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Legends of Wrestling

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Acclaim
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

Despite the low-res crowds and lack of pyrotechnics, the graphics in Legends of Wrestling aren't too bad. The character models are really the things to look at. Unfortunately, their style is questionable. Either they're poor representations of their real life counterparts, or they are meant to be 3D exaggerations. Hulk Hogan's chest looks like it's 5 foot across, and some of the other wrestlers look like topless women (very, very ugly women, that is). Despite the look, the movement and animations are smooth and have few glitches.

Most of the music you'll hear will be entrance music. There are plenty of tracks, but once the match starts, the music stops, leaving the fighting pretty emotionless save for the jeering crowd. Apart from the music they provide, when you create a wrestler, you can choose from any song on your Xbox hard drive for entrance music, but again that's the only time you'll hear it. And once the bout starts, your ears will be exposed to a not-so-diverse set of sound effects. All of the hits and slams aren't too far off from each other, ending up in a very lackluster audio performance.


Gameplay:

If you haven't seen wrestling on TV, you probably won't be reading this and the chances of you owning the game are even less likely. However, hardcore fans should feel right at home here. Legends of Wrestling gives the player just what the title states. Old time wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, The Sheik, Ted DiBiase, and the Road Warriors, to name a few, all make an appearance here, along with all of their trademark looks and moves. All in all there are over 40 different wrestlers to choose from, which is no small feat for a fighting game.

At the start of the game you have a few choices. Most of the wrestlers are available to use, but some must be unlocked through the Career mode. Here, you take a wrestler on a tour of the country in hopes of winning the sacred championship belt. After becoming the United States champion, you get to move into the World Region for a shot at the Ultimate Heavyweight Belt.

If you don't feel like going through that whole mess, Exhibition and Tournament modes will get you into the action quickly. Either of these can be played solo or as a variation of tag team matches, offering a good helping of options and some decent replayability.

Everyone likes to personalize their character, and LoW allows you to do this to an extremely high degree. The Create a Legend mode gives you a veritable lump of clay that you can mold into the ideal wrestler. Almost everything can be customized, including moves, body size, costume, and even who the managers will be.


Difficulty:

Whether or not you're into wrestling, Legends of Wrestling is an easy game. And perhaps too easy, as the enemy AI isn't all that good. You have to advance pretty far in the Career mode before you really meet your match. Despite there being different moves for each wrestler, you won't really get great with one while playing horribly with another. Anybody will do, and it just turns into which one is your favorite based on stage presence instead of style.

Game Mechanics:

The control seems a little awkward at first, but gets more manageable with practice. Every wrestler basically has 3 main attacks: Strike, Attack and Grapple. The strike and attack have three degrees of severity: weak, medium and strong. From the grapple you can perform a number of moves, including various throws and whips. Moves from the turnbuckle are also possible, though not everyone can perform them.

Aside from the basic one on one action, you can get help from your partner (if it is a tag match), manager, the ropes on the ring, or a weapon from under the mat. You can't be disqualified, so dirty play is always encouraged and usually rewarded with a fallen opponent.

Some problems occur when you get involved with tag matches. Your wrestler's focus tends to be on the wrong guy, who is usually sitting outside of the ring, while the guy inside the ring pounds you, and there is no easy way to switch who you are attacking. This, a poor AI system, and lackluster bells and whistles don't help out Legends of Wrestling very much. Unless you're a hardcore fan, you'll probably want to steer clear of this title.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated