WCW vs. NWO: World Tour
Reviewed by Scott McCall
I'm neither a wrestling fan nor an expert when it comes to the
video game versions. However, I couldn't help but be impressed
by THQ's WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. I think the last time I had so
much fun with a wrestling game was Pro Wrestling back on the
NES. And, man, if a non-fan can have this much fun with the game,
imagine how much you'll like it if you're a real wrestling fan.
Let's face it, THQ has not exactly had the greatest track record.
But with the dropping of the dot between the "T" and the "H,"
it's starting to turn things around. THQ's first Nintendo 64
title, WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, is the American version of
Asmik's Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, though THQ helped produce
the game. And it's simply the best wrestling title ever released.
Because of the cartridge format, you won't find memory-hogging
full-motion video sequences here. What you will find, however,
is the most smoothly animated, best-looking wrestlers to ever
grace a video game system and incredible gameplay to go along
with them. You will literally be in awe when you see a few of
the game's 60 wrestlers enter the ring for the first time. Of
the 60 wrestlers, you will find stars from the WCW, from the
NWO, and from two independent and/or fictitious leagues, not
to mention some hidden characters.
Although the action can resort to wild button pressing at times,
WCW vs. NWO: World Tour was actually designed to avoid those
situations -- and it shows. There's a button for submission moves,
a button for reversals, a button for action, a button for grabs,
and much more. Beginning players will quickly learn that button
mashing does not lead to good things. You'll actually be better off
learning what the individual buttons do at various times in this game.
The way the game works is that there's a "Spirit Meter" for
each of the wrestlers. Getting pummeled will reduce it and
will make you easier to knock out or pin. Once you start to turn the
tables and perform successive moves, your Spirit Meter
begins to go up (even after it's way down). When the meter
reaches "Special," you are able to perform a devastating special
move. It's over for you when you are pinned, literally
knocked out, you're counted out of the ring for 20 seconds,
or you tap out due to a submission hold. Despite any reservations
you may have in your mind right now, you will often find that
matches with four players can take anywhere from 10 minutes
to 35 minutes to complete! I should also note that some of the
aforementioned items can be toggled and changed in the options.
WCW vs. NWO: World Tour contains various modes of play,
including Exhibition, Tournament, League, and Battle Royal.
That means you can go by yourself against the computer,
though that will certainly lose its appeal after a short time.
But if you get the opportunity to play any of the multi-player
modes, even if it's only with one other person, then WCW vs.
NWO: World Tour really begins to shine. Two players can be
tag team partners against the computer or can compete against
each other in a tournament or league. The far and away best
mode of the game, though, is the Battle Royal. This is a mode
in which there are four wrestlers in the ring at one time,
battling each other in a "every man for himself" mode of play.
It can be played by anywhere from one player, who would battle
against three computer opponents, to four players. The cool thing
about this mode is that even after you are knocked out, ringed out,
or counted out, you can still cause havoc by pulling guys out of
the ring and beating on them.
The graphics in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour can be described as
graceful and awe-inspiring. You will have to go through many
matches until you see all of the animation the game has to offer.
And with many wrestlers having their own animation, it may
take even longer. Next up is the game's intelligent camera. I'll
admit that I thought the camera angles might be a problem in the
game, but the developers did a great job with them. When only
two wrestlers are in the ring, the camera is tight. As they get
farther away from each other, it zooms out. When more wrestlers are
added, it zooms out to the appropriate distance depending on
where they are on the screen. Finally, I'd just like to note that
every wrestler has four different outfits, which is very cool.
Some of the outfits in the game are great. Obviously, they did this
just in case all four people wanted to pick the same wrestler.
Even the audio side of WCW vs. NWO: World Tour is impressive.
The game has some of the best background music I've heard on
the N64 thus far. There aren't that many sound effects to speak
of, but the voice of the announcer counting out the wrestlers
is pretty good. About the only thing needed in the sequel would
be voice for the wrestlers, maybe as part of a taunt or something.
The crowd noise is pretty decent, too, but I'm always a stickler
for continuing to improve it in every sports game.
WCW vs. NWO: World Tour is not only the best wrestling game
ever but it's also the best fighting game on the system, which
is both sad and impressive at the same time. If you're even a
modest wrestling fan, you'll definitely want to get a hold of
this game. Hey, if you're not a wrestling fan, you'll still want to
get in some quality time with this game. And if you're a die-hard
wrestling fan, then, well, you'll be in heaven. WCW vs. NWO: World
Tour is not perfect, as it lags in the single-player mode, but it will
be hard to find a better four-player game, let alone a better
Graphics: 4.6 out of 5
Sound: 4.4 out of 5
Control: 4.1 out of 5
Gameplay: 4.4 out of 5
Lastability: 4.3 out of 5
Overall: 4.4 out of 5