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WCW Nitro (PC) Review

Publisher: THQ
Release Date: Fall 1998

Background Info

THQ realized that there are millions of wrestling fans out there with a PC. Which then led to the announcement that WCW Nitro, formally on Playstation, will be ported over to the PC. So how is the second wrestling game for the PC? (The first being WWF Wrestlemania, which was released a few years back by Acclaim)

Presentation/Graphics : 50
The graphics in WCW Nitro look terrible. Wait a second, there are two things I like. The head tracking and the crowd animation. Wrestlers' heads move up or down depending on the position of their opponent. The crowds also seem to be constantly moving. This feature isn't perfect but I appreciate the attempt by THQ. These two are the only positive graphical feature in WCW Nitro.

Time for the bad things. WCW Nitro supposedly supports hardware acceleration in the form of Direct 3D. The game gave me the sense that I was playing in 400x300 resolution. The crowd seems to be made of blocks. Yes, blocks of squares. The frame rate is absolutely obscene. It gets even worse playing a mode in which more than two wrestlers are on the screen. For instance, the Battle Royal mode and Tag Team mode are unplayable. The wrestlers move in super slow-mo. The arenas in WCW Nitro also is a painful sight to look at. The people in the crowd are in 2D.

Presentation/Audio : 45
WCW Nitro game will disappoint you in the audio department. There is no play-by-play, as well as no color commentary. Well, THQ incorporated what they called color commentary but it is nothing more than the occasional remarks of "It's the power bomb!" or "Its the piledriver!". The sound effects just don't sound right. During submission holds, I heard bones cracking constantly. There isn't really much to say about the audio since there is hardly any audio in the game.

Interface/Options : 55
The interface should have been improved after porting the game from the Playstation. First of all, there is no button to exit. I did not figure out how to quit until I kept on pushing the buttons and hit ESC on the keyboard. Another thing is that there are no option menus available to users during the game. So if someone turns on the crowd and the game goes too slow, the only way to turn off the crowd is to quit the match.

The button response is horrible. It takes approximately 2 seconds for the game to perform the action decided by the button pressed. However it could be the frame rate that is causing this problem, but either way, a game should not be released the way it was.

Customizable controls are a big plus. Just select options from the startup screen, then select customize keys. After that, press enter and press a button on your joystick. I could not figure out how to use two controllers. I tried going to second player controls, but it would only let me enter in keyboard buttons.

Gameplay : 50
What is a fundamental wrestling maneuver which is require to perform wrestling moves? Most wrestling fans would say a lockup/tie-up and I would agree. Whoever decided to make a wrestling game in which you could not grab your opponent must have been a complete idiot when it comes to wrestling. Wrestlers could not even run to the ropes on their own. The only way a wrestler could run and continue running after hitting the ropes is when your opponent flings you to the ropes.

WCW Nitro also did not allow any type of reversal moves. A weird thing is that when I took my wrestler to the outside and perform some sort of a body slam, the wrestler got right back up in less than a second. However when I go back into the ring and do the exact same move, my opponent stays down for almost 10 seconds.

There are a few things I like about WCW Nitro, believe it or not. Wrestlers can come running out to either double team your opponent or double team you. Give me a second, I can come up with something else. Oh yes, the wrestlers have the same finishing moves as they do in real life.

THQ marketed WCW Nitro as having over 60 WCW/NWO wrestlers in the game. Well, the game came with 16 wrestlers. People have to win 1 on 1 tournaments to unlock the hidden characters. I unlocked one wrestler and that was it. I could not take anymore of WCW Nitro.

WCW Nitro does include an internet feature. I did not test this feature simply because the game ran slow 1 on 1 on my computer, and I can imagine how fast the game would be playing over the net.

Difficulty : 70
With the start of the match, the computer will be already be next to you. The computer seems to be able to move their wrestler towards your wrestler even before you realize the match has started. To sum up the AI in WCW Nitro in one word: stupid.

The computer control wrestler will randomly go to the top rope even when their opponent is standing. After that, all I needed to do was to walk towards the wrestler on the top rope and press a button, which made my wrestler toss the computer wrestler on the top rope to the mat.

Winning a match is relatively easy. Keep on hitting the Punch and Kick button in that order and your wrestler will perform the power bomb. For those of you know familiar with wrestling, the power bomb is when a wrestler grabs their opponent, puts their head between their legs(both wrestlers are standing still) and then lifts him up and drops him onto the mat. I kept on doing the power bomb on the computer and I usually won the match with almost none of my energy gone.

Overall : 54
Things don't look too bright when the best part of a game is the box that it came with. Unfortunately that is how WCW Nitro is. Most people will spend more time with the installation program then actually playing the game. No, there isn't anything wrong with the installation program, it's just that just about everything about WCW Nitro is a disappointment. THQ used the same horrible gameplay engine as the Playstation version and updated the wrestlers for the PC version. Seems to me that THQ just wanted to release a wrestling game for the PC no matter how bad it is. It is a smart financial move by THQ since WCW Nitro is the first PC wrestling game in three years. As you could tell by my reaction to THQ's WCW Nitro, I recommend you to stay away from this game at ALL COST.

By: Jim S. 12/9/98

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