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WCW/NWO Thunder (PSX) Review

Publisher: THQ
Release Date: 1/12/99

Background Info

THQ previously were going to publish two playstation titles in 1999, WCW Live and WCW Thunder. WCW Live was being developed by the team who worked on WCW NWO Revenge for N64. WCW Thunder's team developed WCW Nitro for Playstation and the PC. The company decided to scrap WCW Live and focus on WCW Thunder. Did the move pay off?

Presentation/Graphics : 68
The graphics in WCW Thunder are ok. I really liked the addition of the real life ring entrance in the game. The short five-second video clip plays at an above average quality level. The wrestlers in the game are easily distungishable from each other which is a plus. Some of the lowpoints in terms of graphics are the crowd and the rings. Both are really blocky. The frame rates in a 1 on 1 match are really good. However, once you try to start up a 4 player battle royal, the game slows down considerably.

Presentation/Audio : 65
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. The only postive audio in the game is the theme music for the wrestlers during the movie intro before a match. There isn't really much to say about the audio since there is hardly any audio in the game.

Interface/Options : 65
WCW Thunder uses the same gamepad setup as a fighting game such as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. In WCW Thunder, just about all the moves were performed by pressing a button, another button, and a direction or something like that. I really enjoyed WCW Revenge's controls. Really easy to master, unlike WCW Thunder where you have to memorize all the button combos. Also, the game did not include a co-op tag team option. I was really disappointed with that. There is no excuse in leaving that option out.

Gameplay : 60
Since I thought WCW Thunder was almost identical to WCW Nitro on the PC, I was hoping that the game would at least have lockups (where two guys grab each other by the necks). The development team made a wise decision in including lockups. While playing against the computer, if you get the computer in a lockup/tieup, you don't have much time to perform a move before the computer does some sort of reversal move. However while playing human vs human, you can leave the two wrestlers in the tieup for a while. It's maybe that I still haven't figured out how to do a reversal.

Wrestlers in WCW Thunder cannot bounce off the ropes on their own. Sounds funny, but sadly, it's true. However, your opponent can fling you to the ropes and your guy will bounce off it and head back in the direction of your opponent.

The game does include most fundamental wrestling moves. There is one move which is really cheap. If the "mercey hold" is being performed on the computer, the move will drain almost half of the wrestler's engery and at the same time, your wrestler will gain energy. Talk about cheap! All I had to do was to keep on doing it over and over and I get an easy win. Wrestling matches usually don't end in 1 or 2 minutes. In WCW Thunder, using the above mentioned mercy hold the match can end in less than 1 minute. Actually, you can still win the match quickly even if you don't use the mercy hold.

WCW Thunder features control interference from the outside which I really like. The term control is appropriate because you can call in someone from your allegiance whenever you want, although you can only do it once in every match. Wrestlers who come out will not be anybody from an opposing organization but from your own organization. For instance, if I'm using "Raven" and I call someone out to lend me a hand, someone from "Raven's flock" will come out and not someone from WCW or NWO. Inland also made it possible to change the wrestler's allegiance.

There are a lot of hidden characters in the game. I don't understand why developers have more hidden characters than default characters. Do they actually think people will keep playing the game till they get all the hidden characters? Well, not me. I found a cheat that gives you all the wrestlers. There were some weird funky wrestlers that I unlocked. The "Nitro Girls" were included, along with characers such as an ant, an invisible man, and the such.

The game is a lot more of an acrade game than a wrestling simulation if there is a such thing. Where I'm heading is that WCW Thunder is a competely different game than THQ's WCW Revenge. Although both games were published by THQ, WCW Revenge's gameplay relies on the tie-up move while the gameplay in WCW Thunder is more of a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter type game. The game speed in a 1 on 1 match in WCW Thunder is a little too fast for a wrestling title.

Overall : 68
I have to admit that I was not looking forward to reviewing WCW Thunder since it was basically the same as WCW Nitro for the PC. WCW Thunder isn't a bad game but its not a great game. THQ should have kept their plans for WCW Live for Playstation and canceled their plans for WCW Thunder. Playstation wrestling fans only have two 'real' choices in terms of purchasing a playstation wrestling game, WWF Warzone and WCW Thunder. I would suggust that fans who love both the WWF and WCW go get WWF Warzone if they haven't bought it yet. For those of you who are anti-WWF, WCW Thunder isn't a bad choice.

By: Jim S. 12/9/98

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