Monday, June 21, 2010

Five Count: Worst Wrestling Video Games

E3 was last week and that means video games, including wrestling video games. THQ unveiling Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 comes as no surprise, but the new WWE All-Stars game was unexpected. I'm not shocked to see THQ go back to the drawing board after Legend of WrestleMania bombed, I have no doubt they'd like to milk that WWE license at least twice a year, but to see them go all the way back to the days of WrestleMania: The Arcade Game was a bit jarring.

Image property of THQ

Strange as the game looks, will it find a spot on the worst video games of all time?  It's going to take a lot of work (or lack of work, I suppose), to oust one of these five:

5. WCW/nWo Thunder (PSOne)
It was hard to choose between Thunder or Nitro, but Thunder gets the nod for being a horrible sequel to a horrible game.  At least with Nitro, you could say "well it was their first try, they'll fix this stuff in the sequel," except the sequel wound up being worse.  The only thing keeping this game from not being higher on the list is the wrestlers begging you to pick them on the character selection screen, if you want to know what the Germans are all about, pick Alex Wright!

4. WWF War Zone (PSOne/N64)
I played the hell out of this game in 1998, but that's because I was left with no other option as a WWE fan. Keep in mind, this was the first "true" WWE game in over four years, so after suffering through the aforementioned WrestleMania: The Arcade Game and the truly terrible In Your House, War Zone was better than nothing, but it certainly wasn't better than the WCW games being offered up on the N64.  A small roster, annoying control scheme, and the crushing disappointment earn this game a spot on the list.  To be fair, it was the first American wrestling game to give us Create-a-Wrestler, and its sequel (Attitude) was an improvement, but there's a reason why developer Acclaim went bankrupt.  Churning out this game four times (including the dreadful ECW games that used the same engine) probably played a big role.

3. WWF In Your House (PSOne)
Quite possibly the most obnoxious wrestling video game ever created, just watching this video irritates me:

2. WCW Backstage Assault (PSOne/N64)
It's a wrestling game without a ring.  I'm going to repeat that: a wrestling game without a ring.  For those of you who who cut your teeth on the Smackdown vs. Raw series, this may seem utterly absurd, but at the time, it kinda made sense.  For some reason, we wrestling game fans loved the backstage area, we wanted to take the fight out of the ring, through the curtain, into the parking lot, out to the street, and eventually into the Smackdown Mall.  We wanted smash heads into pool tables, throw our opponents into the back of a semi truck, and hit flying elbow drops from out of a helicopter.  So EA, who had the rights to WCW games at the time, decided to make a whole game of that... and it sucked.... a lot: ugly graphics, terrible gameplay, not a single redeeming quality.  To add insult to injury, this wound up being the final WCW video game, but at least fans didn't have to play a video game version of the Invasion.

1. The Simpsons Wrestling (PSOne)
Let's just piss everyone off: fans of wrestling games, fans of The Simpsons, fans of Simpsons video games (okay those don't exist), fans of video games in general, and fans of good taste.  Calling this a wrestling game is offensive, calling this a game is offensive, because the word "game" implies fun and there was nothing fun about this atrocity.

Awful.  You may find it odd that all of these games appeared on the PSOne, but I think that has more to do with the Playstation being the console when wrestling was at its peak.  Everyone wanted to cash in on the wrestling craze, and game developers did so on the Playstation.  And I realize there are some truly awful games that didn't make the cut, so let's discuss the dishonorable mentions:

Backyard Wrestling - while BY and its sequel were unforgivably bad, they really did a good job of capturing the essence of what Backyard Wrestling was all about - shitty wannabes trying to wrestle.  Throwing people through tables as transitional moves, poor execution, and painfully ugly?  These things could be said about both the game and actual backyard wrestling.

WWE Crush Hour - I didn't include this in the list because the only thing related to wrestling in this game is the characters.  It's probably the worst Twisted Metal knockoff ever made, but it's not a wrestling game.

