WWF ROYAL RUMBLE / Flying Edge / Sega Genesis
 
 
Royal Rumble takes us back to the colorful over-the-top days of the early 90s, with a great roster if you're a fan of the old school - you've got the star power of Hogan, Hit Man, Macho Man and the then-upstart Undertaker combined with some more obscure cult favorites like Papa Shango and IRS. You even get Genesis synthy renditions of their entrance music on the character select screen, albeit with some weirdly long delay when you switch between them.

However, this was still too early for "career modes" or much complexity in the single-player experience, so it's very focused and dependent on 2-player action. Solo players can only look forward to one-off meaningless single matches, tag teams or triple tags. No quests for the belt, etc. Pro Wrestling for the NES has a more robust single-player mode than this game does.
 


The meat of the game is in the titular Royal Rumble mode. Sadly it's not the true 30-man style, but 6 characters without flicker or slowdown in the ring simultaneously still isn't too shabby for the 16-bit era. The computer wrestlers fight each other but don't really try to throw each other out, and getting tossed out when you're near the ropes is a little too easy as it can happen as a result of simply losing a grapple with no mechanism to hang on to the ropes or fight back from it. The computer also seems to want you to watch the rest of the match after you're eliminated, you have to reset the game to escape the hell of AI stomping on each other forever and never eliminating anyone.
 


WWF Royal Rumble has a number of things to like, but the controls are just a bit too clumsy. For my first couple matches I was reduced to being Nut Kick Ramon as the advanced controls like grapples were a little too obscure to get ahold of without a manual. The game goes for a nice (and unexpected) fluidity of animation, but it's paid for by a slight choppiness and cumbersomeness in the gameplay. Combine that with the lack of modes of play and the game wears out its welcome pretty quickly.
 
 
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