WCW vs. the World was released in early 1997 for the Sony PlayStation. The game was developed by Asmik, a development team that went on to create the critically-acclaimed WCW vs. NWO: World Tour and WCW/NWO Revenge video games. They also developed WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy. All of these games have used a refined version of this game's engine. Without this game, none of the above games would have existed. Asmik has gained a claim to fame by raising the standards for wrestling games, then topping the standards they created. With each new wrestling game they created, they tweaked the engine to do things no one would have ever thought possible. It is, at times, hard to believe that all of their success is due to this game's fantastic game engine. WCW vs. the World is a WCW-licensed U.S. port of Virtual Pro Wrestling, which was released in Japan in late 1996. The two versions of the game are identical, save for the Japanese characters in VPW, and the rather interesting character changes that occurred. VPW features unaltered versions of the Dynamite Kid and Vader, however, in WCW vs. the World, the moveset for Vader was given to the Dynamite Kid, and Vader's appearance, as well as Dynamite's original moveset, were left out of the game. In their place resides Jeff Jarrett.
While on the subject of the roster, it is extremely diverse. There are about 15 WCW wrestlers in the game, while the rest of the roster is based on real-life wrestlers who have had their appearance and names modified to avoid copyright infringement. There are about 50 wrestlers in the game, with styles that span the wrestling world.
WCW vs. the World features a smooth, intuitive gameplay engine that does an incredible job of giving each wrestling style in the game their just desserts. High-flying wrestlers, such as the Ultimo Dragon, are represented well due to the plethora of aerial attacks featured in the game. Everything from the top-rope hurracanrana, to the Asai moonsault, a move named after the Ultimo Dragon, is included in the game. Technical wrestlers, such as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and “The Canadian Crippler” Chris Benoit are represented just as well as the high-flying cruiserweights, perhaps even moreso. The nature of their styles, specifically the submission aspects of their styles, compliments the realistic aspects of wrestling that the game covers. The scientific nature of their moves, especially those that wear down body parts, are shown off wondrously because the game reflects the damage done to body parts.
For example, if you play as Ric Flair, and you attack the legs in order to set your opponent up for his finisher, the figure-four leg lock, you’ll stand a better chance at attaining victory than if you hadn’t attacked the legs at all. This game does a fantastic job of emphasizing the psychological aspects of professional wrestling. For example, a wrestler who has had his leg worked over will have to be cautious when attempting to execute attacks that can be countered into moves that will further damage his already injured leg. If he isn’t careful, he will risk damaging the limb further, and risk losing the match as a result. The game’s attention to psychological details doesn’t stop there; they continue on with arm, neck, and back damage; much the same way as in leg damage.
WCW vs. the World’s exceptional gameplay is complimented by the game’s numerous modes of play. Aside from a standard one-on-one match, you can conduct a tournament for a title that you, the player, create (this was the first game to feature a create-a-belt mode.) This first-ever mode enables gamers to recreate title matches of the past, present, and the future. You can also use your titles in a regular match. You can also compete for the championship titles of all of the other fake wrestling companies in the game. These companies, like many of the wrestlers, have real-life counterparts, they’ve just been changed up a bit to avoid legal problems.
The controls in WCW vs. the World are smooth and intuitive. Each and every move can be done easily each and every time you attempt it. This is one wrestling game with a control scheme that works with the player, not against it like some other wrestling games on the market.
The graphics in the game are a mixed bag, and are one of the worst aspects of the game. However, despite their faults, they are satisfactory. The characters’ bodies, particularly the faces, lack detail. This causes them to look bland, almost generic. Thankfully, the outfits on all of the characters are pack with details. Little things, such as an NWO logo on a T-shirt, can be made out perfectly. The character movement and move animation are great. They are very life-like and add another layer of realism to the game.
The sound in the game is, without a doubt, the worst aspect of the game. There is no theme music for any of the wrestlers in the game, while I can understand this being the case for non-WCW wrestlers, there is no excuse for it with the WCW wrestlers. The in-game music, as well as the menu music, is uninspired and adds nothing to the game. It just serves to take up space.
The replay value of WCW vs. the World is sky-high. The addictive, reality-based gameplay will keep you hooked; as will the nearly-limitless create-a-belt feature. The game’s diverse roster enables you to have dream matches you would have never thought about ever seeing in real life. Want to see Mitsuharu Misawa take on Sting? It’s possible with this game. As are many other dream matches.
Overall, WCW vs. the World is one of the finest wrestling games on the PSX. The gameplay is some of the most addictive I’ve ever played, and the controls are great. The graphics and sound are the game’s only real downfalls. Thankfully, these downfalls don’t detract too much from the overall experience of playing the game. This game can now be found for about $10, so give it a shot. If, by some chance, you can’t find this game, try and pick up the import. It’s in Japanese, but it’s the exact same game, and it shouldn’t cost you more than $15.
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[ August 16, 2004, 08:31 PM: Message edited by: Jeremy Peeples ]