Game Boy Color
"Uncover the mystery and restore the championship. Stephanie McMahon Helmsley has been kidnapped and Vince will give the championship to whoever can bring her back. Do you have what it takes to find Stephanie and secure the championship?"
WWF Betrayal is a game that was under my radar for a long time. For one reason or another, I never even realized it existed until recently. I was excited when I discovered it, though, because I'm a huge fan of beat-'em-ups like Sengoku, Streets Of Rage, and Double Dragon. Even the Scott Pilgrim vs the World game was amazing. Too bad that one is "out of print" and not available for purchase anymore. Man, I REALLY wish I still had my old hard drive with Scott Pilgrim installed.
Anyways, you may be asking what all of that has to do with this? Well, WWF Betrayal isn't your typical pro wrestling game. It's a beat-'em-up like the other classic games I listed. We'll have to see how fun it actually is to play, though. I'm not expecting River City Ransom type of quality here but I'm hoping for the best.
WWF Betrayal was published by the folks at Toy Headquarters (in case you ever wondered what THQ stood for) and developed by WayForward Technologies. WayForward has been around since 1990 and they still release a quality game every now and then like the remastered versions of A Boy And His Blob (2009) and Duck Tales: Remastered (2013). Their most recent game was The Mummy Demastered (2017) based on the 2017 film, The Mummy. Hopefully, they'll bring a touch of quality to this obscure brawler.
This game is roughly based on the "Stephanie McMahon gets kidnapped" angle, circa 1999. You can choose to play as one of four different Superstars which may not sound like much but having four characters on a beat-'em-up is actually pretty good. You're usually lucky to be able to pick from only two or three characters so four's not bad at all.
The superstars you can choose from are Triple H, The Rock, Steve Austin, and The Undertaker. Well, my least favorite version of The Undertaker anyway; here, you're stuck playing as the choke-slamming American Badass as opposed to the tombstoning Dead Man. Once you pick your superstar, the other superstars become your rivals in the story. Whoemver you choose, the story pretty much stays the same but the superstars' roles are swapped and some of the dialogue changes. That helps the replay value a little.
On my playthrough, I chose HHH which made The Rock the WWF Champion and my main rival and Steve Austin his partner in this devious plot. The game started with HHH and The Rock already in the midst of a title match. All of a sudden, someone throws a trash can into the ring, hitting HHH on the back of the head. That causes The Rock to punish HHH with a Rock Bottom and then leave the ring; revealing Stone Cold to be the "trash can thrower". Both of them then threaten me in some vague, PG-friendly way as they run off.
As I give chase, I run into two rogue referees, trying to stop me. Obviously, being HHH, I run through them with little effort. Let's say they were Nick Patrick and Mike Chioda. Yeah, I always did wanna slap the piss outta Chioda. I have my reasons.
After whooping a couple of zebras, we find ourselves face to face with the man, himself, Vinnie Mac. He explains to us that not only did The Rock and Stone Cold steal the WWF title, they also kidnapped poor Stephanie and he promises to give us a title shot if we can bring her back safely. Only a title shot, mind you. He's not planning on firing the two lowlifes that stole his property AND kidnapped his daughter or even having them arrested. He's not even planning on stripping The Rock of the title. He's just gonna give us a "title shot." Oh, well. I'll take what I can get, I guess.
Before we get further into the story, I want to take time to talk about the look and feel of the game. First, the graphics aren't terrible but they're also not great. The environments of the early levels are pretty bland but it does pick up towards the end. The character models for our superstars here are a little different but it works in a "cartoony" sort of way. I did notice that most characters when standing still, appear to be constantly thrusting their crotch in a suggestive manner. It's hard to explain but you'll know it when you see it. The enemies are a little strange but that's sort of a selling point for a lot of beat-'em-ups. Nothing wrong with interesting enemies.
In this game, we're treated with the aforementioned rogue referees, deranged security guards with metal pipes and tasers, prostitutes?, and someone dressed in green who could possibly be Sgt. Slaughter. Maybe ol' Bob still does roam the grounds of Titan Towers.
The controls for this game are great! They're simple and straightforward; just like a brawler should be. You can punch, kick, and utilize various weapons that the enemies drop. After a few attacks, your "special meter" is filled up and then you can do your superstars "finishing move". Giving your attackers a well-timed Pedigree is pretty exciting, I must say.
Getting back to the story, after you battle your way out of the backstage of an arena, you fight through a parking garage and down various streets until you make your way into Titan Towers itself. Here, there's a twist to the story that you can probably figure out ahead of time even if you've only been a wrestling fan for six months or so.
After this "Dusty finish," you go to the rooftop of Titan Towers to rescue Stephanie once and for all. If you beat the champ on the rooftop; you're awarded the WWF World Championship. Apparently, the WWF title was just decided in a life or death streetfight on the roof of Titan Towers. Stranger things have happened in the WWE universe, I suppose.
I'm really glad that I finally discovered this game. It's a great time waster, especially as a handheld title that you can take anywhere. It's nice to have a pro wrestling game that's not just strictly "pro wrestling" but one that delivers something a little different. It takes a little while to get through the story and you can even play through it a few times with the different superstars without it getting too stale. Truly a hidden gem for the Game Boy Color.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!