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WWF: War Zone

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Reviewed by Scott McCall After the resounding success of WCW vs. NWO: World Tour that took many by surprise, it's no shock that Acclaim has released some squared-circle competition. With a long history of developing WWF games since the NES days, Acclaim has easily made WWF: War Zone the best WWF game ever. But is it better than the current wrestling game king, WCW vs. NWO: World Tour? From its inception, WWF: War Zone was positioned with decidedly different play mechanics. As a matter of fact, your gameplay and control preference will determine which wrestling game you think is better. Basically, WWF: War Zone is set up even more like a fighting game than WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. For instance, quick attacks (punches and kicks) seem to be too readily available and might be relied too heavily upon. Also, you'll find that you're forced to memorize moves for all the wrestlers, much like in a fighting game. There's no universal moves scheme like in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. However, WWF: War Zone contains many more modes of play than WCW vs. NWO: World Tour -- a definite advantage. Here are the modes of play, some of which can only be played by a certain number of people: Training, Challenge, Cage, Royal Rumble (sorry, only four in the ring at once), Versus, Tag Team, Weapons, Gauntlet, and War. WWF: War Zone's one-player mode is far better than the one-player mode in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour because this one has quite a few ways to play, including grudge matches, to keep the game fresh. Speaking of which, the WWF's Cage matches have always been cool, and this game got a great one, too. There's even a special Weapons mode for all of you who wished you could take weapons into the ring in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. But quite possibly the best asset of WWF: War Zone is the Create-A-Player feature. Even the forthcoming WCW/NWO Revenge won't have anything quite like this. This great feature lets you piecemeal together an original creation with dozens of options for each part of the body. Graphically, WWF: War Zone has realistic-looking wrestlers with texture-mapped faces and soft-skinned bodies. The photo realism is certainly far beyond the varied but more dull approach used in WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. Another big improvement over that game is in the area of graphical glitches. While WCW vs. NWO: World Tour had noticeable clipping errors and hit detection flaws, WWF: War Zone is surprisingly almost glitch free. Most of the motion-captured animation is well done, too, if a little on the slow side. Even the crowd looks decent. But there are a few places the graphics need tweaking. The wrestler entrances are cool at first, but they need more variety and special effects. The ring and its surroundings are nice, but there's basically only one setting. How about some bouts in other places? And while the animation looks nice, it's definitely not as varied or comprehensive as WCW vs. NWO: World Tour. As a side note, I just have to mention that the front end (i.e., navigating through the menus) is very cool. Aurally, WWF: War Zone really excels. There's a short digitized clip of some hard rock music when you first turn on the game that sounds great, and the music during the menus and such is good. The MIDI renditions of the wrestlers' theme music aren't bad at all. And the two-man commentary is a big plus, even though it can get repetitive. At first, you can tell the voice is compressed, but it doesn't sound as unnatural as Acclaim's All-Star Baseball '99. Finally, the sound effects are great. There's crowd interaction during the match ("3:16!" or "Open a can!" or "Because Stone Cold said so." or much more), the wrestlers have cool voice taunts, and there are different yells, moans, etc., for the wrestlers. There's no doubt about it: WWF: War Zone is not only a very good wrestling game but a very good game overall. But is it better than WCW vs. NWO: World Tour? In my humble opinion, no. I like WCW vs. NWO: World Tour's more intuitive control and faster, easier gameplay better. And I think WCW vs. NWO: World Tour is just, well, more fun. The lack of wrestlers in WWF: War Zone, not to mention that most of the roster is outdated, also hurts. On the other hand, WWF: War Zone definitely has a lot more personality and atmosphere than WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, plus it's got a really great Create-A-Player feature. However, you can't go wrong with either game. Besides, if you're a real die-hard fan, you should have both games in your collection.

Graphics: 4.7 out of 5 Sound: 4.6 out of 5 Control: 3.9 out of 5 Gameplay: 4.2 out of 5 Lastability: 4.2 out of 5 Overall: 4.2 out of 5

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