WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game Longplay (Arcade) [4K]
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Of all the (retro) licensed wrestling games I’ve played, I still consider this to be the absolute pinnacle. Even in an age where 3D was becoming all the rage, the quality and clarity of Midway’s digitisation techniques really shine here. Being able to recognise your favourite wrestlers, complete with costumes and attire, is vitally important, and that couldn’t really be achieved with 3D at the time.
Midway also nailed the gameplay, capturing the feel of the live bouts. Each wrestler has a roster of standard kicks, punches and throws, plus quite a number of special moves. Learning the combinations to unleash devastating combos, not to mention reversals to prevent yourself ending up face-first in the canvas, are vitally important, and is perhaps the one criticism I have of the game; with 5 buttons and so many moves, games more often descend into bouts of button mashing and furious stick waggling than demonstrations of serious skill.
Gripes aside, this really is a great arcade game. Slapping opponents silly, accompanied by play-by-play commentary from the ringside colour commentators, is great fun and highly recommended!