Insanity Prevails' Legends of Wrestling Review
The fact that you can take it back to the shop and try to get a refund?
Gameplay is so horribly broken that anything even semi-decent is ruined.
I may not be a fan of wrestling (can't understand it at all) but I put bias aside to try this game. Needless to say it has not converted me.
Many companies try to make their games look as pretty as possible. After all, a game can be sold off its looks alone. Apparently this wasn't all that important to Acclaim. Put simply, they're not good.
The character models themselves are bland and blocky. Even worse is the rather rubbish animation. They simply do not move in a convincing way, more resembling string puppets than wreslters. It's far from recreating the wrestling experience when the characters look like they were ported in from a first generation N64 game.
As if that weren't bad enough the environments you play in are also disasterous. Every audience is from the same mold, and all no more than flat static boards. The lack of effort is evident.
Soundwise is also poor. There's some fitting entrance themes to blare out but even these feel low quality and rushed. Any other sense of music was apparently bottom priority as anything heard is rubbish. Sound effects themselves sound no more than the usual bag of tricks any game can use. Please Acclaim, I want to play games with the sound on.
Obviously when it comes to games like this having an authentic environment is key, and while the visual display didn't seem so important Acclaim did get this part right. There's a rather healthy collection of recognisable wrestlers to choose from. If only they'd gotten the rest of the package as right as this.
Just in case you have no idea what wrestling entails here's the gist of the idea. You win by sending you opponent to the floor and preventing them from recovering. The most direct route to doing this is to beat them around to increase their damage and then "pin" them to the floor by holding them down. So, it's essentially a variant on the fighting genre, with the emphasis less on knocking out opponents but pinning them down instead. Unfortunately, it's poorly executed.
The means in which you batter your opponent is through an extensive movelist that isn't too dissimilar to that of a standard fighting game. Tap in some buttons commands and a move is executed. Some of these will have specific traits, such as pin moves or are dependant on the situation. There's a wide range on offer too. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean much when actually getting involved in the action is such a huge problem.
Controlling your onscreen wrestler is nothing short of a nightmare. Movement is stiff and generally unresponsive. The literal movement of your wrestler is rather sluggish in itself, almost as if they are wading through mud rather than dashing across a wrestling ring, but the real concern is the general unresponsiveness of him. Press a button and expect the corrosponding action to occur several moments later. It makes clever setups nearly impossible, and damage dealing combos a distant dream as nothing can be lined up right.
Which is a real shame, because the actual control interface is rather solid. While first timers to the wrestling genre of games may initially be a little confused it only takes a few moments to get used to the setup, and from there you'll be more competent. However, you're more likely to get used to the style in another game.
As if that wasn't bad enough though there is also the shoddy collision detection present in the game. Even when you finally get a move to execute in the right place there are times when you're sure a move is going to connect but somehow it counts as a miss. Put simply, the whole combat system is just broken.
That said, your computer opponents are rather predictable in their patterns. You can almost predict where they're going to move and what attacks they'll do. Sounds like it makes it easy, if only your wrestler would ever respond when you want him to. This then creates a bizarre situation where the gameplay should be ridiculously easy but the controls just make it frustrating. You'll also find them more than capable of pulling their moves out on time.
There is a create a wrestler mode in here as well. The options are pretty good as well, if still feeling somewhat limiting in what they do offer (I couldn't quite get a character I wanted) but the sheer ability to create someone is still a nice addition.
Multiplayer brawls have in here as well. Multiplayer gaming is usually a game's saving point, and while the control issues are lessened since you're both suffering them (so no unfair deal here) there are simply many, MANY better games to be fighting your friends on. However, there's no real point to these as, at the end of it, all of them lead back to Acclaim's idea of gameplay. Which is a poor idea.
Overall a dire attempt at a wrestling game. There's potential and some actual decent ideas, but those ideas don't mean anything when the execution of the actual gameplay is so sloppy. As a result the game just stinks of a cash-in on the popularity of wrestling itself. Any gamer (wrestling fan or not) should feel insulted that Acclaim are trying to push this onto gamers. If you want a wrestling title there are better out there. Avoid this one at all costs.