WWF WrestleMania the Arcade game Definitive Analysis | 32X Genesis Dos Saturn PSX SNES Comparison.
31
August

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


The WWE, Once known as WWF or the World Wrestling
Federation back when aww and mystery still surrounded Pro Wrestling as a whole. Back when It was an athletic event of nearly
superhero pageantry elevating the likes of Andrè the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and
Mr Perfect to that of lower tier superheroes status. The world or at least the consumers of professional
wrestling were pulled in buying what the WWF was selling hook line and sinker. While it’s easy in modern times to look
back at the vignettes or watch the interviews and question how anyone could believe it was
entirely real, all I can say is people did and without the internet, there was no way
to question or expose the sport for those who doubted. John Stossel himself tried to expose the pro
wrestling industry as being an act in 1984 and well… it didn’t go so well. Stossel for his part sued the WWF and receive
a settlement of nearly half a million dollars. (4)(5) It wasn’t just the occasional wrestler
who took the matter of protecting the sports secret, the WWF went to great lengths trying
to convince people that what they were being fed was legitimate. One of the greatest wrestlers to ever live
and a personal favorite of mine is Million Dollar Man. While there are a ton of example of the lengths
the WWE went to in an attempt to convince people that their show was 100% real, none
are as amazing as the one involving the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. This is Retro Impressions WWF WrestleMania
the arcade game a definitive analysts Ted was a Second Generation Pro Wrestler. His mom known as Helen Hild and stepfather
the Iron Mike Dibiase were very propionate in the industry being major influencers on
the sport in during their active years. Both parents were known for their work ethic,
in ring ability, and general likability. Helen and a fifteen year old Ted would see
tradgity stoke when they lost Mike during a wrestling match in 1969. The event would fracture his family, but the
call to follow in his mother’s and fathers footsteps was something that only got stronger
with each year that passed. It wasn’t long before Ted joined the profession
and started a contract wrestling for the WWF in the 70’s. He even has the distinction of being Hulk
Hogans Debut match opponent. He spent most of the ’80s bouncing around
different wrestling organizations before finding a long term home in Japan. In ’87 he accepted a contract with the WWF
shortly after returning to the states. The character he was given was created by
Vince McMahon himself and was a new persona unlike anything that had ever been attempted. The concept, a rIch Jerk who bought and sold
his way to success at the expense of the working man. It was pure genius for a heel character. The success was predicated on people believing
that Dibiase was in real life the man portrayed on TV. Typical of this era, wrestler traveled by
the cheapest means possible, stayed in trash hotels, while eating at the cheapest restaurants. Not Dibiase though, from the moment to became
the Million Dollar Man Vince made sure he only flew first class, stayed in the nicest
hotels, and ate at the best restrains. He was given a personal limousine, full time
choffeer, personal bodyguard, and a bottomless pocket full of hundred dollar bills to toss
around in display of his wealth. For as long as DiBiase was working for the
WWF, he would be required to remain in character while in public at all times. It helped to grow the legend when people who
attended these events saw wrestlers as they traveled, and took note of DiBiase. Fans quickly spread the word around that this
guy had money. A number of vignettes would air showing Dibiase
paying to get his way at the expense of other people. After all, The Million Dollar Mans motto was Everyone’s got a price. Everyone’s got to pay. ‘Cause the Million Dollar Man always gets
his way Not only was the dedication to maintaining
people’s belief in the character central to his and other wrestlers popularity, it also
led to some of the best storylines of all times including my all time favorite. Dibiase wanted to win the World Championship
belt but he just wasn’t good enough, so he paid André the Giant to win the belt from
Hogan then turn around and surrender it to him. When The WWF caught wind, he was stripped
of the title even though he had already defended it on a few occasions. In turn, he created his own title called the
Million Dollar Championship and crowned himself king. It’s a character that could only work in an
era when everyone believed wrestling was without question real. The sport of professional wrestling was regulated
by a few states the most famous of which was New Jersey helping to legitimize the sport
until Vince McMahon testified in front of the New Jersey Senate that professional wrestling
