I watched the Chart Show this morning and it was pretty crap, but the adverts in between were quite good. There was one for an early '80s dance soul compilation that looked really smart. Then there was an ad for a Gladiators album which was full of the kind of rockin' stuff that accompanies a wrestler into the ring. This, in a somewhat roundabout manner, brings me to my point which is that wrestling and spin-offs, like the Gladiators, are big busineess at the moment. There was even a big hairy chap on Good Morning With Anne and Nick. Makes you think.
No trend goes unnoticed by the software houses, as soon as any character/trend becomes worthy of the kids' notice the software houses are in there like a shot, hence the recent spate of wrestling games. We've had WWF Wrestlemania, Tag Team Wrestling, Popeye 3 and now the Codies have thrown in their twopenny's worth with Wrestling Superstars. The Codies are a bit of a disadvantage here in that their game is the most recent release and so it's obviously going to be judged with the previous releases in mind.
A BIT OF SLAP AND TICKLE
Wrestling Superstars is a straightforward wrestling game, no two-player option, no tag teams, just straightforward jumping, punching and kicking. Oh and lots and lots of waggling. Hang on a bit, make that lots and lots and lots of waggling. You play the Darling Dude and your four opponents are true pantomime-style villains. You no out into the ring and duff them up, sometimes they duff you up, and that's it.
Wrestling Superstars is a waggler, a fact guaranteed to put off some people. If you don't like waggling, or your Speccy, you can always use the keys. Unless you're a fan of waggling, and I for one am not, then taking on the computer opponents isn't much fun. What this game really needs is a two-player option, without it the game degenerates into a lonely wagglefest.
There's nothing wrong with Wrestling Superstars, it's just that it gets a bit dull after a while. My only other reservation is the fact that it looks a bit cheap. There isn't a menu to follow, just a horizontally scrolling line which tells you to press fire. There's no high score table either, instead the stroller displays the single highest score. Cheapskates!
On the plus side (it's always nice to end on a cheery note!) the game plays well. The controls are easy to use, the wrestlers are clear enough to see at all times and they're as well drawn as any others we've seen lately.
I suppose you can't really complain for four squids ... (But you already have. Jonathan)... but I already have. (Ahem.) in summation, Wrestling Superstars is steering well clear of brilliance, but it's all right.
Aaaaaannnnnddddd now, weighing in at an unfeasably large amount, it's the celtic crusher, BiiiiiiGGGG Al' Dykesssss! (fanfare, cheers, wolf whistles). And his opponent tonight, all the way from Brum, Garrrrthy 'Stubble' Sumpterrrrrrrrrrrr! (Boo, hiss, belch).
Ah yes, the SU Towers office Christmas party was a wonderous affair. All manner of cocktails and beers (non-alcoholic of course) were drunk and all sorts of boisterous male bonding type pranks were engaged in, not to mention the all the female bonding buffoonery! But then we had a lot of practice beforehand 'cos good old Codies sent us Wrestling Superstars along with a couple of bottles of pop and a note saying 'this is good'.
Basically Wrestling Superstars looks a lot like every other wrestling game we've ever reviewed. There's a ring, there's some wrestlers, there's a clock, and there's a lot of moves.
There's also no surprises and anyone who's layed their grubby, sweaty paws on WWF Wrestlemania or Tag Team Wrestling will not be in the dark as far as the fighting goes.
By pressing fire you can thump, pushing forward and pressing fire enables you to kick, pushing up and pressing fire does a knee jump and you can also bounce off the ropes and jump kick, swing your opponents in the air and throw them or pin them down. There's no lack of moves but there is a lack of real challenge, certainly in the first two fighters.
You play the part of The Darling Dude and there are four other really nasty wrestlers to defeat. The first two, Skullbasher Bob and Knuckle Buster Nick are really easy to thrash. However by the time you get to The Masked Marauder your arms begin to ache and the going gets tougher. Still, if you're determined, you'll soon finish him off along with the Golden Guy, and the game ends rather too quickly. Though this could also have be said about WWF or Tag Team.
The quality of the graphics is fairly good, nothing awe inspiring though. Basically black sprite outlines drawn on blue with a bit of black, white, yellow and red around the outside and in the power guages, what more can I say. The main sprites move quickly and look reasonably good though their thumps and kicks just don't look vicious enough.
Overall Wrestling Superstars is an amusing wrestling sim that differs little from its predecessors, except for its lack of originality. If you really need to exercise your joystick hand then it's ideal (it'll wear it out) but for reasons of lastability I wonder if this game is really worth it.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes
STEVE: No where near as exciting as WWF, but then it's not a full price title. I can't help feeling that this game is just cashing in on the success of the other wrestling games 'cos there's nothing new or original about it except the wrestling characters themselves.
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