This was a promising game, but it didn’t deliver on the gameplay. WWF WrestleMania Challenge is more like a survivor series game. That is the big draw here as far as stipulation matches go. Instead of the cage match, this game has a six-man elimination match.
Aside from the six-man tag match, you have a one-on-one and a tag team match to mess around with. I’m not sure what this has to do with WrestleMania, but I guess Survivor Series wasn’t a pay-per-view yet. After looking it up, the event was around then, so I’m not sure why this was called WrestleMania Challenge.
This game was a step in the right direction from a graphical standpoint. However, the gameplay wasn’t all that great. It does have several game modes, but there are many things that this game lacks which might have unseated WCW Wrestling.
TLDR: WrestleMania Challenge is Hampered by its Camera Angle.
There is no story in this game. However, having a character for the player to use adds something to the game. It gives the player something different from the other wrestling games.
This still requires you to use your imagination. If you want a storyline or a feud, then you have to think one up. This is something that I would have enjoyed as a kid. It would have been a ton of fun to play this and come up with a reason for my character to do what he is doing.
I’m unsure how many others did this or would still do this. Nowadays, wrestling games have a lengthy story mode and many other options for the player. With WrestleMania Challenge, you don’t have that, and the few game modes don’t offer much compared to modern games.
WWF WrestleMania Challenge has a few issues with its gameplay. It controls well enough, has a decent roster, and has good graphics. It has all the makings of a good game, but one big thing is holding it back.
The roster isn’t that bad this time around. It isn’t the best, and there are several other wrestlers that I would have liked to see, but it is pretty good. Here is a list of those wrestlers:
- Hulk Hogan
- Ultimate Warrior
- Andre the Giant
- Brutus “The Baber” Beefcake
- Randy Savage
- Big Boss Man
- Rick Rude
- Jim Dugan
- Yourself is a generic character that the player can level up.
There are a few game modes that you can pick from. These can be played in either single-player or with two players. Here is a short list:
- One Player – An 8-man gauntlet
- Tag Team – Two Player only
- Six-Man Tag Match – This is an elimination match similar to the Survivor Series match
Even though there isn’t much here, it is much better than the other WWF games. The controls are fine, but the camera angle is a big problem.
There are a bunch of moves that you can do. It can be difficult to line up with your opponent, however. I think the gameplay is okay. The more significant issue is the way the camera is set up.
There is something odd going on with the health meters. They seem to regenerate over time and go down if you miss a diving attack from the turnbuckle or attempt a leg drop. It adds some realism to a game that doesn’t need to have realism in it.
|Behind Opponent||Facing Opponent||Opponent Cornered||Opponent on Mat||Power Move||Cornerpost move|
|Name||Tap A||Hold A||B||B then A||B||B+A||A||B||A+B|
|Brutus Beefcake||Punch||Headbutt||Sleeper||Bodyslam||Legbomb||Pin||Flying Punch||Flying Punch|
|Rick Rude||Punch||Face Smash||Rude Awakening||Bodyslam||Elbow smash||Pin||Dropkick||Dropkick|
|Big Boss Man||Punch||Headbutt||Atomic Drop||Bodyslam||Big Splash||Pin||Boss Man Buster||Big Splash|
|Hacksaw Jim Dugan||Punch||Kick||Suplex||Bodyslam||Elbow Smash||Pin||Three Point Stance||Fist Drop|
|Andre the Giant||Punch||Kick||Chokehold||Choke and Headbutt||Bodyslam||Reverse Squash||Big Sit||Pin|
|Randy Savage||Punch||Headbutt||Suplex||Bodyslam||Knee Smash||Pin||Flying Elbow||Atomic Elbow|
|Hulk Hogan||Punch||Bigfoot||Suplex||Bodyslam||Elbow Smash||Pin||Dropkick||Hulkster Splash|
|Ultimate Warrior||Punch||Headbutt||Suplex||Power Throw||Elbow smash||Pin||Warrior Wallop||Double Ax|
|Yourself||Punch||Kick||Atomic Knee Drop||Bodyslam||Legdrop||Pin||Dropkick||Dropkick|
The control scheme can be annoying at times. Having tap and hold versions of moves is a good idea, but it is a little annoying. They’re all good situational moves, but doing different moves can be a little frustrating.
As far as I can tell, there weren’t any finishing moves. There are Power Moves, but you don’t get anything close to the finishers you might associate with the wrestlers. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m always disappointed by the finishing moves not being here.
If you look at the list of moves, some names translate to the wrestler’s finishers. However, they’re treated as being regular moves. It is a little odd, and some of the names given to moves don’t make much sense.
Overall, the gameplay is okay. It is hampered by the camera angle, which makes it hard to get in the correct position for the moves. It takes some time to get used to it as well.
This was somehow the best and the worst part of the game. It is amazing how that works sometimes. It looks good for the time, but the camera angle makes it very hard to line up your attacks.
The wrestlers look good. These are more than pallet swaps of the same character. Each has a unique look, even if it is a little cartoonish.
I don’t mind this at all. Realistic character models aren’t necessary when you’re talking about retro games. The graphics in WrestleMania Challenge look much better than in Steel Cage Challenge or WWF WrestleMania.
The character health bars are on the side of the ring. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It works better on the top of the screen, and it would have been better if the characters’ names were near the health bars. It is simplistic, but I think it is too simplistic.
The isometric angle is the real problem with this game. It makes it too hard to line up attacks. This isn’t helped by the fact that you can hurt yourself when you miss an attack. This angle makes it look like your character is drunk.
Overall, the graphics are good, but the camera angle ruins the game. It is still playable and can be fun, but that camera is a serious problem. You can adjust to it over time, but you shouldn’t have to get used to something this bad, especially when other games do this same angle better.
7/10. This game looked promising when I started playing it. It has good graphics, a decent roster, and I liked having a character representing the player. It was like having a custom character. However, the controls are not very good, and the isometric angle makes it hard to line up your attacks.
- An Unnamed Character to Play
- Decent Roster
- Good Graphics
- Bad use of an Isometric angle
- Annoying Controls
- Few Game Modes
This is a decent wrestling game. It has good graphics, the gameplay is good, and having a generic wrestler for the player to use was cool for the time. What holds this game back is the camera angle.
This game shouldn’t be at an isometric angle. It doesn’t work that well and takes a while to get used to. It is the only major issue I can think of, and it hugely impacts the game.
I wanted to like this game more than I did. It has many things going for it, but one decision seems to have torpedoed it. It is a fun game once you get used to it, but you shouldn’t have to get used to it, and with other wrestling games on the NES, you can skip this one and not miss much.