was just entertainment. The testimony was compelling enough that they
voted to deregulate it by a vote of 37 to 1. Still, it remained essentially unknown to
most viewers that it was indeed staged. A lot of fans seemed to miss this event in
the news or believed it was a story spun by Vince to reduce regulation of a dangerous
sport while increasing profits. There seemed to be some pageantry, but for
a sizable amount of the fanbase, Westling was real. I myself had a hard time believing that it
was all staged though I had some doubts. I was pulled in from a young age and people
trying to bring down my sport felt like a mix of conspiracy theorist and haters. It wasn’t until I started seeing leaked
Nitro scrips online in the mid 90s did I finally know for sure what was real and what was fake. Even then I would continue to run into people
for nearly two more decades who continued to believe all wrestling was real, all the
time. At this point, you might be wondering where
this trip down memory lane is heading or why I decided to take this path in start a video
set on analyzing a wrestling arcade game. To be frank, prior to this games release,
wrestling games, for the most part, were essentially simulation. For me, it’s just hard to imagine the WWF
allowing this game to be made had their position not moved away from a hardline effort to protect
the secret behind the sport. It’s a position change that for all intents
and purposes allowed for the arrivals of the attitude era and for a wrestling game that
wasn’t at all a wrestling game. WWF Wrestlemania was made by Midway using
the same system made popular by Mortal Kombat. It is a fantasy style fighting game based
around WWF characters. There’s no real story beyond trying to win
a specific division. Select who you want to be and you’re off to
capture the Intercontinental or world championship belt. The main difference between the two is how
many handicap matches you’ll have and how outnumbered you’ll be. Playable characters include Bret the Hitman
Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, Doink the Clown, Razor Scott
Hall Ramon, Lex Luther, and Yokozuna. The inclusion of Doink the clown was rather
questionable as he didn’t appear in the Wrestlemania prior to this game or the one
after. Kevin (Diesel) Nash was also oddly not included
even though he was the reigning champion at the time. It’s said that is was purely at the request
of the WWF for unknown reasons. The action is fast pace, over the top, and
silly fun. Because a home version already existed under
the same name it was changed to WWF Wrestlemania the Arcade Game when ported home. We are going to look over every version released. This includes Dos, Saturn, 32X, Genesis, SNES,
and PSX. With that said, it’s on to the breakdown. First up let’s talk about
Sound I want to say upfront that you will have to
either take my word for some of this or look into it yourself for verification The WWE
is dead serious about taking down videos, so I’m treading lightly when I think it’s
required. To start this off we need to talk about the
arcade release even though it isn’t in contention. Any theme song you might associate with a
wrestle plays so seldom, you might question if they are even in the game. When they do play, it’s for short burst only
because outside of what I feel is annoying battle music the theme songs are mostly limited
to less than thirty-second samples. For the most part, the audio implementation
is poorly executed with only three very similar songs as the total music available during
matches. Howard Finkel is the announcer with commentary
courtesy of Vince McMahon and Jerry the King Lawler. There seemed to be potential for something
memorable though the end result left me scratching my head in regard to the way the music portions
were somehow mishandled. Moving on to the console versions
I really had to weigh quite a few things and listen to the audio numerous times to come
up with a ranking I felt was just. In last place is the PSX release. The PSX release uses it’s onboard sound
processor to handle the music, and what’s there sounds good. However, I’m left wondering what the heck
the person responsible for arranging the audio was thinking? First off, there is no music during matches. In the arcade and most other home versions,
your characters entrance theme is played at the start, then the victors’ music is played
between matches. When you beat the game your character’s
theme once again plays. It’s a simple formula the works be giving
the player what they expect. That’s why It’s simply a mystery as to
what the heck is going on here. I played through the PSX release and beat
the game a number of times recording each session, then looked over the footage to be
sure I wasn’t going crazy, but not once does any entrance music for any wrestler play. It’s just not in the game, and if it is,
it’s hidden so deep there’s no reason that it should have been included. In comparison to other versions, there’s
also less commentary. In fifth is the SNES version. Coming in 5th here isn’t a bad thing because
