“ This wrestling game for up to two players (simultaneously) was developed by Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim. „
WWF: WrestleMania (The Arcade Game) is a game released to the personal computer in 1995 by Midway Games. It is loosely based on the annual professional wrestling event of the same name. At the time of release, the minimum system requirements were to use any CPU capable of 25 MHZ, 8 MB RAM, 3 MB Free hard disk space and an on-board video controller capable of VGA graphics. For gameplay on more modern computers, it would be necessary for the player to use a DOS emulation program such as "DOSBox".
The objective of the game is to compete in a tournament style for either the (then) WWF Intercontinental championship or WWF Championship. Players select from a roster of eight wrestlers including Bret Hart, Doink The Clown, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker or from the now deceased Bam Bam Bigelow or Yokozuna. Players progress through a series of head to head matches against computer controlled opponents at varying levels of difficulty. The player is able to select a preferred difficulty from the "options", ranging from very easy to very hard, but this appears to have little impact on actual gameplay as the tournament becomes progressively difficult throughout play. There is also the option to utilize an in-person second player with the two modes being head to head or cooperative play towards the (then) WWF Tag Team Championship.
The game bears striking resemblances to the popular "Mortal Kombat" game series. Rather than being a more traditional professional wrestling game, WrestleMania leans more towards being a fighting title. Each wrestler is equipped with signature moves and certain objects which compliments the wrestler's persona; Doink the Clown has a hand-held buzzer which may electrocute an opponent. WrestleMania appears to be more of a "button smashing" striking game as opposed to the more widely seen tie-ups and throws.
Gameplay handles like a more traditional arcade game. Many joysticks at the time were only capable of linear movement, up to down and left to right, and this is apparent within WrestleMania. When attempting to make a diagonal direction move, the on screen character will move in a series of single direction movements (down, left, down, left for example). This may present some challenge to those used to free directional movement but the playing area is very small and does not require vast amounts of movement to engage in combat. It is a generally easy game to complete but does require some skill in executing the various attack combinations for more "lethal" strikes. These can be learned swiftly from the included user manual if purchasing the full boxed retail set.
Graphics do not present much effort by the way of detailing but this was common for computer games at the time due to the lower "VGA" technology. Appropriate colouring was used for each wrestler and each featured appropriate attire, such as Bam Bam Bigelow's common outfit designed with numerous flames. The sound is very much a high point on this recording as despite its minimal technology at the time in this department, each sound comes across as being clear and audible for its intended purpose; The various smashes and bangs ring through at appropriate moments.
There is some element of replay value to this title. It may not appeal for extended periods of time but for the period of learning various strikes and holds does remain entertaining. It is likely that the second player option would be the only viable gameplay mode in today's computing.
WWF: WrestleMania (The Arcade Game) is a respectable title in its own right and remained a great gaming experience in its time. It is still enjoyable under today's conditions but may not appeal to those interested solely in multiplayer match-ups.