WWF European Rampage Tour
Ever since I invested in my first gaming laptop a couple of years ago; I enjoy going back and revisiting classic PC games from my younger days or perhaps even discovering a new favorite that I hadn't played before. Steam is a great service for keeping classic PC games alive and playable on modern computers but some games, like the one we're taking a look at today, aren't even available on that platform. I thought it was worth me digging a little deeper to search this one out, though, so we can experience one of the lesser-known WWF games of the early-90s.
WWF European Rampage Tour was developed by Arc Developments and published by Ocean Software for the European market in 1992. As far as I know; it was never published outside of Europe. Ocean had previously released a WWF game, WrestleMania, to the European market in 1991 and was hoping to further capitalize on that success with this follow-up title. Ocean's "WrestleMania" is yet another WWF game with that particular title but it's a different game than all of the other WrestleMania's we've taken a look at here so perhaps we'll cover that game as well at some point in the future. Both this game and WrestleMania were released for computers that still dominated the European market at the time - Amiga, Atari ST, and Commodore 64. There was also an MS-DOS release which is the version that I'm playing.
I have to admit, when I fired this game up, I was a little blindsided by how nice the graphics look. Maybe not "Seth Rollins walking down the entranceway towards the back at a Raw event blindsided" but blindsided nonetheless. The "attract mode" (as you call it in arcade games) even shows digitized pictures of the wrestlers you can choose to play as in the game. The wrestlers on the actual wrestler select screen look really nice and detailed as well with huge profile pics to represent each one. To be fair, the profile pics are huge because you can only select between four wrestlers... but it is what it is.
In this game, you must compete as a tag team and the four selectable superstars are Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, and the "pre-grumpy old man version" of Bret Hart. This makes for at least a few interesting choices. You can be The Mega Powers (Hogan and Savage) or the lesser mentioned, The Ultimate Maniacs (Savage and Warrior). Also, you can't go wrong having The Excellence Of Execution team up with anyone. Our choices may be slim but at least we can make up some quality teams given what we have to work with.
Once you choose your team, you have to compete against the three biggest heel teams of the era - The Nasty Boys, The Natural Disasters and, Money Inc, winning three times against each team. These matches take place at The Britannic Arena in London, England, The Deutsche Nationale Arena in Munich, Germany, and Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, France. If you make it through all of these matches then you get a title shot against the legendary LOD; the Legion Of Doom, the Road Warriors. Before each series of matches at a given arena, Sean Mooney does a little pre-match introduction which granted, is a nice touch. For what it's worth, his character model and animations also look very well done.
As far as playing the game goes; it's nowhere near as pretty as the graphics. I've never been great at controlling games with a keyboard but I feel that even if I was; this game would still barely be playable. Pulling off successful moves seems to be hit and miss and there really aren't many moves to be done in the first place. All of the superstars seem to more or less share the same move-set which was sometimes commonplace during this era when it came to "sub-par" wrestling games. Old-school PC wrestling games almost always seem to have this drawback, sadly.
I enjoyed this game enough to suggest everyone check it out if they can just because of its novelty value. It's worth taking a look at and playing for a few minutes just to experience a lesser-known WWF game of the era. It's nothing to write home about, though, as they used to say so don't get your hopes up too much. It's not the sort of game you and your friends are going to have fun throwing down on for a weekend or even a whole single night of wrestling gaming action.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!