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WCW Mayhem (N64)
WCW Mayhem (N64)
Member Name: thole09
WCW Mayhem (N64)
Advantages: Backstage areas
Disadvantages: Limited move set, repetitive audio
"WCW Mayhem" is a professional wrestling video game. It was first released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999 by EA Sports. In the United States, the game received a guidance rating of "T" which deemed it appropriate for ages 13 and above.
Suffering from the constraints of a rushed development to meet a very hyped release date in the United States, WCW Mayhem was the first "WCW" licensed pro wrestling attempt by EA Sports. Its developers implemented many unique features at the time of release which include events such as venturing into the backstage area where wrestlers are allowed to pummel one another with foreign objects. Unfortunately, this aspect of the video game is very primitive and suffers from repetitive backstage imagery and object placement despite including customizable wrestling rings and arenas to reflect WCW's pay per view and weekly broadcasts. This also forces the gaming experience into a "hardcore" style of play by default where falls count anywhere and no disqualifications are observed. This may appeal to those seeking a more fast and furious arcade style video game, though there are very few examples of this in the wrestling genre and as a player I found the sudden change of pace to be rather out of place.
As with all professional wrestling video games, the objective is to pound one's opponent into defeat either by a 3 count pinfall or successful submission hold. This is accomplished by accessing one of three gameplay modes which include the "quick start" exhibition mode, the "main event" mode, and the "quest for the best" mode. The first two modes are identical with the only difference being additional match functions such as tag team bouts and battle royals being made available for the "main event". The latter option is similar to a career mode of play as the player selects one wrestler and competes in a series of matches to rank at the top of a competitive ladder. Successful completion of this mode also unlocks hidden characters which are then usable in the exhibition and main event modes. In actuality, each of the 54 active wrestlers suffer from a similar move list which is in itself restricted to three maneuvers for each of the four action buttons. I also noted the computer opponents to be very unresponsive. Even on the most difficult of settings, several opponents would willingly allow me to strike and throw them around the wrestling ring with little by the way of a reaction. This makes for a very easy gameplay experience and didn't engage my mind all that much.
The graphics are presented from an overhead isometric perspective, though will dynamically pan during powerful holds and maneuvers. Simple yet effective could best describe the visuals in this video game. The wrestlers appear similar to their on screen real life counterparts, though some of the more muscular men sport a jagged "blockiness" to their physiques which does them no justice. The animations are smooth and I didn't notice any obvious slowdown when playing. The soundtrack is likewise good. Mayhem is accompanied by commentary outbursts from play by play specialist Tony Schiavone, though his fragmented speech is often repetitive and sometimes makes direct references to Bobby Heenan who was not included in the soundtrack. Gene Okerlund is also present as a voice actor in the game though his presence is limited to ring introductions which overlay the looping, short winded theme tunes.
WCW Mayhem is perhaps a title which may appeal to more involved professional wrestling fans. It is a fast and frantic experience which turns away from the more methodical and strategic games which a lot of players may be used to. It is something I enjoy every so often, and thus is not a title I would recommend for regular play.
Summary: Thumbs in the middle
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