Saturday 19 October 2019

WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge (Sega Master System 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 or battle it out with two players competitively. There's also a two-player Tag Team mode where you work together to wrestle the computer. A strength indicator at the top of the screen 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! To make matters worse, the Tag Team mode features heavy slowdown, as the game engine can't handle four characters on screen at the same time.

WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge is a very basic game and one that does its absolute best to implement everything as halfheartedly as possible. Its main gimmick is steel cage matches, but even these can't mask the shoddy gameplay, bare-bones moves list and lack of any deviation between each included wrestler.

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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