The WWE Xbox Games - I've read some scathing reviews of the wrestling games that were churned out on the original Xbox, but I've honestly never played them.  If they deserve a spot on this list, let me know why.

Legends of Wrestling - While these games were bad, often riddled with bugs and almost unplayable, there were a lot of good ideas.  If this series had been placed in the hands of a competent developer (instead of Acclaim), it could've been legitimate competition to WWE's wrestling game monopoly.


  1. Man, I remember some of the stinkers from the NES/SNES days.... now those were terrible.

  2. I liked a lot of the NES games. Granted, I was a kid and probably have the rose-tinted glasses on, but I liked them at the time! My personal favorite?


  3. I'm not saying they were all bad. Some of them were questionable however.

    My first game on the NES (aside from Gyromite) was Tag Team Wrestling.

    You remember Tag Team Wrestling, right?

    And I had a game called Hammerlock Wrestling for the SNES... that was terrible.

  4. Oh man, Hammerlock... yeah that game blew.

    Tag Team Wrestling, Pro Wrestling and Tecmo Wrestling were staples of my childhood. I miss unlicensed wrestling games.

  5. Tecmo World Wrestling was AWESOME. B. Chekov is the greatest of men.

  6. Yeah, but do you remember Wrestlemania for the NES.... Ugh.

  7. Yeah, WM was terrible, but it doesn't make the list simply because it let you pick up guitars to give the Honky Tonk Man power.

  8. Maybe next week you can do a Top 5 Wrestling video games. There have been some good ones afterall (No Mercy, most of the SD! series etc.).

    I'm too young to really remember any of the NES games but i remember the PSOne and N64. I wasn't a huge fan of War Zone, Attitude or Acclaim's ECW game as you had to hit a ridiculous combination of buttons to perform a move.

    Only played Mayhem and Backstage Assault of the WCW games. Mayhem was OK you got a fairly large roster to play with. Didn't like Backstage Assault, the lack of a ring annoyed me and the game was far too brief.

  9. I remember having an argument with a friend about whether Def Jam: Fight for New York was a wrestling game. I won that argument when I brought up the engine it used.

  10. I really wish they'd make another Def Jam game like that, I loved that friggin game.

  11. WWF Betrayal for Game Boy Color was terrible. Side scrolling, repetitive 2D fighter with 4 playable characters and a terrible storyline.

  12. WCW/nWo Thunder and WCW Nitro were gods among games! You take that back!

  13. Review WCW N***** [/Scotsmanality]

  14. Royal Rumble for the Dreamcast has got to be up there. With games like No Mercy,Revenge, and WM2000 being out the new game on the new system should have been awesome. 9 wrestlers in the ring at one time?! crazy!! Only 2 modes and only 20 superstars to fill a match that has 30 participants? Also crazy but not in the good way lol

  15. PS. lol at the fact that the first thing i thought of when you mentioned Thunder was Alex Wrights video

  16. I heard Galactic Wrestling was pretty bad too.

  17. Royal Rumble was pretty terrible. I've only played the arcade version (though I'm pretty sure it's just the Dreamcast game with a joystick), and mourned the loss of those quarters.

    And for the sake of good taste, I cannot take back my hatred of Nitro/Thunder.

  18. I just looked up the WCW games on the PSX. Wow. Craptacular.

  19. WCW vs. The World was really good, it laid the groundwork for World Tour, Revenge, WM2000 and No Mercy, but everything after that? Yeah, awful.

  20. hell yeah for wcw vs the world. benoit's powerbomb off the top turnbuckle was amazing

  21. I remember the first time I saw it, it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen in a wrestling game.

  22. I am reading about that Chikara game... it sounds like it is going to be an old school beat em up.

    As a fan of that genre, so I am pleased about that, though slightly disappointed it isn't going to be a straight wrestling game.

  23. Best wrestling games are those that use the engine of Def Jam: No Mercy, WM2000, WCW vs World, Revenge, even Power Moves was a decent psone wrestling game, and all of their japanese counterparts. Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 is great.

    Also the Fire Pro series rock, unfortunately most of them only available in japanese.