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WWF Royal Rumble (DC) Review

Publisher: THQ

Background Info
Wrestling fans were excited upon hearing THQ's plans to release a game allowing 9 wrestlers in the ring at once. From early screen shots, the game looked like it could be a real winner. Now that WWF Royal Rumble has been released, is the game worth purchasing?

Presentation/Graphics : 75
Graphically, WWF Royal Rumble does a pretty good job as the wrestlers are photo realistic. Every now and then the game gets a bit jerky but WWF Royal Rumble runs incredibly well when having 9 wrestlers in the ring at once. The wrestlers' movement are well done.

The game does have the wrestlers' intros, which aren't too bad but could use some work. There aren't full entrances. However, after the screen showing who will be wrestling, the camera jumps inside the ring and the wrestlers do their trademark stances. The theme music for each wrestlers aren't played at the beginning, only at the end when they play the winner's music.

Presentation/Audio : 50
Disappointing is the one word that sums up the audio area. As mentioned before, the only time you hear the wrestlers' theme music is at the end of the match. Why not play their music when the intros are shown? Once the match starts, there is no commentary or voices from the wrestlers. There are some sound effects and crowd noise but nothing really special there.

Interface/Options : 70
WWF Royal Rumble only contains two gameplay modes: Exhibition and Royal Rumble. One player exhibition is basically you trying to beat the computer in 10 matches. Fortunately, the game allows you to continue where you lost, which saves you from having to start over. The very last match are against Shane and Vince McMahon. The other gameplay mode is the Royal Rumble mode. In this mode, you have control of wrestlers until you eliminate from 30 wrestlers and on up yourself.

The control system is relatively simple since it is an arcade game with buttons for attacking, running, special, blocking, climbing the turnbuckle and dodging.

Forseeing e-mails asking about these modes, WWF Royal Rumble does not offer a create-a-player mode nor does it allow you to put wrestlers through tables.

Gameplay : 75
This game is pure arcade and does an OK job at that. No signs of simulations at all in the game. Each match is usually over within 3 minutes. WWF Royal Rumble is a fast paced type of game. In exhibition mode against the computer, you have a teammate on the outside but he does not serve as a tag team partner. He is more of a 'supporting cast member' who jumps in when your wrestler's helper attack is charged up. Knowing when to call in your guy on the outside is key since the computer will also call in their guy, which sometimes leads to a wasted helper attack. The Royal Rumble mode is a bit crazy with 9 guys in the ring at once. Yes, 9 guys in the ring. It is really tough trying to focus on one guy in the mode.

Special moves can be performed by pressing the R button once your wrestler gets 3 S's. Using the R button before getting 3 S's or when your wrestler is down being pinned will give your guy a quick surge of power and a kick out of any pin no matter how much energy he has left. Each wrestler's special moves are included in the game, such as the Rock Bottom, and Kane's choke slam. The Rock's People's Elbow is also in the game. He actually throws off his elbow pad.

The game does have a pretty nice backstage area. No, you can't get outside of the ring to run backstage. Getting backstage seems random to me as often the lights will go out and you and your opponent, along with your 'teammate' will appear in the backstage area. The backstage area is not just flat 2D graphics. It is actually interactive, at least in some of the stages.

Replay Value : 60
The replay value of the game is somewhat limited with only two gameplay modes and a shortage of wrestlers. Multiplayer replay value is a tad bit better but with no tag team challenges, the game can quickly head back to the stores or be stacked somewhere and become forgotten.

Overall : 68
As an arcade game, WWF Royal Rumble serves its purpose for the most part as it provides non-stop ring action but the limited replay value of the game will probably prevent this game from being too popular among the arcade fans. This game could be worth a rental though as by the time the rental is up, you will probably have gotten all you can from the game.

By: James C. 10/2/00
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