WWF Raw is one of the games that I think I’ve played before this review. I might have been thinking about another WWF game on the SNES, but I thought I had played this before. I remember playing some games with my friends while waiting for pay-per-views to start.
This game has a lot going for it. There are plenty of game modes to choose from, the roster is pretty good, and the graphics are exceptional. The only thing that I think could’ve been better is the gameplay. I’m not a fan of the control scheme.
I like most of what is in this game. It offers many ways to play, even if some of them don’t make much sense. So far, I think this is better than WCW SuperBrawl, but not as good as HammerLock Wrestling.
TLDR: Awesome Graphics and a Great Roster can’t overcome Bad Controls.
There is no story in this game. I wasn’t expecting there to be one, either. However, there are many game modes the player can craft a story for the game.
So far, the other pro wrestling games I’ve played have lacked what WWF Raw has. This game isn’t built around one type of match. It offers several different types of ways to play.
If you want to build a story around the Royal Rumble, you can do that. You can also do that if you want to make a Survivors Series match. It is a great solution to not having a story mode in the game.
I haven’t mentioned yet that there isn’t a mode that has you chasing a championship. It is a minor thing, and I hadn’t even noticed it until now. Other games haven’t had something like this, but I only realized it while writing this up.
Not having a story mode or narrative isn’t a big deal here. It wasn’t expected in pro wrestling games of this time. While it isn’t a big deal, I think it is important to mention all of this.
WWF Raw has many game modes. Seeing this in a pro wrestling game is great, as things aren’t centered around one gimmick match. Here is a list of the game modes:
- Tag Team
- Survivor Series
- Royal Rumble
- Raw Endurance Match
Some of these selections have submenus with more options. It looks like there is a lot in this game.
This game has a pretty good roster. It is made up of the WWF from the early 90s, which means the WWF didn’t have a deep roster to choose from. However, the wrestlers in the game are great! Here is a list of the wrestlers:
- Brett Hart
- The Undertaker
- Bam Bam Bigelow
- Razor Ramon
- Lex Luger
- Shawn Michaels
- 1-2-3 Kid
- Owen Hart
- Luna Vachon
The only odd entry on this list is Luna. She is the only female wrestler here. It seems odd to me that she would be in the game. I’m guessing that the Kliq (Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, and the 1-2-3 Kid) pulled some strings to keep a wrestler out, so she could get in. At least, that is my conspiracy theory about it.
The controls confused me at first. There is a grapple system which seemed to be where you would do all of the moves in the game. Things felt a little stiff at times, but this might have been an issue with difficulty. You can set it from 1-10, but it doesn’t indicate what that means.
I guessed that ten was hard and one was easy. It would’ve been nice if the developer had put in an Easy, Medium, and Hard. I don’t know why this bugs me, but it does.
The controls are the only downside to this game. They take a while to get used to, and after reading what I was supposed to be doing, I was still confused.
Punching, kicking, and running were all easy to do, but the grapple system confused the hell out of me. You’re given a meter when you lock up, this meter is supposed to show who is winning the lock-up, but I couldn’t figure it out. Even when the meter and character animation seemed in control, I would still lose.
After getting smacked around a bunch of times, I went to the manual. According to the manual, you gain the advantage by pressing any button repeatedly. This never worked for me. I lowered the difficulty and could win a few lock-ups, but it was still heavily in my opponent’s favor.
I’ve rambled on about how frustrating this game is, and I should probably go over the controls. Here is a list of how the game should play:
- A button – Kick
- B button – Punch
- X Button – Lock up
- Y Button – Run
I won’t rule out operator error, but I think the controls are a little unresponsive. The computer always seems to get an advantage over you. It was an extremely frustrating game to play.
Each wrestler has a similar move set. There are minor differences between the characters, but by in large, they have the same moves. The wrestlers all have a special/finishing move. This is great! I couldn’t pull these off, but knowing they are in the game is awesome.
The special moves can only be done when you’re in a specific situation. For example, if you want to do Bam Bam Bigalow’s diving headbutt, your opponent needs to be on the mat, and you have to climb the turnbuckle.
Overall, I think the gameplay is okay. It will take you a while to get used to the control scheme. It isn’t the best wrestling game on the SNES. It is better than the WCW game, but I would rather play HammerLock Wrestling.
WWF Raw uses digitized graphics, and they look exceptional. The photos of the wrestlers look very good! The graphics in the game are amazing for the SNES.
Unfortunately, some of the character models don’t make much sense. It looks like the developers made one model and used that for every wrestler. This creates some interesting situations where Yokozuna (who is 500 lbs) is of similar size to the 1-2-3 Kid (who is 220 lbs). It is rather strange.
I had a similar problem with WCW SuperBrawl. However, WWF Raw looks much better than that game. WWF Raw also uses a different camera perspective. I think this makes the game better.
With WWF Raw, you can see the crowd and the announcers. They look very good! The sprites, the ring, and the crowd have quite a bit of detail. This version of the game looks almost like a PS1 game.
Overall, the graphics are very good! The sprites are big and detailed, the photos of the wrestlers are great, and the game’s presentation is excellent. The only negative thing about this game concerns the character models. They look like the same basic model with a few graphical adjustments to help them stand out.
7/10. WWF Raw looks amazing for the SNES. However, the gameplay is average. It takes some time to adjust to the control scheme. There are a ton of game modes to choose from, but the control scheme is the game’s biggest problem.
- Awesome Graphics
- Great Roster of Wrestlers
- Lots of Game Modes
- No Story Mode
- Bad Controls
- Steep Learning Curve
WWF Raw is one of the better-looking pro wrestling games I’ve played so far. It has similar issues to other games that LJN has published. I know there is a developer, but it feels like LJN always put out games that were, at best, average and, at worst, barely playable. I guess that would put this at the higher end of the LJN spectrum.
The gameplay was my biggest issue with this game. The lock-up system felt random, and I wasn’t sure how to do a specific move. It felt like the game would decide what would happen, and often that decision was me losing.
This was a great example of good graphics not translating into a good game. It was better than WCW SuperBrawl, but it wasn’t as good as HammerLock Wrestling.