American Tag Team Wrestling
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*Sighs*... you'll have to excuse me by starting off this review by sighing but, yeah, that's what kind of review this is going to be. After being a gamer for as long as I have, sometimes I begin to think that I've seen the worst of the worst but then I'll end up unearthing some atrocity like this and the bar will be forever set even lower while I just blankly stare at the screen in disbelief while shaking my head. You wanna see how bad it can get, friends? Come, join me and find out...
I've always had the opinion that consoles have always had superior pro wrestling games over PCs (or whatever the hell you call those old computers back in the day. I don't think they're technically "PCs" but that's what I'm going with for simplicity's sake). Those of us that had consoles in the 8-bit and 16-bit era were treated to some of the most classic pro wrestling titles like Pro Wrestling, Tecmo World Wrestling, WCW SuperBrawl and the 16-bit WWF classics. Meanwhile, if you had a computer, you're stuck playing things like Sgt. Slaughters Mat Wars, WWF Micro League Wrestling or this abomination of a game that we're talking about today. I feel for you computer nerds of the 80s and early 90s. I never knew what you had to go through back then.
Firstly, I assume the choice of adding the word "American" onto the title of this game is not only to distinguish it from Technos' similarly, generically titled Tag Team Wrestling but also because this game was developed by a British company. From my hours logged watching classic World Of Sport wrestling action from the UK; I can tell you that tag team matches were a very rare thing at the time as far as British wrestling went.
The developers I mentioned who are responsible for this tragedy is Zeppelin Games and believe me, this would not be the last time that they would unleash their personal brand of garbage to the gaming world. Believe it or not, the company somehow stayed fairly active over the years and they're even the ones responsible for unleashing the (almost) universally panned, Ride To Hell: Retribution in 2013.
Well, once we get down to actually playing this "game," the title screen features someone who could be either male or female (the ring attire looks particularly feminine) appearing to caress the face and stare deep into the eyes of someone who appears to be wearing something that resembles the classic "Scream" mask. Considering this game predates Scream, I'm not really sure what they were going for here. The title screen also features the song for the game. You read that correctly; "the song." This game only features one bit of music that is used exclusively on the title screen. The rest of the game is altogether pretty quiet.
Moving on to the ever-silent wrestler select screen; we can see which teams we have to choose from to represent us in the ring. The team names and "profile pictures" of the wrestlers are pretty weird and interesting. One of the very few highlights of the game, really. Some of the teams include The Mad Corpses, Ratman and Bobbin, Bob and Dead Frank, and The Trashed Men.
Once the matches begin, everything (at least whatever it is that was there) falls apart. First, again there's silence, more or less. There's no music, no grunts and groans, and no crowd noise. I think there are literally two punch/kick sound effects programmed into the game just to keep it from being a completely silent playthrough, I would assume. Pretty lazy.
The crowd does, however, look very realistic but that is to say that they look motionless and bored to death watching this (lack of) action. Also, despite the wrestlers' amusing profile pictures, once they get into the ring, everyone looks the same! It's always one set of generic looking "twins" in green tights versus another set of generic looking "twins" in purple tights. It's ridiculous and lazy, really. Why bother to put all the different wrestling personas on the roster if you're not going to represent them in the ring?
Finally, the gameplay is about as terrible as you would expect. There doesn't seem to hardly any grappling moves available and you spend most of the matches just trading punches with your opponent; looking like Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama in a PRIDE FC ring, but far less epic. With all of the different wrestlers being represented in-ring by the same four character models and playing exactly the same; who even cares to play longer than five minutes or so? There's nothing to look at. There's no strategy for the matches. It's just pointless.
Again, I feel for you "computer nerds" of the 80s and 90s because of the games you were stuck playing on your Amiga or Commodore 64 while my friends and I were playing the classics. I almost feel as though there should be a charity set up in your honor for having to play through these atrocities. This game honestly should have never been slapped together and rushed to market; budget title or not.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!