Tuesday 22 October 2019

WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge (Sega Game Gear review)

Developer: Teeny Weeny Games
Publisher: Flying Edge
Released: 1993

WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge is a sports game that was originally released on the Nintendo NES in 1992.

The line-up consists of Hulk Hogan, Irwin R. Schyster, Bret Hart, Macho Man, Ted DiBiase, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Papa Shango, Tatanka and Ric Flair (the last four being exclusive to Sega platforms). Each has an impressive rendition of their entrance music, along with a competent mugshot, and they're even introduced by Howard Finkel beforehand! You can play one-on-one against the computer in either singles or Tag Team matches. A strength indicator shows how much life each wrestler has left; when your opponents bar has been decreased enough you'll want to press Down and B when they're on the ground to attempt a pin. If you're playing in a Steel Cage match you can also win by climbing up the cage before your opponent reaches his feet. Attacks include slams, head butts and flying elbows, and pressing A and B together allows you to run or bounce off the ropes to perform flying clotheslines and shoulder butts. The action plays more like a brawler than a wrestling game, as the moves list is small and no character specific stats or special moves are available. As a result, each wrestler plays exactly the same and with little strategy involved every match ends up with mindless and continuous button mashing. For example, you can literally win matches by standing stationary and repeatedly pressing the kick button! Whereas the Sega Master System version had slowdown in the Tag Team mode, this port crawls along throughout and it's quite shocking how lethargic everything feels. The ability to play against a friend has been stripped out too (e.g. there's no link cable support).

This handheld port of WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge suffers from the same issues as the Sega Master System version, namely a lack of deviation in each wrestler's repertoire and a bare-bones move-set. However, it's further crippled by rampant slowdown in all modes, making this by far the worst version to play.

Random trivia: The wrestlers that were exclusive to the NES version were The Mountie, Roddy Piper, Sid Justice and Jake Roberts.

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