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Classic Game Review: WCW World Championship Wrestling (NES)

Since my first two articles for Axe Bomber Magazine were about WCW games, I figured to keep up the trend and review the 1990 classic World Championship Wrestling for the Nintendo.  The only Nintendo game to feature the WCW brand, WCW World Championship Wrestling is a game developed by Nihon Busson Co. and published by FCI, Inc. WCW: World Championship Wrestling is basically an adaptation of the 1989 Japanese game Super Star Pro Wrestling, only with WCW wrestlers involved. While the game contains a few neat features and decent enough graphics, the gameplay leaves something to be desired.

WCW: World Championship Wrestling features 12 wrestlers, including Ric Flair, Sting, The Road Warriors, and Kevin Sullivan. Each wrestler looks distinct from each other, but they all wear the same tights/long pants combination, even guys like Flair and Rick Steiner who don’t wear long tights are costumed in the same gear as Ricky Steamboat, just with different colors. The graphics aren’t too bad, although there are some collision detection issues and there a couple of moves, such as the running dropkick, look awkward. The audio isn’t all that bad for a game of this era, as the soundtrack isn’t too annoying and the few voiceovers in the game are actually pretty clear.

One of the neat things about this game is that, instead of everyone doing all the same moves like most other wrestling games around this time,  each wrestler has their own distinct moveset, consisting of eight separate moves. Before each match you get to select four of those moves for your wrestler to perform, and they can be done while your opponent is stunned by holding A and pressing the corresponding button for the move. Each wrestler also possesses a distinct  finishing move. Sure, there’s a lot of similar moves in each wrestler’s moveset, but at least there is something that seperates each wrestler from each other.

The game supports both one-player and two-player action, and the game features both one vs. one and tag-team matches. The one player game has a mode where your wrestler must beat each other wrestler twice before wrestling a character known as the WCW Master for the ownership of WCW. The WCW Master is actually Andre the Giant in a mask, a holdover from Super Star Pro Wrestling. That’s kind of weird, but it wouldn’t be the last time a wrestler from another company was featured in a WCW game under a different name. When you select a one player tag match, you’re automatically entered in a round robin tag tournament featuring all the other wrestlers in random combinations.

The game could have been pretty good, except that the gameplay sucks. The game is as hard as Chinese algebra, as the controls have a sluggish responsive time and your CPU opponent is able to fire off rapid-fire kicks with the greatest of ease. The only real way to win a match in this game seems to be to mash the heck out of the B button and hope that your kicks lands more than your opponent’s. Or you can get lucky like I did and win by countout after your opponent mysteriously decides to stand on the outside of the ring and let the ref finish his count. I guess the CPU was just being nice or something.  Overall, playing the game is about as frustrating as trying to hit a baseball with a fork, and eventually I just got tired of trying. Of course, it could just be that I suck at this game, but from everything else I’ve heard about this game, the difficulty that I had was a common problem amongst other players.

Overall, WCW: World Championship Wrestling is a game that had some potential to be quite enjoyable, but the gameplay dooms it to being just a mediocre game with a redundant title. Still, it’s better than WCW Nitro. I’ll give this game a three out of 10.

Have any thoughts or memories about WCW: World Championship Wrestling for the NES? Well, we’d like to hear about them, so feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have any questions or feedback about this article, or ideas for future articles, then by all means share them by sending me an e-mail at JED@axebombermag.com

4 Comments to Classic Game Review: WCW World Championship Wrestling (NES)

  1. sbmwest's Gravatar sbmwest
    October 12, 2010 at 7:03 am

    In the list of moves, what exactly is a "One Hand Back Breaker?" Is it a punch to the back?

    I think I played this game for two minutes before just to beat up Dok Hendrix. I think I lost…

    • October 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

      I'm envisioning a single handed gorilla press lift, then he just drops the guy down onto his knee with the same hand. All while flexing his bicep with the unused arm.

      And yeah I hate Dok Hendrix, too.

  2. September 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Maybe the makers of this game wanted the players to play this game using turbo controllers… that is, if turbo controllers existed back in the day.
    “One hand back breaker” in this game is basically picking your opponent up like a World’s strongest slam, but instead of dropping him on the mat, you drop him on your knee.

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