WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling
STOMP A FRIEND TODAY!
How 'bout Vader's Power Bomb or Ravishing Rick Rude's Rude Awakening to do the trick? A Figure Four Leg Lock by "Nature Boy" Ric Flair might make you feel good. Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat will take you on a ride you won't forget. And Johnny B. Badd's just waitin' to get you good. You wanna step into the ring-shoes of Ron Simmons, Flyin' Brian, Barry Windham, and Sting? Use the signature moves of "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes? Well quit dreamin' and get in the ring. Wrestle the great ones in individual or tag team action. With dozens of classic moves plus each man's signature moves, its the most realistic action encounter you'll find this side of the square circle. These are the guys you watch on television's WCW ProWrestling, WCW Main Event, and WCW WORLDWIDE. And Tony Schiavone, America's premier TV wrestling voice, announces every match. Cmon, Rick "Dogface Gremlin" and Scott Steiner are ready to go a bout with you and a friend, or...you be them. Be 'em all - give yourself a Super Brawl!
WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling was developed by Beam Software and published by FCI, Inc in November 1994. I told the story in my first review of this game of me walking into Speedy's Video one Saturday morning and first seeing this game on the shelf, just waiting to be rented by me! It was a great weekend for 14-year-old me, that's for sure. Now, I won't lie and say that this game is fun to play because it really isn't. It has it's shining moments, though.
One shining moment would be the way that this game gets you excited to play it, right off the bat with the title screen. We see a "control room" with the WCW logo on one of the monitors. As the camera zooms in, Tony Schiavone's actual digitized voice informs us, "Ladies and gentleman! FCI presents WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling!". Having his digitized voice and any sort of commentary on a wrestling game was basically unheard of at the time. Congrats to the developers at Beam Software for being able to pull that off.
Speaking of digitized voices; we now come to the most classic part of the game (for me) - the animated wrestler select screen. Instead of still pictures representing the roster, like all other games had at the time, the wrestlers here were "brought to life" by the use of animated gifs (or whatever the 1994 equivalent was) and... mostly their own digitized voices. Some wrestlers like the Steiner Brothers' and Ron Simmons' voices seem like they may have been "faked" and not their actual voice. It is worth mentioning, though, that however great the roster for this game is (and it is pretty decent), it's also outdated for its time of release. The Steiner Brothers had already departed for the WWF way before this game came out. Still, for what it's worth, you don't get a more classic wrestler select screen than this in any other wrestling game, hands down.
Now we get to actually play the game, which is sadly where this game takes a dive. It's just not that polished or fun to play. All of the wrestlers share a moveset and play exactly the same except for their respective finishing moves. The animations are also pretty stiff looking and it's hard to line your wrestler up with your opponent to even perform moves at times. It gets a little frustrating.
Speaking of the finishers; since this game apparently doesn't recognize submissions as a valid way to win a match (I'm saying this because Ric Flair's figure four is the only submission move in the game and it's not even handled properly), when Ric Flair applies his patented figure four leglock, there is no submission involved. The ref simply begins to count to ten and if he reaches ten; you're considered defeated. Odd rule change, but I guess this is WCW we're talking about. Randomly performing a ten count on a submission, completely ignoring whether the wrestler is actually submitting or not could be considered a fairly standard "WCW finish", sadly.
The game does look good, though, aside from the stiff animations. The wrestlers themselves all look pretty decent although Vader looks a little "off". The crowd is also surprisingly detailed. Schiavone's commentary and the wrestlers spouting their catchphrases while they perform their finishes is a really nice touch. It adds a lot of much-needed personality to this game.
Hmmm... the presentation of this game is really good but the game itself is pretty bad; I guess that would mean this game is the epitome of JR's old catchphrase, "all sizzle and no steak." This game is not the GOAT of 16-bit wrestling games by a long shot, but it will always be remembered fondly by me. The sizzle was enough to sell the steak to this 14-year-old at the time. Also, WCW games were far more rarely released than their WWF counterparts. There was only one WCW game released for the NES and this is the only WCW game released for the SNES compared to numerous WWF releases on both consoles. That means if you were a WCW fan like me and wanted to play as Sting, Flair, and Vader; you have to just play this and make the best of it.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!