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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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WIRTB Review: Wrestling Video Games

Hello and welcome to a bonus episode (cam we call them episodes really?) of WIRTB Review, the column on EyesontheRing.com where I, SOTB!!!, review the crap so you don't have to determine in order to answer the now-month-old question: was it really that bad? My God, that was one mammoth run-on. To avoid jumping out of the 13th floor, I'm taking a break from Souled Out to dust off the titty box and play some shittastic wrasslin' video games to determine if they've really gotten a bad rap over time, because on top of wrestling and hip-hop, I'm a gamer. Games like MicroLeague Wrestling are skipped over because, well, I'm looking at more so games where it's about the action in-ring, not the WWE Supercard, 1980s Edition craziness.

First up? 2001's Betrayal. So, Betrayal is like River City Ransom...if you took every ounce of what made RCR a classic game, loaded it with WWF licenses (that still couldn't be fully used because this was a Game Boy Color game), and removed any sort of rhyme, reason, logic, etc. from the game. It's loosely based on the "who kidnapped Stephanie?" storyline (from 1999). And when I say loosely, I mean "Vince promises a title shot to whomever finds Steph, who's been kidnapped by The Powers that Be (or someone), which leads you--as either SCSA, American Badass Taker, The Rock, or Trips--to beat up announcers, refs, corporate suits who shoot people with briefcases, and everyone in between to find Stephanie."

You, after beating the beejeebus out of everything in sight, beat your rival on top of, I guess, Titan Towers, for the WWF Championship and save Steph. In the playthrough below, SCSA faces off against Triple H. Once you win, you get a static image of the Eagle Belt and a MIDI version of your theme plays. This game is fun...if your idea of fun is not using your brain and beating Undertaker with a glass dick--I mean a metal pipe (even still, not helping). It's pretty bad. But, I'm still alive and well.

Next, we travel back to the 1990s (I got my wish from Souled Out 1997's WIRTB Review) to play WWF: In Your House. Have you ever wondered what'd happened if Vince, in his "I'm still hip and cool goddamit!" mindset, bought the Mortal Kombat franchise, slapped John Cena on the--oh...yeah...

Well, for IYH, imagine Immortals, take out the swipey-swipe fighting and replace it with a broken combat engine which was already older to begin with (see, this is why people laugh at Acclaim these days looking back on their franchises). It features Taker throwing fireballs, Ahmed Johnson throwing energy balls like Black Goku, Owen Hart throwing energy discs made of playing cards (?) and Goldust doing his self-molesting thing.

I can think of better ways to waste an hour. Such as playing the original Mortal Kombat or, I don't know, drinking bleach for breakfast. 

2011's WWE All-Stars is what happens when WWE does the Def Jam: Icon thing (kinda), tries to do it better, and still fails miserably. Why? Well, for starters, let's talk about DJI.

It's a flawed game, almost as flawed as can be. Hell, you have Lil' Jon fighting Muay Thai (kinda) against Fat Joe. There's no reasoning behind any of this, aside from street politics (which, in the Def Jam world, that's all you need) and some Empire-meets-Final Fantasy-on-coke-level storywriting. It sounds amazing, but it's really not. At all. At least Empire, as godawfully soap opera-like as it can be, knows it can be corny. DJI legitimately tries to be serious, at all times, with everything--including treating Melyssa Ford as your digital plaything (as far as EA and Def Jam'd let it go, by the way).

But, as flawed as DJI was/is, it was at least fun beating the fuck out of a fake Lil' Wayne with Ludacris or using the living, breathing environment to stomp out your opponent by throwing speakers and gas pumps on some telekinetic insanity (called "switching" and "scratching"). That and we got some hackneyed social commentary. Besides, at least the Def Jam series originated from the same people who did some of the old-school WCW/WWF games, AKI. So, they kind of knew what they were doing (even with Icon).

But, back to All-Stars. 

All-Stars is like the bareknuckles DLC for Fight Night Champion, expanded to a whole game with just bareknuckle fighting and absolutely nothing else, sold at full-price, and made so everyone looks and plays the same. Aside from finishers, literally everyone plays the same or close to the same. It's like passing off the original Street Fighter as the new, new shit today. I'm not even talking the Street Fighter with Chun-Li's first appearance (II, by the way). I'm talking the one with Retsu and Adon and shit. 

TNA doesn't escape the (Barrett) barrage of fuckery, by the way.

2008's TNA iMPACT! was supposed to be the game that made people say "oh, hey, TNA is better than WWE." It had better graphics, it had more wrestlers people'd want to play as, it was the better promotion at the time. Yeah, I said it. In 2007, 2008, TNA was better than WWE. But, this game, was crap. First of all, it was in development for two years, but still floundered where it counted (physics, depth, etc.), just like last year's WWE 2K15.  However, at least 2K15 had a semblance of a story mode (as shallow as it was). All iMPACT! has is a dated system, talent that isn't even with the company anymore (and not just on some CM Punk/Alberto El Patron shit), glitches out the ass (some even more laughable than 2K15) and an overall infinite sadness. But at least Low Ki got into a video game, amirite?

The Backyard Wrestling series gets a lot of flack from gamers and wrestling fans alike.

But, it had everything that late-90s/early-2000s wrestling fans could want. Swearing, blood, ECW alumni, titties! There was no way this game could've failed, right? Well, the games sucked more dick than a dick-sucking sandwich sandwiched between two chicks who live to suck dick. Sexism aside, just no. It was glitchtastic, the graphics were horrid, just everything about it screamed "we ran out of ideas. Quick, let's go bend over a cash cow, milk it for that last curdled drop, and put something out." At least we got John Zandig in a video game.

Finally, let's just agree that most of the WCW games were trash. I don't think we need to run down the list of horrible games because fuck that, I still need to save room for Souled Out 1998, 1999, and 2000.


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