I could play the Royal Rumble in a game rather than endless Rumbles with my wrestling figures (not that I stopped doing that for a while, mind you…) Both single player and multi-player with my brother or friends, this was played to death, only stopping when its sequel came out…
Final Thoughts (Now):
Much like Super WrestleMania (can you tell this game was a sequel?) this is awkward and a bit on the dull side. Being able to see the swing-a-meter helps a lot, and I enjoyed the nostalgia of having a Royal Rumble on it (I wish other games would have the results screen at the end of them!) but in general, and this probably goes without saying, if you want an Acclaim 16-bit era game to play then play RAW, because as the last one it has the most going for it…