All though my childhood, my Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays were spent watching professional wrestling. For a while, like so many little boys, I wanted to be a wrestler. I was a little Hulkamaniac. I said my prayers and ate my vitamins. I wanted desperately to build up my 20-inch pythons and go after the likes of King Kong Bundy and the Iron Sheik. Who needed the Super Bowl when you had Wrestlemania? I was, plain and simple, a hardcore wrestling fan. And for adults like me, who look back fondly at those days and remember the warm fuzzies we got seeing the Ultimate Warrior sprint down to the squared circle, THQ has created Legends of Wrestlemania on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Upon firing up Legends of Wrestlemania, the nostalgia alone is almost worth the price of admission. Watching and hearing those classic wrestler entrances. Seeing the likenesses of wrestlers long since retired. Hearing the booming voice of that classic WWF announcer (it’ll always be the WWF to me, not WWE). All of these things form the backbone of Legends of Wrestlemania, a game designed to take us all back to our grade school days, even through the use of archival footage of classic matches. But as you smile fondly thinking about these things, do yourself a favor: let the nostalgia stay in your mind. Do not buy this game. Legends of Wrestlemania will make you wonder why you fell in love with the sport in the first place.
Hulk Hogan and wrestlers of his ilk were big beasts, and few of them were particularly fast. But in Legends of Wrestlemania, even the Ultimate Warrior is ridiculously slow. The entire game just seems plodding, stilted, and less than responsive when it comes to the controls. The game includes fast attacks, The Energy RC-Micro home theater system delivered the sound for this review.power attacks, grappling moves, counter attacks and a host of special moves based on the number of “grapple levels” you’ve built-up during the match. When your grapple level is high enough (based on the number of successful combos), you can execute more-powerful specialty moves that are specific to your wrestler. On paper, this would seem to imply that the gameplay depth is there in spades, much like a good 2D fighting game. In practice, though, Legends of Wrestlemania feels like a button masher, only the buttons don’t always respond to what you want to achieve, and the reversals work only one-fifth of the time you try.
Like the gameplay aspects, the included modes would seem to indicate that this would be a successful game. In Wrestlemania Tour Mode, players can Relive (replay) classic matches, Rewrite them (try to change the outcome) or Redefine them (include different wrestlers in now-classic scenarios). There’s also a wrestler creation mode, which includes the ability to take your created wrestler into a match against Wrestlemania legends, and the ability to create your own entrance, from song and lighting all the way to special effects and props. But even with all these apparently nice features, the game still feels more like it was built to take advantage of wrestling fans’ nostalgia than it was to impress them with gameplay quality or depth.
In fact, the wrestlers moved so slowly and responded so poorly that I eventually created custom Tag Team matches just to reminisce and re-live the classic wrestlers’ entrances. Once the matches actually started, I exited the game and setup an all-new Tag Team match just to see the next four entrances on my wish list. There was no way I was going to plod through those bouts as designed.
Wrestling is designed to be entertaining, fun and lively. Legends of Wrestlemania is anything but. When you find yourself setting up a Tag Team match just to see wrestler entrances, when you proactively look for the Credits just to watch the accompanying classic video footage, there’s something wrong with the game. Somewhere deep inside, there’s still a little Hulkamaniac that wants to “run wild on you.” Unfortunately, that same little Hulkamaniac wants to encourage all readers to run far away from this game too.
- Score: 5
- Nostalgia will inspire you to check this game out, but not even nostalgia can save this slow, brief and completely disappointing game.