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Side by Side: WWF Royal Rumble (Genesis vs. SNES)

Today’s world of system exclusive games reminds of back when the Genesis and the SNES shared many titles, and both were disputed and refuted by fans on both sides as to which one was the better buy. Of the many games that this happened to, WWF Royal Rumble isn’t usually mentioned. Wrestling games aren’t usually talked about these days, most likely since they don’t always age well, like most sport games of the era. Recent rosters and graphics make many a fan forgetful of the year before. Royal Rumble is something of a classic to some wrestling fans because of the legendary grapplers of the past and the simpler controls, back before games of today sometimes made things more work than they were worth.

As I type, I actually have both carts sitting in front of me, The SNES on the left, Genny on the right. While both games have their differences, some may have said (back when the games first came out) that the Genesis version would be superior already because of its reputation of having games with more of an adult edge, while the SNES had a reputation for child-oriented games. Well, let’s delve deeper and see who’s right!

The Differences

Presentation: Both games start out with similar intros. The Flying Edge logo followed by the capacity Wrestlemania crowd. The old WWF theme plays as various Superstars pictures flash on the screen. The menu’s bring up the same options for both games, and has all the same matches. As expected, the character select screen is pretty much the same, along with the various end match screens, even after winning the tournament modes. There would be no reason for these parts of the game to be that different, which means that so far both games are pretty much the same.

Edge: Draw

Graphics: Diversity begins here. You’ll notice that even with the same wrestler pictures as its Genesis counterpart, the SNES has clearer, crisper graphics. Even the character sprites seem a bit more defined, even with the unrealistic look of how every wrestler (except for Yokozuna) has the same exact build. The little details around are better too. The audience looks much better done, and even the ref and “Mean Gene” Okerlund seem improved. While the Genesis rendition doesn’t have horrible graphics, SNES in the end has the upper hand here.

Edge: SNES

Sound/Music: Alphonse Karr once said “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That seems to apply here. While both games have the same sounds for fighting along with each wrestler’s theme, and the SNES again has the clearer, crisper advantage. The crowd doesn’t seem to interfere with the match sounds as much as it does on the Genesis either. This seems commonplace, as the SNES was always thought to be the better sounding of the two. What makes it even worse is that we know how well the Genesis can sound, so when you hear what does come out of the game you just know it can be so much better.

  Royal Rumble Genesis theme (MP3 format, 986kb)  Royal Rumble SNES theme (MP3 format, 4.86 megs)

Edge: SNES

Gameplay: Despite having to different control schemes, you could probably still easily pick up either version of the game and know what to do relatively quickly. You’ve still got the basic punch and kicks, and even your grapple moves are in the same position. Both games keep the basic controls, so it’s just like playing the same thing no matter which one you choose. Neither really takes over and controls better. Both have the grapple meters to determine who does what move. The timing of moves, along with finisher distances for certain wrestlers stay the same. This can still be seen as a bad thing since the gameplay can get boring and repetitive quickly. No advantage for either side here.

Edge: Draw

Other: With both games showing mostly similar attributes, what’s really going to decide this is the actual characters you control. Let’s get a quick look at the rosters.

 

Genesis

SNES

Randy Savage

Randy Savage

Bret Hart

Bret Hart

Hulk Hogan

Tatanka

The Undertaker

The Undertaker

Crush

Crush

Lex Luger

Lex Luger

Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels

Papa Shango

Ric Flair

Razor Ramon

Razor Ramon

The Model

Mr. Perfect

Jim Duggan

Yokozuna

IRS

Ted Dibiase

 

So from what we can see already, even though only the Genesis version features Hulk Hogan, it also features Wrestlecrap like The Model, Papa Shango, and IRS. The closest the SNES gets to that is Tatanka. Just putting both lists together shows that even Hogan can’t hide the fact that the Genesis version gets the short end of the character stick here. I’d pick Mr. Perfect (RIP) over Rick Martel any Monday night. Unfortunately, this is the Genesis version’s downfall. The SNES’s lineup is just plain more fun.

Edge: SNES

 

Final Assessment

Wow, it looks like the Genesis gets no points today! While the SNES has the upper hand in some of the right categories, the Genesis version of Royal Rumble can still be fun to play, so both are still recommended. If you’re a fan of this era of wrestling, especially the WWF, you’ll appreciate both versions equally.

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1 Comment

  1. Brunan-Gi says:

    Nice article, but Hulk Hogan for me is the tipping point for the Genesis version. Besides, once playing, I don’t see a huge difference in graphics and sound between the two version; you are focused too much on the action.

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