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"WWF Betrayal" is a video game released for the Gameboy Color console in 2001 by THQ. It is based on the then World Wrestling Federation and its superstars. The ESRB panel in the United States gave the title a rating of "E" which deemed it suitable for all ages.
Unlike other traditional professional wrestling games where matches take place in the squared circle, Betrayal is a side-scrolling fighting game similar to titles such as "X-Men Mutant Wars". The story revolves around the character, namely a player's choice between popular stars such as The Rock or Triple H, being knocked out during a championship match and when he regains consciousness discovers the daughter of owner Vince McMahon captured and must find her to secure a rematch.
Gameplay is typical to other games of the genre and does not provide any sort of innovation. There does seem to be a sort of repetitiveness to the game as the attacks are identical between each character and only feature simple punches, kicks and drop-kick maneuvers. The player is able to execute his or her wrestler's signature move after an on-screen metre reaches a full charge which does add some variation, but the game is predominantly simple strikes. There is no sense of difficulty in this title with the enemies acting as mindless drones which don't react to the muscle bound onslaught which the wrestlers dish out; it can become very easy to complete the entire game with just one turn.
The graphics in this game are lackluster. There does appear to be good environmental detailing in the background but detailing of the actual characters is poor. I was not able to differentiate between the wrestlers with ease. The display, however, is reasonably colourful and makes a good use of the available technology to the console. The audio is comparably uninteresting with simple wrestling theme songs and "pop" effects when dealing a strike accompanying the player throughout.
Overall, Betrayal isn't the sort of game which I would find myself engaged with as a wrestling fan for a considerable period. It would likely be suitable for a younger audience due to the easy progression throughout the title and its simple controls.
Here on the Game Boy Color, THQ - with their WWF Betrayal title - turn their back on the wrestling genre to take a sensational stab at the scrolling beat-em-up!
The story goes - you are on the verge of winning the World Wrestling Federation's Heavyweight Championship only to be knocked unconcious by a "heel". Vince McMahon then grants you another shot at the title, but only should you manage to rescue Stephanie McMahon, who has been kidnapped.
Graphically, the deformed wrestlers don't look good - their posture is not natural and the animation is average. The backgrounds, despite the static crowd at the beginning, are not too bad - the scenery often repeats itself but each level looks nice. The action stays fairly clean with sprite flicker being slight amongst there being at most three enemies on screen at once. Audio-wise, the music is okay but the renditions of the wrestler themes are not great.
Given the wrestling background, it's disappointing that there is no grappling, with moves being limited to punch, kick, drop-kick, and a signature move as finisher. To say the fights are one-dimensional is not far from the truth. Enemies are quick to trade blows but there is no real scope for approach play and the boss battles become an exercise in button mashing. Both enemy and player are suspect to being stunned, of which the former in their numbers can capitilise on cheaply.
Running past smoking pipes, fighting on a lift and a neat transition to 2D stroll make up short, but hardly sweet, sections of the game. Unfortunately WWF Betrayal can be over within half an hour, yet the game opts for a needless password system over say, a scoreboard. The biggest blow being that there is no real difference between playing as the four wrestlers, and once the reversal of roles in the story has been found out there really is no incentive to replay WWF Betrayal. Luckily, I never pay much for games - this would have left me feeling cheated.