Saturday, March 13, 2010

Canon Video Game Review: WCW Super Brawl (Super Nintendo)

The idea of this review came from reader Ben W. His request was simple, it was as follows: "Play WCW Superbrawl for the SNES. Complete one match with at least half of the roster and give us your take on the game." Well, I aim to please, so what the hey. First, some info on the game. WCW SuperBrawl is a wrestling game made exclusively for the Super Nintendo. It was released in 1994 and features 12 wrestlers. Each wrestler has their own signature move in the game, as well as a signature saying in the wrestler select screen. One interesting thing is that when the game was released in 1994, out of the 12 wrestlers in the game, only 6 were still in WCW when the game was released. The Steiner Brothers hadn't been in WCW for two whole years, yet they still made their way into the game. Way to keep current there guys. Here's the cover to the game:

A basic cover, as you've got Flair, Sting, and Vader posing and pointing or whatever. The cover is inoffensive enough, and at least didn't feature guys like the Steiners or Ron Simmons who weren't a part of WCW anymore. That would be weird. Anyway, the hilarity begins at the wrestler select screen, where each wrestler will randomly emerge from their photos to say their catchphrase. For example, Ric Flair says Whoooo!. My favorite ones are Rick Steiner and Ron Simmons, partially because they're kind of dumb (Steiner says "It's not my fault" and Simmons says "Show Me Respect"), and partially because it's obvious to anyone familiar with those wrestlers that those are not their voices. Also, even though it's supposed to be done at random, some wrestlers say their catchphrases a lot more than others. So while Johnny B. Badd says "I'm BAAAAADD" over and over agian, other wrestlers like Brian Pillman and Dustin Rhodes speak once every month. That is, if one were to leave the game on for a month straight.

There are three different modes in this game; Single event, tournament, and Ultimate Challenge. Single Event is just one match, and can either be a 1 vs. 1 or a 2 vs. 2 match. Matches can be set to have 1, 3, or 5 falls if you so choose. I played it safe and went for 1 fall. Tournament is either an eight man singles tournament or a 4 team tag tournament, while Ultimate Challenge is where you take one wrestler and have to beat every other wrestler in the game to win the Ultimate Challenge! True to my word, I wrestled as half of the roster in the game. The first three matches were singles matches, they are, in order:

Dustin Rhodes(me) vs. Brian Pillman
Ron Simmons (me) vs. Vader
Sting (me) vs. Brian Pillman

I didn't want to face Pillman twice, but the CPU atomatically selects your opponent, so I had no choice. Pillman was annoying as heck to face, as every time you gained an advantage over him, he'd go to the outside of the ring. Also, he would keep diving off the top rope, which is just dumb in this game as unless your oppenent is in one exact position, you're not going to hit anything off the top rope. Pillman wasn't very skilled apparently, so I easily won my matches against him. Vader, meanwhile, is another story, as his stats are jacked up, and every move he does is worth 3 of Pillman's moves. I was unable to recover from this disadvantage, as Vader won easily. One thing I did find interesting is that Vader didn't wear any pants in this game, just a singlet.

The next match I had was a tag match, controlling The Steiner Brothers against the unlikely duo of Sting and Rick Rude. In real life, that might be a very good match. In this game, the tag partners take every chance possible to get in the ring, making it somewhat annoying. Also, the tag button (select) was very unresponsive. I must have pressed it about six times before finally tagging my partner in. Anyway, it was an even match, but I lost. Finally, I decided to take the Ultimate Challenge with Ric Flair. Although I won three matches (against Scott Steiner, Vader, and Simmons), it was still frustrating, as I couldn't put on the figure four to save my life. Finally, I lost to Ricky Steamboat, who, much like Vader, must have jacked up stats on this game, because he was able to do whatever he wanted with me.

The controls in this game are rather simple, A and X does different grappling moves, and you can do different moves depending on which direction button you combine with A or X. For example, up and X, while left and A does a backbreaker. Every wrestler does the same moves, except for their one finishing move. Y does dropkicks, no matter what direction you hit, while the B button does different strikes, again depending on what direction button you combine B with. The L and R buttons allows the player to run, while select tags in tag team matches, and Start pauses the game. When you build up enough on your finisher meter, you can hit B and Y to perform the finishing maneuver. While the controls are simple, the game is not very responsive to your controls, as sometimes I had to hit the dang buttons 3 or 4 times before I finally did a move. Also, unless your opponent is standing exactly in front of you, you won't be able to hit any moves. There are no counter moves, so the only hope you have is to push your buttons before your opponent does the same. The referee's count in this game is awfully fast, so unless you kick out right away, chances are you will lose.

The graphics are decent enough for their time, although the graphics for other 16-bit wrestling games, like WWF Raw or the Fire Pro Series, were far superior to these. Also, the game has a problem with collision detection, and some of the animations look a little strange. The sound is kind of annoying, as every match has a cheering crowd that doesn't change volume or noises the whole time, no matter what you do. Tony Schiavone pipes in every once in a while when you hit a big move, and the wrestlers say their catch phrases after hitting their finisher.

Overall, this game is interesting in that it was the only WCW video game to come out on either the Super NES or the Sega Genesis, so this was you're only chance to play as Vader or Sting or Pillman if you were a WCW fan and a video gamer. If you weren't a wrestling fan and looking for a good game to play, this wouldn't be it. At best, WCW Superbrawl is a below-average fighting game that takes place in a ring. The controls are slow to respond, the graphics and animations are kind of wonky, and the audio isn't very appealing at all. So one's enjoyment will vary depending on how familiar they are with WCW and its wrestlers. As far as the game goes, I'll give it a 3.3 out of 10, as it was at least better than WCW Nitro, but it's too flawed to be considered a good game, even when you consider it's time period.

Well, thanks for reading. If you have an idea for a future review, or you would like to submit your own content to The Canon Review, than send me your ideas at Here, for your enjoyment, is a video of the intro and character select screens for WCW Superbrawl:

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