Genre: Sports Developer: Sculptured Software Publisher: Acclaim Ent. Players: 1-4 Released: 1994
I have to admit it, back when I was a kid the WWF was a lot of fun for me. I’ll never forget the likes of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior and the other famous wrestlers. It was clean fun with a bunch of strong guys dressed in outrageous outfits, unlike today where everyone has an attitude and it seems like the WWE and ECW are about how mouthy and arrogant each wrestler can be while making the actual wrestling take a back seat. Back then, it only seemed fit to take the world famous badly-acted soap opera of a fake sport and make a slew of games with the WWF license tacked on. WWF Super Wrestlemania was a favorite of mine as a kid and my friends rented Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game all the time so that was a blast too. Now, I try to go back to them and realize just how thin they are on gameplay, and WWF Raw was no exception. While the Genesis release was considered solid in its day and was fairly successful and worth the shelf space, Acclaim felt the need to pad the 32X library with another unneeded port with a few meager upgrades that would hardly be considered worthwhile on the maligned add-on.
WWF Raw consists of twelve main wrestlers and included a hidden wrestler in this version, Kwang, who was added to as a lame excuse of an upgrade to say this version was worth it. Each wrestler has a set of basic moves which most are executed by button mashing during a grapple, they also have a finishing move that will take down an opponent with less than 50% of their health left and a super move that is gravity defying and performed Mortal Kombat style moves but are too hard to perform despite the computer pulling them off too often with ease.
Each standard mode is included here too, including Royal Rumble and Bedlam (two-on-two, not tag team). It also supports up to four players which ads some playability, but it’s for naught since you’ll never get four people in the same spot willing to sit through this. The control is responsive but inadequate since it’s so hard to pull off special moves, and button mashing is successful for grapples at random times. It becomes all the worse since grapples are essential to pulling off a majority of your moves. Each button in a grapple performs a different move.
The graphics are slightly brighter this time but not necessarily better. They do nothing that the Genesis can’t do without the 32X. Instead of a red border around the ring you get to stare at a purple border, which gives the game a flamboyant look. The wrestlers are drawn reasonably well, but animation is limited, and they never look like their pushing the hardware. The game also is given a much gaudier look this time which also detracts from the overall presentation.
The audio is pretty mediocre too which is to be expected from Acclaim. Each wrestler sounds the same with the same “oohs,” “aahs,” and grunts ad nauseam, it gets pretty overbearing during the royal rumble as it’s pretty much the only sound you hear. Each wrestler has his (or her counting Luna Vachon) own theme song during the character select and I actually thought they sounded pretty good, but that was the only redeemable sound quality the game had.
As a whole, WWF Raw is largely a waste of time. It doesn’t add anything useful to the existing Genesis game that would make it worth purchasing for a 32X library, and it was probably one of the games that helped give the add-on a bad name. Graphically it’s bland, and it’s pretty boring to play with only thirteen playable characters when there were previous wrestling titles released on the Sega CD with a far bigger roster. Furthermore, having only thirteen wrestlers out of thirty in a Royal Rumble is a bit lacking, Even the audio is pretty awful. Really, Raw is just fodder and pointless filler for the 32X library. Pass on this and play something on the 32X that takes advantage of the add-on’s strengths and isn’t a lame upgrade from a previous game.