the SNES version is quite good at emulating what the arcade does. In fact, it includes slightly longer renditions
of each wrestlers theme when compared to the Arcade. Very solid work for what’s there, but the
unfortunate bit is it’s missing content. I’ll come back to this in a more appropriate
section though and explain it more in depth. This might be a shocker but the game that
comes closest to the Arcade in the sound department is the Dos release. What might be even more shocking is that I
consider these two versions to have the 4th best audio of the bunch. While the arcade release isn’t necessarily
in contention, it is the benchmark by which all others are measured and in this case,
the bar was set low enough that there was room for improvement. If you want the closest experience to what
the arcade offers, stop here because the Dos release is the only one that executes it to
near perfection. What really keeps this version down is all
the licensed music is mostly twenty to thirty-second clips on loop. It’s a bit nit picky, but I found it annoying
that all I got after beating the game was an annoying 20-second sample of the wrestler’s
theme on a continuous loop. Third is the Genesis. To be clear, if you don’t like chip tunes
nothing I’m going to say will change your mind here. What the sound team delivered is in my opinion
very well done. It’s not a surprise either considering members
who worked on this soundtrack are responsible for the music in Diablo II, World of Warcraft,
Kings Quest, Quest for Glory, and a whole ton of additional classic game. It faithfully recreates the arcade experience
in its own way while really going the extra mile by including full chip tune versions
of each wrestlers theme. There’s less commentary than the Arcade and
Dos release but overall it’s very solid use of the hardware available. Second is the Saturn Release. It’s, unfortunately, a very odd mixed bag. Again short samples are used making most of
the songs five minute long versions of a thirty-second clip on loop. The Saturn version has one major downside,
like the PSX release, there is no music during matches. However, it’s the only version to have a
full Redbook audio sound and commentary track. By a country mile It’s the best sounding
of the bunch. In comparison to the PSX release, the Saturn
release contains a ton more sound effects and the full commentary as well. Heck, there’s a 10-minute track dedicated
to the cheesy one-liners spoken during a match. While I feel it’s a personal preference
as to if no match music is a good or bad thing. l think the better choice would have been
an option to switch it on or off but I have a feeling the commentary being Redbook audio
is one reason this didn’t happen. What really keeps this from the top spot is
the short samples. It honestly just drives me crazy that there’s
nearly a full disc of Redbook audio and none of it is worthy of putting into a Disc-man
for that tractor ride around the property in early spring. First is the 32X. Cleaner audio, better samples, and awesome
chip tunes. It’s the best of the bunch utilizing the
hardware on hand to create an epic experience. If you love great chip tunes the 32X does
an awesome job. It’s the Genesis version but better. That’s not to say that the 32X version is
perfect though as the included commentary track is rather limited. There is no perfect version as far as audio
is concerned with each release having a considerable amount of give and take. Next up is visuals. Feel free to pause the video and look over
the screen. What you are seeing is the same Undertaker
displayed in order by in-game spite size across the same setting. I’m going to reveal which one is from which
version in a minute, but take a second to make an educated guess. On to the breakdown. As I’ve said in the past, digitized images
fair terrible on the Genesis and with this game, there’s no exception to that rule. The colors are washed out giving it an almost
vintage 70’s look. There are small things missing that are present
in every other version too. Thing such as the sudo blood each charter
spills when hit. Yokozuna dropping food, Shawn Michael spilling
out hearts, ect. There are other missing background assets
and pieces here and there making the package feel a bit shallow. The character sprites are also a bit too small
with the whole package leaving a lot to be desired. The SNES comes in fifth. What’s there looks fine, but there’s quite
a bit missing including two wrestlers. What’s on the screen is also a bit too much
for the hardware to handle making me question why they did this. Once again, I’ll be talking about this in
depth in a moment but for this section the visuals that are there are ok. 4th is the 32x. The genesis handles the background while the
32x takes responsibility for the character sprites making them fairly large. The result? It looks very good. There’s the typical dithering you should
expect from assets not specifically designed for the hardware but all in all it’s very
