But, this article isn't about WCW, or the WWF for that matter.
This page does have to do with wrestling, but it's more about consumer protection. Allow me to explain.
Let's say you're walking down the street and you end up meeting me by chance. I tell you that a new wrestling game is coming out for the Sony Playstation, and if you had to pick between that and WCW Nitro, you'd want to pick Nitro. Naturally, your reaction is to laugh and call me a blithering idiot.
Well, a new wrestling game has come out by Fox Interactive, and it's called Simpsons Wrestling. If you couldn't tell by the title, it's professional wrestling, Simpsons style. And guess what? If you had a choice between this and WCW Nitro, you would probably be better off with Nitro!
Okay, if you haven't played Nitro (or its bastard offspring, WCW Thunder), let's just say that as a wrestling game, it makes a great drink coaster. Everyone has the same moves and animation, the game slows down with more than two people on the screen and you can literally win matches in less than a minute. So, why am I saying that Simpsons Wrestling is worse than Nitro? Read on.
(Note: ratings for each category are done using the DDT Digest Spice scale, with DUD being the low score and five Spices being the highest.)
You get to select from Springfield's finest, with several hidden characters that have to be unlocked. The matches are one-on-one, with no tag team option. You do get to select how many falls you must win to take the match, though.
After some loading time, you finally get to play. You'll note that not only do you have a life bar, but a stamina bar as well. I'll explain this in a bit.
Anyway, time to wreck havoc on your foe! Unfortunately, your character cannot do much in terms of wreaking havoc. You get a ground attack, which differs per character. For instance, Homer can punch, while Groundskeeper Willie swings a mean rake. There is a special move that can be done with the "O" button, but you must have full stamina or you can't pull it off. Again, this differs per character. So, if you're Barney Gumble you'll belch at your enemy, leaving a cloud which does damage. Krusty The Clown swings a mean mallet, but is hard to control while doing so. Oh yeah, you lose stamina when you punch as well, so after about ten or so swings, you're blown up like The Warrior and have to not attack in order to raise your stamina. Maybe if they gave the characters Blow Away or something...
In addition to the above, you can grapple your opponent, but the only thing you can do is whip him to the ropes. No headlocks, takedowns, suplexes, etc. And it's not like you can throw a dropkick or a clothesline on the rebound. Another drawback is that even though you're inside a ring, you can't climb the turnbuckle for an aerial attack. You can jump from the mat, but all you can do is bounce over and over on your opponent's head. No planchas or hurricaranas here, not even a flying axehandle.
So, your moveset is limited to four or five moves, or to be more accurate, less moves than Lex Luger has in his arsenal. But, that's okay because I'll just go outside, grab a chair, and... no wait. You can't exit the ring. And you can't grab foreign objects, so you're limited to what your character possesses, and even then the damage output is the same. Thus, that rake of Willie's does no more damage than an attack from Bart.
There are also random power-ups that will increase your speed, stamina or life. Furthermore, you can collect items that spell out the word "TAUNT." Once this is fully spelled, you basically throw the script out the window and no-sell your opponent's moves for a short period. Oh, I'm sorry, I meant you become invunlerable. :-)
What it boils down to is that you have to basically punch your opponent enough times to bring his/her life bar down to nothing. Then you cover your opponent for the pin. But, there are two problems here:
And there within lies the problem. There is absolutely NO strategy to this game whatsoever. You run up to your opponent and punch away, and when you get low on life, you stay back, hope for a life power-up and attack with your special move when there's an opening. Vince Russo's WCW had more wrestling than this pile of garbage in a box. Yes, this is supposed to be a parody on wrestling games, but there's no wrestling to speak of! None! And the brawling is not only horribly done, but almost non-existant, as well!
Graphics is a mixed bag, really. On one hand, the graphics are not very sharp, and other wrestling titles such as WWF Smackdown!2 look much better. But, we're trying to recreate The Simpsons here, so in that aspect the graphics are good. The backgrounds are okay, but not fully three-dimensional. The characters are well done, though, and they look almost exactly like the TV show. Each character gets their own background, so if you're fighting on Krusty's turf you're in a circus tent, and you fight Apu in front of the Kwik-E-Mart. However, there are no moving objects, and the people in the crowd are drawn two-dimensionally, so they look like cardboard fold-outs.
Much like Flair vs. Steamboat being the only good thing about WrestleWar '89, the sounds are the only thing worthwhile about this title. While the background music is rather generic, and the effects bland, the voice acting is superb here. The people who do the voices for the TV show supply the voices for the game, as well. So, when Lisa speaks, you're hearing Yeardley Smith, not some cheap imitation. There are supposedly 250 different phrases supplied by all the characters put together, and some of the phrases are specific towards certain characters. Because of this, you may hear the same phrase mentioned twice within five minutes, though. Kent Brockman (the news anchor) does some light commentary, but it is nowhere near as in-depth as WWF Warzone.
Usually, whenever you see a video game based on a license from pop culture, you can be assured of total crap. (See any THQ game prior to their wrestling games for PSX and Nintendo 64 for the precedent.) Well, Simpsons Wrestling delivers this and more. Easily one of the worst games I ever played, with no gameplay or strategy whatsoever. You can tell by the lack of moves and the not-so-great graphics that this title was an obvious rush job by Fox Interactive to cash in on the Simpsons brand name while it lasts. It's a shame, too, because had the developers taken some time to outfit each character with different moves and changed the game engine to allow out of ring fighting with goofy weapons, we could have had a winner on our hands. Sadly, Simpsons Wrestling is just a weiner.
Don't bother with this game unless you eat, breathe and shit Simpsons. Even then, stick to renting this drivel.
The Good: Voice acting.
The Bad: Everything else.
The Ugly: Had I bought this title instead of renting it with a friend, I'd be out another $40.
Thank you for reading. As a side note, if you're interested in finding video game reviews from the people that matter (you and I), there's only one place to go: Right Here.
See you later!