The wrestling games on the SNES look much better than the NES. Sadly, they don’t always play better than the NES games. Some of the games I was looking forward to were a big letdown, and I was surprised by a few of them.
LJN published three games on the SNES; they all suffer from a terrible control scheme, and the wrestlers play the same. The same developer made the three games, and the game goes downhill as the series goes on. It was disappointing.
WCW’s game on the SNES was bad. It was the worst game on the SNES and a huge downgrade from the NES entry. I wish they had reskinned one of the Fire Pro Games or one of the better games on the Super Famicom. The controls are the biggest issue here.
Like the NES, the games without a license were the best on the SNES. There were only three of them this time, and they were great. I wish one of these games had been turned into a WWF or a WCW game, but I guess that wasn’t possible.
There isn’t a terrible game here. One or two are bad games, but they’re all playable, which is an achievement, especially for LJN. Let’s get into the list and see what the SNES wrestling games have to offer.
WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling
This is the worst wrestling game in the SNES, and it isn’t all that bad. The graphics are decent, and the controls are okay but inconsistent. This game has some good things, but those things are buried under all the bad.
The graphics are good, the roster is one of the best when compared to the other wrestling games on the SNES, and the wrestlers have their special moves. The controls are the biggest issue I have with this game. Everything feels stiff, and the wrestlers move like they’re in concrete.
The graphics and voice sampling are the best parts of this game. Specifically, the little animations you get on the character select screen. It doesn’t help you select the wrestler you want, but seeing something like this on a console is cool. SuperBrawl was a big disappointment after playing WCW’s game on the NES.
WWF Super WrestleMania
This is the first game in LJN’s SNES trilogy of WWF wrestling games. It is better than the other two in some ways, but it is a bare-bones experience. It plays like a graphical upgrade of an NES game.
This game is easier than the other two WWF games on the SNES. However, it has fewer game modes, which would’ve been acceptable on the NES but isn’t good on the SNES. The controls are okay, and the graphics are good, but there isn’t much here.
Playing this game made me wish I was playing a better game. The WWF games on the SNES are mostly disappointing; this one was no exception. I like it more than the other two LJN games, but those games have more to offer than this one.
WWF The Arcade Game
This is one of the best-looking wrestling games on the SNES. It is a port of Midway’s arcade game, using the same digitization technology used for Mortal Kombat. This makes the game look great, but the gameplay isn’t all that great.
My biggest issue with this game is the lack of things to do. There are two modes. You can play a one-on-one gauntlet match for the Intercontinental title or a two-on-one gauntlet match for the Heavy Weight Championship. This and a tiny roster of wrestlers pushed this game way down in the rankings.
This game had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the game. Having only two game modes was awful; the roster of six wrestlers was disappointing. If you wanted to play a wrestling arcade game, I would choose Saturday Night Slam Masters or Wrestle War.
I’m not a fan of this game. The wrestlers play the same; the controls are bad, and it made me want to play a better game. It does have a good roster and decent graphics, but the wrestlers are all based on the same character model. That part reminded me of Steel Cage Challenge on the NES.
This was the first LJN game I played for this ranking list. If I had played these in order, I might have had a different opinion, but I doubt it. Like the other LJN wrestling games on the SNES, this one used a tug-of-war control scheme during the lockups. It is an awful control scheme that devolves into mashing one of the buttons. If you win this tug-of-war, you’re rewarded with a wrestling move. Each wrestler has the same moves, and it is extremely disappointing.
Raw offers a bunch of game modes. That is probably the best thing about it. You have many ways to experience the awful controls and second-guess your decision to rent this game. I shouldn’t be surprised that LJN published graphical upgrades of the same game, but here I am.
WWF Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble is the best of the three WWF wrestling games that LJN published. It doesn’t have as many game modes as WWF Raw, but the controls and roster are better. This game can be fun, but it plays like the other WWF games that LJN published.
The Royal Rumble is the big draw with this game. I wouldn’t say I like this gimmick match in wrestling games. It is a pain in the butt to eliminate wrestlers, and the whole tug-of-war control scheme doesn’t help things out. The rest of the game is okay, but it isn’t anything special.
While I think this is the best of the three LJN games, I don’t like it that much. The wrestlers are based on the same model; they play the same, and the control scheme is awful. The thing is, it is the best of a series of bad or underwhelming games. This could’ve been a great game, but it is just average.
Natsume Championship Wrestling
This was a hard one to rank. In many ways, this is a better game than HammerLock and Saturday Night Slam Masters. However, the control scheme held things back on this one. I still think it is better than the licensed games, but it isn’t as good as the other two that lack a WCW or WWF license.
NCW has a lot going for it. It has great graphics, a decent roster, and a good number of game modes. It is similar to what I like in the WWF games, but done better and not saddled with a WWF license. The wrestlers look different and have unique moves and controls. The problem is the difficulty and the control scheme.
The controls are complicated and are on par with a PS1 wrestling game. This might sound good, but imagine you couldn’t look up the controls while playing. That is the biggest problem. You need the manual, or you need to find the moves online. Normally, I don’t care about SNES games not having a tutorial, but this game needed one.
I like NCW but don’t like it as much as HammerLock Wrestling or Saturday Night Slam Masters. It is a case of which game did I have more fun with. I didn’t enjoy NCW much due to the steep learning curve and control scheme.
I liked this game more than most people. The game’s visuals can be a little hard to get used to, but the gameplay is much better than the licensed wrestling games. I enjoyed this one much more than the WWF and WCW games.
I had more fun with this game than with the WWF games. The control scheme is much better. I liked the graphics more, and the wrestlers had different moves. While it can take some time to get used to the visuals, HammerLock Wrestling is a better overall game when compared to the WWF games that mostly play the same.
HammerLock Wrestling is one of the better wrestling games on the SNES. The visuals aren’t for everyone, and I can see why some might hold this against the game. However, it has a lot going for it and is a better game than the WWF games on the SNES.
Saturday Night Slam Masters
This is an awesome game! I’ve played a few wrestling arcade games, and this is the best of all of them. Saturday Night Slam Masters has great controls, wonderful graphics, and a spectacular roster of over-the-top wrestlers.
The controls are very simple, and the game is easy to figure out. While there are only two game modes, they’re done so well that it makes up for the lack of content. It plays like a fighting game and beat’em up hybrid, and I love it.
Saturday Night Slam Masters takes you on a world tour as you fight the roster in one of two gauntlet matches. It resembles Street Fighter in some ways but also plays like Final Fight. It is an interesting hybrid of the two genres and makes a very fun game.
This was a hard one to put together. There wasn’t much to separate these games, especially since several of them used the same engine. There aren’t any terrible games on this list, but I wouldn’t recommend WCW SuperBrawl.
There were two big surprises for me on this list. HammerLock Wrestling was much better than I thought it would be, and NCW wasn’t as good as I expected. The other games were basically what I was expecting them to be. HammerLock was my favorite game on this list, and I think it is a hidden gem.
The SNES wrestling games are overall much better than the NES wrestling games. Much like the NES, the games that lacked a WCW and WWF license were the best on this list. I will be looking at the Sega Genesis wrestling games next; there aren’t many of them, so I might also look at a few of the Japanese games.