WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade is Midway’s entry in the SNES wrestling games. It was also ported to other consoles, but I’ll focus on the SNES port. It was originally an arcade game with similar controls to the fighting games that Midway was creating at the time.
This isn’t great as far as what I would expect from a wrestling game from the mid-90s. If you look at it as an arcade game, then it makes sense as you want to get as many quarters as you can from the player.
I never played this game in the arcades. I wish I had, but I don’t remember seeing it in the few places with arcade games. From what I’ve read, it didn’t do well in the arcades.
TLDR: A good arcade game doesn’t always translate to a good console game.
I knew what I was getting into when I started playing this game. I knew it was a port of an arcade game, but I didn’t know that it was a straight port with no changes. This is what made the game very disappointing for me.
Other arcade ports would make changes to add more value to the home console. Not every port did this, but some of the better ones would. In this case, things were taken away. It would’ve been nice if they could have added more game modes and kept the roster intact. I’m guessing there were memory constraints, and something had to be removed.
There are only two game modes. You can compete for the Intercontinental Championship or the WWF Championship. Both of these are gauntlet matches, which go along with the game’s arcade feel.
The only difference between these two modes is the number of opponents you fight in the matches. You fight two wrestlers at once in the WWF Championship matches. You have to knock both of them out before you can pin them.
Each match is two out of three falls. It is similar to other fighting games. This is an interesting choice, but I don’t think it makes sense for a wrestling game.
There are no stipulation matches, tag team matches, or tournament modes. It is missing many features you might expect from a wrestling game from this time. It is a little disappointing to come back to this after seeing what was going on with the LJN games.
The roster is pathetic. The SNES has six characters, putting this game in the category of WrestleMania on the NES. Here are the six characters in this game:
- Brett Hart
- The Undertaker
- Shawn Michaels
- Doink the Clown
- Lex Luger
- Razor Ramon
Other ports of the game would have more characters. The SNES game is missing Yokozuna and Bam Bam Bigalow. I wish Bam Bam were in every game, but that wasn’t in the cards.
This is an over-the-top game. It isn’t an exact simulation of professional wrestling, and I think that works for an arcade game. There are wrestling moves in the game, but you also have some strange things you would expect to see in a fighting game or a beat’em up.
Wrestlers use bats, gravestones, or form bionic arms. These tie into the wrestler’s gimmicks and how they’re presented on the WWF shows. While I would’ve liked to have a wrestling game, I’m okay with a fighting game masquerading as a wrestling game.
Overall, I think parts of the gameplay are very good. What is here is great! However, there isn’t much to the game. The roster is small, and there are only two game modes. This is a disappointing entry in the SNES wrestling games.
WWF WrestleMania The Arcade Game looks very good! The same digitization technology used for Mortal Kombat was used here. It makes the sprites look excellent!
It was very refreshing to see that the wrestlers look different. After playing several games that use the same character model for every wrestler, this game was like a breath of fresh air. The rest of the game also looks very good.
The animations and moves look great. When one of the special moves is done, it looks goofy, but it matches some of the cartoon-like atmosphere that the WWF was going with at the time. While it looks odd to have Shawn Michaels pull a baseball bat out of nowhere or Doink smack people with an oversized glove, I could see something similar happening in the WWF at the time.
I don’t have much else to say about this game. It looks great, and I wish this digitization technology had been used in other wrestling games, as it makes everything look very good.
Overall, the graphics are very good. This game looks better than the LJN games, but that isn’t enough to make up for the lack of content in the game.
6/10. This game made me miss the LJN games. I think the graphics and controls are better than those games, but this game has fewer game modes and a pathetically small roster. I wanted to like this game more, but there isn’t much here.
- Great Graphics
- Good Controls
- Small Roster
- Few Game Modes
- No Replayability
I wanted to like this game, but there wasn’t enough here. I like the game’s look and think the controls are great. However, there isn’t much to it, and you’ll probably get bored quickly.
This wasn’t a good game. It wasn’t because of a lack of care or a poorly made game. It is because of a lack of content in the game.
I don’t think there is much reason to return to this game. It is missing much of what you would expect from a wrestling game. By the time this game was ported to the home console, you would expect there to be more replayability than what is in this game.