WCW Vs The World PS1
WCW Vs The World PS1 Review:
Here we got the first in this 5 part series looking back at all that WCW had to offer us gamers on the Playstation 1 front. I will be looking back chronologically on all the offerings we were given for the console reviewing all 5 games looking at all aspects of the games such as graphics, roster, gameplay etc. Is it a fair assumption that the N64 always got the better deal when it cam to WCW games or is there a hidden gem lurking underneath on the playstation side of things? Let’s take a look & find out starting with the first WCW game on the playstation, WCW Vs The World.
Published by THQ & developed by The Man Breeze (No Relation to Tyler), WCW Vs The World was released in 1996 in Japan, February 1997 in North America & December 1997 in Europe. The reason for the games staggered release across the regions I can only speculate is due to the fact that this is the first game developed by The Man Breeze to be released outside of the Japanese markets. The game falls under the Virtual Pro Wrestling banner which was released exclusively in Japan up until this point. I can only think this to be the reason why us gamers over here in had to wait a full year until we got the game over here.
Upon booting the game up you’ll get the usual customary nods to the game developers, publishers etc. with there standard signatures. After this you get a bog standard video montage of WCW clips with a generic rock tune blaring underneath. Nothing special here but does at least draw you in with some hard hitting WCW action. The main menu screen is pretty bland. The logo for the game plastered over a deep black background with the selection of Start Game & Options adorned at the bottom of the screen. It’s kind of creepy in my opinion that there’s no background music at this stage of the game, just a deafening silence. This however all changes once you chose Start Game. Once you start the game bursts into life with a Marc Mero entrance theme style rock tune blaring in the background that will instantly get stuck in your head & have you humming along. The game also takes a sharp turn in the visual department as the menu now is a bright, vibrant red/orange pallet with all your match types displayed to chose from. The menus for the most part are good, they’re quite vibrant in places & I’ve always been a fan of the font they use here.
Match Types let this game down as there is only one match type available for you to select, One on One. Now they do try & flesh the modes out as much as possible by offering you various different ways in which to compete in your matches such as League, Tournament, Best Of Seven, Elimination & there’s even a title mode option. Now the title option allows you to create your own title & record who holds the belt, there defence record etc. However there is actually no physical belt shown on screen. You don’t create an actual belt but more have a system that logs who your champion is. It could obviously be improved but for the time I can’t recall that many games which gave you title belts so this is a big plus. Having said all that the fact that there’s only a one on one option is disappointing. I’m not expecting a cage match or deathmatch to feature here but with there is no tag team match type whatsoever. This is a big disappointment for me, the bare minimum I’d expect from a wrestling game, especially one released in 1996 is a one on one & tag match which this game fails to deliver. A big disappointment for me.
Roster wise there’s a huge selection to chose from with over 50 competitors & multiple different promotions represented. The selection screen is also a highlight for me being bright & eye catching to look at. The roster is split up into different colours which represent the promotion they work for. The roster features around 12 or so WCW wrestlers with the others being various wrestlers from different promotions based in Japan. The wrestlers on the Japanese side of things all have made up names but have the likeness etc. of a real life wrestler which you see in most Japanese wrestling games. They’re easy to figure out as well if you follow the Japanese product with Black Ninja being the Great Sasuke, Abispa being Jushin Liger, Bad Blood being The Great Muta etc. I always found it weird that the character of The Turk uses the Dynamite Kid’s likeness & Vaders move set. There are also unlockable wrestlers to discover for all the promotions represented with people like The Giant & Jeff Jarrett being available which gives the game more depth. The roster is a big plus for the game with a multitude of talent on offer to chose from & additional unlockables too.
Graphically the game follows the Virtual Pro Wrestling formula. The game uses a 3d engine with large colourful character models who are easily recognisable. The polygons do sometimes cause some weird visuals where a wrestlers abdomen looks to be disconnected from their chest but this is few & far between. Rings are probably a bit to big if you scale them to real life but this isn’t a big issue. There are plenty of different rings mats/skirts to chose from spanning different fictional companies that feature across most of the Aki Japanese wrestling games along with a WCW ring to chose from. A decent selection that gives each match a fresh flavour. Overall the graphics are quite good for the time. The models & textures are a lot more crisp & cleaner then other games on the market at the time & even released in the years to come.
Gameplay wise the game really pulls through in this department. Following the same system you’ll find on the Virtual Pro series & of course an early version of the system used on the N64 games, the action is fluid, animations are crisp & the match ebbs & flows like a real contest. The game uses a spirit system you usually find in Japanese wrestling games which was I believe this was the first game released to a western audience to use this system. Most other games at the time used a health bar system similar to your standard fighting games. The spirit system really helps matches twist & turn throughout like a real match so you could win or lose a match at anytime. There are a few awkward animations here & there such as the movement animation which doesn’t really involve your character walking but more gliding across the ring, but this can be forgiven. For the time of it’s release this game is arguably the best option out there on the playstation for western audiences when it comes to bell to bell action, which is ultimately where a wrestling game should be judged.
Overall Rating: B
WCW Vs The World gets the company off to a great start on the console. Yes there are big detrimental factors for the game such as a lack of tag team match option, only one match type overall etc. but the game more then makes up for that with crisp visuals, clean menus, titles & a huge roster to chose from. The gameplay is fun & enjoyable which will keep you entertained for a good few hours & the huge roster allows for some dream matches for you to make a reality in this game. A good solid start for the company on the playstation.
So with WCW off to a good start on the playstation how will the next instalment for the company fare? Will the next game build on WCW Vs The World’s positives refining the system, or will the company go down a completely different route then it’s current instalment? Look out for the second part of the WCW series in the near future as I take a look back at WCW Nitro.