WWF Rage in the Cage (Sega Mega CD) Review

WWF Rage in the Cage

The wrestling game rundown adds another first for this blog: a Sega Mega CD review (or just Sega CD as it was known in the US!) Yes, once upon a time I actually had a Mega CD, and a few games on it to boot (it was my first exposure to Final Fight!) but Rage in the Cage wasn’t a highlight of my time with the Mega Drive add-on… In fact some of the decisions still annoy me to this day! Let’s take a look at it, anyway, shall we?

Background:

WWF Rage in the Cage 3

This is the only time Samu will appear on this blog…

WWF Rage in the Cage was released in the US December 21st 1993, and in Europe a few months after that (“1994” is all I could find…) The Japanese release date was June 24th 1994 and the game was retitled “WWF Mania Tour”.

The roster is the only real impressive thing about the game. It has a total of 20 wrestlers: Randy Savage, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rick Martel, IRS, Tatanka, Crush and The Big Bossman, plus the game debuts of Samu (his one and only game appearance so far!), Fatu, Jerry Saggs, Brian Knobbs and Kamala.

Gameplay:

WWF Rage in the Cage 5

They’re raging inside of a cage!

You’ll be unsurprised to hear that this plays the same way as the other Acclaim MD / SNES games, with grapples initiated by walking into each other, followed by a “tug of war” button bashing mini-game leading to the winner doing a few pre-selected moves. It also has punching, kicking, illegal eye rakes and chokes if the ref is down or you’re outside the ring, a running strike and a top rope move. Rage in the Cage does at least have finishing moves for each character in the game, which is something…

Here comes my major gripe with the game that I remember really confusing and angering me at the time: the only matches available are 1 on 1 matches. You can have either regular match, a “Brawl” (which just means no DQ and a KO system based on health instead of a three count) or a cage match (win via climbing out). That’s it! It’s the first game to feature the tag teams of the Headshrinkers and the Nasty Boys, but there aren’t any tag matches! No Royal Rumble either, which was a big disappointment to me, coming off of playing Royal Rumble to death on my regular Mega Drive…

There is also the obligatory “fight everyone in the game one after the other to win the championship” mode as well, complete with a badly compressed video of your chosen wrestler celebrating. Hooray?

Graphics and Sound:

WWF Rage in the Cage 2

*Gasp!* Full Motion Video!! … Well, they say motion, but… Plus video is even pushing it, if I’m honest…

Despite the better hardware, this looks exactly the same as the SNES / MD games like Royal Rumble, and the soon to be released RAW, except it somehow feels worse due to only ever seeing two people in the ring as if it can’t handle four or six, like its predecessor can already… They do have the previously mentioned badly compressed, tiny boxed videos (during the intro, on the character select screen and the tournament victory stuff) but that’s the only real CD-like thing they do.

Sound-wise, get this: it’s the same as the SNES / MD games! It’s on a CD and yet they don’t have CD quality music! Oh wait, I forgot that Howard Finkel does the in-ring introductions, where each wrestler has a recorded “taunt” that they say after getting introduced, so… that’s one bit of use of the CD quality audio, but that’s it! The entrance themes still sound digitized and 16-bit.

Final Thoughts (Then):

WWF Rage in the Cage 1

In case you’re wondering, these taller screens were taken by me, the others I found elsewhere as my ROM of the game kept crashing all the time…

At the time I was really disappointed, and almost immediately went back to WWF Royal Rumble on the regular Mega Drive. The Cage match looked cool, but there were so fewer options that it felt like a step backwards. It sat on my shelf until I sold all my Mega CD stuff…

2 Star Game Old

Final Thoughts (Now):

WWF Rage in the Cage 4

Yikes, this is a blocky screenshot, just look at the ref!

Now? Well, the same, just without going straight back to Royal Rumble. It really feels like a step backwards due to the far fewer modes available. I got some fun out of hearing some of the pre-match taunts, but that’s it. There’s just no reason to go back to this one…

2 Star Game New

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