well executed. If I had any complaint, it’s that this version
is locked at 30 frames per second causing a jittering effect when the action is at its
fastest. There’s no slowdown, it’s just visually
odd in rare instances. It also caries over the lack of the sudo blood
from the Genesis release. 3rd is the PSX
Most things in this version look great but it’s oddly missing some things that are
just weird. Things all other versions have such as the
ringside announcers. I mean, why is the announcer booth empty? It also has this crazy thing going on with
the ring that almost makes it feel like a rectangle rather than a square. The deeper I dived into the PSX release, the
more it feels like a late beta that was rushed to be published for the Acclaims contract
with Midway expired. The rest of the game looks good All in all,
the competition for the top three places is tight so it’s the small things that make
the difference. The matchup for first comes down to the Saturn
and Dos release. They are so darn close it’s hard to pick
a winner, but Dos has considerably larger character sprites putting it on top. There’s nothing else really noteworthy that
would further separate these two versions as they are both executed incredibly well. It’s time to look at Controls and the Game
Play Experience With ease, the version at the bottom of the
barrel is the SNES relase. This is quite frankly a mess. First off, the game experiences sever slow
down when three characters are on screen at once breaking the flow while ending any enjoyment
you might be having. It’s a major problem because most of the
matches are 2 on one handy cap or gauntlet style events where there is always three charters
in the ring. Further issues appear later in the game as
it becomes apparent that it doesn’t support 4 players in the ring at once. The matches intended to be 3 on 1 are instead
turned into handicap gauntlet matches and the two on two matches you can experience
in every other version are turned into a lopsided two on one snoozefest. The one on one matches are honestly fun, but
the slowdown ruins the rest of the experience and make me want to toss this right in the
garbage can. If that wasn’t enough, my favorite character
in game is Yokozuna. He along with Bam Bam Bigelow are excluded
from the SNES release along with any content associated with them. The selection of characters was already small,
but without these two, I had matches where I was Bret Hart fighting three other Bret
Hart’s. This is in my opinion just bad execution. In fifth is the Genesis release. It’s a ton of fun, contains nearly everything
from the arcade and supports a mass of controller options including the Ascii pad. A controller I can only fathom being included
as an option due to someone working on the game having a place for it in their heart. There are two main issues with the Genesis
release that hold it back. First off you can’t move behind the ring. In fact, you can get injured trying to do
so. The other issue is slowdown during four-man
matches. It’s not as bad as the three-man matches
on the SNES, but it still sucks making it a game you should for the most part avoid. Fourth is the 32X. The game is an enhanced version of the Genesis
release so it maintains all the controller options along with not being able to move
behind the ring. Granted you only can get out of the ring if
someone is tossed out which rarely happens, but it’s still an annoyance should that
be the route you would like to take. Thankfully everything else has been solved
and the 32X suffers no slowdown. One of the ways the game achieves this is
by locking the frame rate at 30 FPS. Some people feel it gives the game a different
feeling from the others, but to me, Yokozuna plays the same across all the platforms he’s
on. Beyond measuring frames of animation, I don’t
have a way to measure frames in real time across all versions, but I still think it’s
worth mentioning one more time that the reduced frame rate here does cause a jitter in motion
during fast gameplay. It doesn’t affect gameplay, but it’s present
in the background and might be a turn off to some people. Third is the DoS release. this version has no issues gameplay wise so
it comes down to additional options. There are ten controller settings you can
choose from but they are all either for two or four button configurations. There’s also the Keyboard for those who can
stomach using it in this sort of game. The Saturn comes in 2nd. The main reason it places here is there are
zero controller options. The setup is fine by me, but I still like
to have options. The saving grace above the Dos version is
it utilizes all six button along with the ease of having a second player. You could flip this with the dos release though
and I wouldn’t have many complaints. It’s really personal preference and I prefer
the Saturn, set up on a massive screen, when playing this game. The PSX release easily comes in first. I really love this game, but I’m not a fan
