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WWF Warzone (PSX) Review

Publisher: Acclaim
Release Date: August 1999

Background Info

This much-anticipated WWF game from Acclaim has been in development for over a year, with the hype building constantly. Does it live up to the hype? Read on!

Presentation/Graphics : 92
The graphics in WWF Warzone are excellent, very smooth and fast, and with little polygon popup. The 15 different default wrestlers are also nicely reproduced, and look almost like a photo of the wrestler, until the close up of the polygonal face. The occasional breakup of the polygons is not excessive, especially for the PSX. Most notably, when you do some outside the ring moves, it sometimes looks like you are half in the ring and half out, but that is not a huge distraction. All the moves are fluid, and the animation of them looks exactly like the moves do on TV. The crowd graphic is flat, but that is to be expected from a sports game (where crowds look more like a smear). The weapons in the Weapons match look nice, down to the grain of the wood on the 4x4, and the 15-foot high cage looks great as well. The incredible create-a-player mode has a wide variety of shirts, tanktops, pants, accessories, tattoos, etc. Once you enable all the extra "duds" by winning the title with Kane (unconfirmed by me), you get even more choices, so you can basically make any wrassler you want. Overall, this is one of, if not the, best graphical sports game on the PSX. The framerate is a constant 30fps, even with 4 wrestlers on screen, meaning gameplay is as smooth and graphically responsive as WCW Nitro was not.

Presentation/Audio : 97
The audio in this game is well-done, giving the game a definite WWF "atmosphere." Each wrestler has his own theme music faithfully reproduced (unlike the N64 version, which uses crappy .midi files of the music). The announcing team of Vince McMahon and Jim Ross provide humorous (if a little repetitive) commentary, and the sounds of slams and grunts are excellent. The crowd noise is also integral to the game, as happy fans chanting your name pump up the damage you do. The only thing missing is the commentary from Jerry "the King" Lawler--he's the funniest guy on the WWF TV shows, and deserved a spot.

Interface/Options : 88
A very nice little menu system: nothing seems "hidden" or hard to find. I was at first confused as to where the 2-player options were, but if you glance at the manual for 2 seconds (I usually try to avoid instruction manuals ;) it is easy to navigate. The only place where the menu fails is in the create-a-player mode, because with so many options and clothes, moving through the menus and options can get a little taxing.

Gameplay : 95
Playing this game is a dream compared to the mediocrity of WCW Nitro. The move system is similar to Nitro (button combos like a fighting game) but are much smoother and more intuitive to perform. Each wrestler has approximately 60 moves, including power moves, holds, submission holds, running moves, top rope maneuvers and, of course, finishing moves. If the controls confuse you at all, there is always the Training Mode, which really helps you when you first start out, but it isn't as important as it was made out to be (especially after you figure out the controls). The gameplay is also superb in that the game almost never slows down. There is the occasional choppy part at the beginning of the match (only when there are 4 wrestlers on screen) but that quickly passes. One option that changes the gameplay dramatically is the time limit (this also applies to difficulty). A longer time limit means the energy bars of the players don't go down dramatically, even after huge power moves. This makes matches more difficult in my opinion because of the fact one player can dominate for 2 or even 3 minutes, and you can still come back if you play it smartly, or vice versa, and it also means that strategy is more important, as you will need to be able to run away. A shorter time limit makes the game more of a "TV" style, with matches lasting only a few minutes. The reason for this is that energy is eaten up more quickly with each move, meaning if a player gets off a few quick, damaging moves, the match is basically over, barring some really stupid playing by the person in the lead. My record for Medium difficulty, 30 minute matches was 3:20 using HHH against Shamrock. My record for Medium, 15 minute matches was 59 seconds, using my created player (the OLD Hulk Hogan ;) against Shamrock again--so there is a definite difference. Game modes include Challenge (basically a career mode), Tag Team, Tornado, Cage, War, Weapons. All these options have 2, 3, and 4 player options (war is 3 and 4 player only). Unfortunately, the rumoured Ladder Match was taken out, and the PSX version doesn't have a Royal Rumble. Unfortunately, these added matches would have given the game even more replay value than it already has. Now, onto the option which makes Warzone incredible, the Create-A-Player mode. This has to be the best aspect of the game (well--it's pretty even to actually playing). You can choose the character's Name, Theme Music, Personality, Moves, Attributes, and then when you actually make him/her (you need to unlock a code for Female), you can chose Body/Skin Type, Head (hair, accessories, etc), Upper Body (shirts, tanktops, accessories, tattoos!), and Lower Body (boots, pants, shorts, etc). The ability to create your favorite wrester who isn't in the game lends tremendous replay value, with the only gripe being that you cannot choose to customize moves, and can only choose from the 15 WWF stars, and 4 extra wrestlers.

Difficulty: 80
Easy mode is VERY easy, and good for learning. Medium is much more difficult than Easy, which means a few harder matches when you first switch (I would win Easy matches with a Green energy bar, whereas in Medium, I would still win, but my energy would be yellow or orange). In difficult mode I got my ass whupped, which is good--I'm still not good enough to win in the "bigs." 2 player mode is really fun, and this game has the multi-player aspect that made Goldeneye 007 so much fun.

Overall : 91
Overall, this has to be my favorite fighting game of all time, and one of my favorite games period. Great graphics (very good for PSX), excellent CD-quality sound, great gameplay and control, real wrasslin' atmosphere and the superb Create-a-player mode make this game a must have for wrestling fans, and even for non-fans. Warzone 2 should improve upon the little annoyances, such as no custom moves for your custom wrestler, missing modes [ladder, royal rumble, no tag championships (I've never seen a game with this actually: whats up with that?)] and the inability to choose your computer opponent (which isn't THAT significant in the end).

By: Shanny 8/10/98

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