WCW VS NWO: REVENGE / THQ / Nintendo 64
 
 
Revenge is one of those "sequels" that's really more like an expansion pack. It came out really hot on the heels of World Tour -- I think a little less than a year -- and it's the same game engine with just some tweaks and additions.

Which is not too bad of a thing in this case, as the gameplay engine that developer Aki introduced with the prequel was by far the best yet in rasslin' games when it came out. Granted, this was 1998, so to today's player it all may be a little too blocky and primitive. But this solid foundation is what many of the great wrestling games would be built on in later generations, including the Day of Reckoning series.
 


Revenge trips us back to late 1998 / early 1999, when WCW was still riding pretty high. So the roster is no worse for the wear just yet, with pretty much everyone you'd care about returning from World Tour with a couple new outfits to boot. Some of the misnamed, unlicensed Japanese and lucha libre guys have been cut to make space, however, but Han Zo Mon (Hannibal), Kim Chee and AKI Man have survived the purge! Among the new big names are Goooldbeeerg, the Macho Man, Bret Hart, Booker T, Mr. Perfect (who just goes by Curt Hennig here since I guess the WWF owned the name) and Chris Jericho. Ric Flair gets cut because he was temporarily fired just before the game was supposed to ship, and Wrath is completed and in the game code but for some reason not playable without hacks or Gameshark codes or somesuch (and then he gets stuck with Sting's outfit because they didn't give him one). And while there's no CAW mode, you can swap pretty much anyone's outfit with anyone else's to create Hollywood La Parka or the Excellence of Executioner.
 


The one really big improvement to gameplay is that characters have a revamped move set that more actually reflects the moves they did in real life, with a lot of their little detailed mannerisms, especially in their taunts and finishers. The one weird exception to this is good ol' Hulk Hogert, who got seriously nerfed for some reason with a lot of generic moves and his signature running leg drop cut out of the game.

The one *downside* to gameplay is the new "run-in" feature. If one guy is getting his ass whooped, a random CPU helper will run in for the double-team. They have kind of an arbitrary time limit of 2 minutes or so, however, then they just wander out of the ring and stand around. I think they can also be driven out early if you do enough damage. Either way, they aren't particularly aggressive, but they still artificially extend matches that you were about to finish off. The partner selection also seems to be totally random, which leads to guys who were storyline enemies at the time sometimes helping each other out. Fortunately, this can be turned off in multiplayer and exhibition matches, but you're stuck with it in Championship mode.
 


And while wrestler outfit selection and move set has been improved, I was a little disappointed that they didn't get their ring music and tend to have fairly generic ring entrances. I know the N64 can't handle much in this department, but at least a MIDI version of their music would be nice. Championship mode is also still just 10 random matches strung together back-to-back, with no storyline component.

Still, together, Revenge and World Tour are possibly the best wrestling games of the 64-bit generation, and at least one is a worthy addition to any N64 collection. You can get used copies of both for a song, so really, there's no need to agonize over which one to get.
 
 
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