WWF Royal Rumble
"The Rock and his tag team partners at Sega have cooked up a video game that will have the Roody-poo, candy-ass competition feeling like they've just been smacked down by The People's Elbow! WWF Royal Rumble is ready to beat up your collections... and that's the bottom line because Stone Cold says so!"
When it comes to WWF games; there are a lot of repeat titles so, it can get a little confusing. There's WWF WrestleMania on the NES and, WWF WrestleMania, which is an arcade game from 1995 that was later ported to consoles as WWF WrestleMania - The Arcade Game. This game is not to be confused with WWF Super WrestleMania that was released for consoles a few years earlier... and this just covers the WrestleMania games!
Anyways, my point is, the game we're looking at today is a game released for arcades by Sega in the year 2000. Not to be confused with the other WWF Royal Rumble game that was released for consoles in 1993. I remember exactly where I was when I first saw this game. My longtime friend Charlene and I went to the mall in order to play some games in the arcade by the movie theater. That's about the only reason she and I ever went to the mall. We never did much shopping or watched many movies but we didn't ever hesitate to visit one of the last great, standing arcades around here. We had become friendly with the owner and I had even run into him at a local wrestling show where we both marked out watching Tommy Dreamer and Raven take on Sabu and Spike Dudley so, he knew I was a wrestling fan. When Charlene and I showed up on that day in what was probably early 2010; he couldn't wait to show me this - the latest game he had acquired for the arcade.
I'm always intrigued to try out an arcade wrestling game that not only had I never played; I'd never even heard of before so, of course, I was ready to feed it all of my quarters (well, at least a good sum of them for the day) and see what it was all about.
Since this is an arcade game, don't expect too much variety or very many modes to choose from. There are only two modes, in fact. You can choose to play in Exhibition Mode or partake in a Royal Rumble. In Exhibition Mode, you choose a "partner" or, more accurately, a second, that accompanies you in a series of singles matches. Your second can interfere in your matches on command and this can be done an unlimited amount of times but your partner has to charge up after each interference before they're able to lend you a helping hand again.
The main selling point of this game at the time was its Royal Rumble mode that supported nine wrestlers in the ring at once! In the year 2000, that was a pretty big deal and hadn't been done before. The Rumble here plays out slightly differently than your standard Royal Rumble mode. Since this is an arcade game that's trying to empty your pockets as much and as swiftly as possible - it will not allow you to duck or dodge your competitors in order to try to survive. From the moment you step into the Rumble, there is a timer counting down and, once it reaches zero, you're out on your ass whether you were actually eliminated or not. The only way to add time to your counter is to eliminate the other superstars in the Rumble. Therefore, the more superstars you can eliminate in a short period of time, the better!
The roster here is pretty small but it has all of the big names you'd expect. The Rock, Stone Cold, Mankind, HHH... they're all represented. This game was also the WWF video game debut of Tazz and Kurt Angle. Even when I played this for the first time in 2010; they were my favorite inclusions to play as.
As you can imagine in an arcade wrestling game whose main selling point is a battle royal, the wrestler's move sets are pretty bare bones. There aren't hundreds of moves here at your disposal. All superstars only have around four grappling moves each but they do have all of their signature moves and finishers available as well so, that's a plus. You'll still be seeing plenty of Mandible Claws and Rock Bottoms and Tazzmissions attempted.
I was really excited when I was first shown this game by my friendly, neighborhood, arcade owner and I wasn't disappointed once I tried it out. I wouldn't be satisfied playing this as a console wrestling game (even though this game did get a Sega Dreamcast port at the time) because it's too simplified but it's really built for the arcades. A simple, pick-up and play wrestling game that almost anyone can enjoy that features the top WWF Superstars of the Attitude Era. You can't go wrong with that.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!