some of the controller configurations you’re sometimes stuck with. The PSX without a doubt has the worst set
up out the box. Thankfully it’s also the only version that
allows custom button mapping, so by the time I entered a match all was good in the world
wrestling. The only real complaint is there’s no way
to save your setup so every time you boot the game, you’ll have to do this. Overall, I had zero issues moving between
versions and from a gameplay perspective when not experiencing slowdown. I could pull off moves with precisions in
all but the SNES and Genesis release. The slowdown there makes timing a bit hard
to master. So what Extras or missing content might each
version have. There’s said to be secret fatalities for
each character but only the Undertaker’s has been confirmed and only in the Arcade release. No one has confirmed any other fatalities
existing beyond this one, or if they were ever included in the home release. All home versions are also missing the endings
included in the arcade. These endings were just a paragraph of cheezy
and somewhat dark morbid text. If I had to guess why these endings remain
arcade exclusive it would have something to do with the ESRB felling their inclusion warranted
an M rating, but this is just a guess. If you like Whang!, he did a cool video talking
about the weird ending for each character, you might check it out as I highly recommend
his channel and it’s an aspect of the game I’m not covering here. Beyond what I already discussed in earlier
sections there’s nothing else noteworthy This brings us to my final recommendation. Last is the SNES release. It’s just a very poor port that only executes
part of what was expected. The parts it does feature are so poorly optimized
it’s an awful mess to experience. Fifth is the Genesis release. It’s poor visual representation of the arcade
game along with slowdown during the final and most critical battles doesn’t help to
win it favor. The unfortunate bit here is had it went the
route of the SNES release and removed 4 man matches, it would still be ugly but fun to
play from start to finish. Fourth is the PSX. With most of the soundtrack, some graphical
assets, and commentary missing, it’s almost in contention with the Genesis release for
fifth. Thankfully the gameplay is spot on so if you
pick up a controller you’re guaranteed to have fun even if it feels like a late beta
trying to meet a milestone. The battle for second and third is a real
toss up and I couldn’t fault anyone who would flip these two. Third is the Dos release. It’s not to say there’s anything wrong
with this version. It is, after all, a near perfect port of the
arcade release. That becomes the problem though as the short
samples of songs remain a part of the Dos version and for me, it’s a bit of a turn-off. I guess it’s really telling how good these
ports are from this point on when the arcade release would have ranked about here had it
fully been a part of this process. Second is the 32X. Multiple controller options, solid visuals,
and a fantastic selection of full chip tune songs makes this rather special. It’s a fantastic release worth owning that
essentially does everything right. That leaves that Saturn at the top. Whether you like the in match music is a point
of personal preference and for me I didn’t miss hearing the same track over and over
and over again. The improved quality of the audio, Saturn
controller, ease of access, and arcade-perfect gameplay is worth any tradeoff mentioned earlier
in the video. It took the acrade release and lightly improved
it. In case I haven’t beat this point home enough
by now, you can’t go wrong with the Dos, Saturn, and 32X releases. They are all very well executed. If you have a Playstation, the PSX release
is great fun even when considering the missing content. There was a follow up to this game called
WWF In Your House that has ethical questions surrounding its development. By ‘95 the 5-year contract between Midway
and Acclaim was coming to a close. Midway decided to start developing home conversions
of their games in house as the market and most of the profit was shifting to home releases. Acclaim held the WWF license at the time allowing
Midway to utilize it in the creating of Wrestlemania, so while everyone expected Acclaim to continue
making Wrestling games, the folks at Midway were rather put off when they discovered Acclaim
was creating a sequel using Midways ideas, and technology as the base. In addition to this, Acclaim secured the rights
to the NBA Jam license which was owned by the NBA when it went up for renewal. Both properties where very popular when Acclaim
took control and it only took one release to ruin any momentum they had gained under
Midway’s guidance. Massive shoutout to Reyan Ali for fact checking
portions of this video. His book covering the history of NBA Jam will
be out later this year. I’ve left a link in the description below
and highly recommend you keep an eye out for it’s pending release.


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