I’m a big fan of the Nintendo 64 professional wrestling games. It helped that I was really into actual professional wrestling at the time and it’s almost embarrassing to say I still watch it today….. every week, many times a week. Anyway this post isn’t about wrestling on TV; it’s about the N64 games that I spent many a day playing with friends when I was younger and even today. I guess it all started for me with WCW vs. NWO World Tour.
It came out in 1997 and was put out by THQ. Asmik Ace and AKI produced the game. The grappling system and easy, basic controls were what made it enjoyable for gamers (which were probably mostly wrestling fans like myself). It didn’t have many “extras” besides just the usual single, tag team, and battle royal matches. The game was big into the whole NWO angle that was airing on TV at the time. So you had your usual WCW wrestlers and then the bad guy NWO wrestlers. They even threw in some Japanese guys to spice things up a bit. Usually if you picked one of those guys, it was because you liked to laugh at them. Who seriously wants to play as Sumo Jo or Kim Chee? It was a fun game but it was only in the beginning stages of evolution.
WCW/NWO Revenge was released in 1998 as a sequel of sorts to World Tour. This is probably my favorite of all the N64 wrestling titles. It was the first game to feature a battle royal where eliminations were caused by knocking a wrestler out of the ring. The 4-player mode I still play to this day, almost 10 years later. Once you are eliminated you can keep coming back as different wrestlers usually in a random order which makes it fun to see who’s gonna come running out. It might even be better now 10 years later because you get to see all the old school wrestlers from back in the day. Basically its good for laughs. Like if someone comes out as Eric Bischoff, Dake Ken, or Brickowski then you just make fun of them and throw them right out of the ring. It would be the ultimate insult if someone won the match as one of these jabronies.
The game also had unique finishers, big entrances, valets/managers, a cartoon referee, and all kinds of new moves. But unfortunately it was the last of the series for WCW because THQ went to work with the WWF.
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 followed in 1999 and WWF No Mercy in 2000. They were basically the same games as the WCW ones with the usual adjustments here and there. The major one was Create-A-Wrestler Mode with all kinds of specifications in order to make wrestlers not originally in the game, celebrities, random people you know, or even YOU! Everyone probably tried creating themselves and winning the World Title, I know I did. I think I won all the titles as myself, just picture that in real wrestling…. One guy coming out to the ring with every title possible. It would never happen. The one major disappointment with the WWF games is that they did away with all the Japanese guys so there was no longer anyone to laugh at…. Unless you unlocked JR or Michael Cole and had to be them in the Rumble. That’s always funny.
Unfortunately that was the end of the professional wrestling games for N64. The GameCube, PS2, and Xbox games were never the same. They didn’t bring the same fun and excitement simply because they did away with the 40 man battle royal where you could keep coming back as different wrestlers. Even the controls and grappling were a little different from time to time. Here’s to hoping the new one announced for the Wii will bring it back. I’ll have to start a petition or something.
Who the hell am I kidding? I’m gonna buy it regardless.