Genre: Sports Developer: Sculptured Software Publisher: Flying Edge Players: 1-2 Released: 1993
The Royal Rumble. thirty men enter the ring, twenty-nine leave, and one stands as the winner. The winner will defeat the other men by elimination. Winning means prestige, honor, and the title shot at WRESTLEMANIA!
That is what comes to a fan’s mind when he reads or hears the term “Royal Rumble,” thought to be one of the best matches possible in a WWF ring. So when a wrestling fan sees the name Royal Rumble? on a Genesis box, excitement quickly fills his body. They see the $50 price tag and think that it seems fair. They then remember plunking down the fifty spot two years ago for Super Wrestlemania and wondering how Toys ‘R Us stayed in business after selling such crap. In the end though, you decide to give it a try.
It starts out pretty normal. The title screen shows an arena with over 90,000 people watching Wrestlemania (VII I believe). Various wrestlers start showing up on the screen to show that most of you favorite stars are featured. Your basic matches are there: singles, tag, six-man tag, and of course the Rumble match. There’s also championship mode, where you or you and a tag partner go through the ranks for a spot in WWF magazine, and the world title.
The controls can be easy to learn, and really easy to master. You’ve got the basic punch & kick buttons (B&C), press A to run, and Y to grapple. X and Z are used for eye scratching and choking, but those are only used when the ref is down, it’s a brawl match, or a Rumble match.
There’s really no soundtrack. The only music is from the title screen, which is the old WWF tv theme, which brings some nice nostalgia. The crowd sounds slightly digitized, but still ok. The fighting sounds are trying to sound realistic but end up being laughable, not bad, just laughable (just listen when somebody is getting choked, I swear it sounds like he’s repeatedly yelling “Smurf!”). The referee actually has one of the more realistic sounds in the game.
The graphics look ok, but I personally think that they could have been a bit better (and they did get better in WWF Raw). The sprites aren’t oversized, and the little details really add to the matches. If there’s any real complaint, it’s that the crowd kind of scares me.
The matches themselves can be pretty easy to win if you keep up a constant attack. With the simple controls, the matches can get pretty boring after a while. This happens when the energy bar doesn’t really recharge, unlike games of today, where a “near-death” energy bar can turn into a “super-strength” energy bar in seconds. The cool thing about the matches are the little extras that come with the match. Whether it’s the announcer’s yelling at ringside, or the chair just happening to be placed on the ring outside.
Your wrestlers to choose from are Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Crush, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels, Papa Shango, Razor Ramon, The Model, Jim Duggan, and IRS. Nothings really different except for the clothing and the finisher, which oddly seems to be enough, especially for a game for the era.
In the end, the main attraction to the game is the Rumble match itself. Of course, instead of the thirty men normally, you only get a twelve-man match. Another amazing thing this game had for its time (and, until recently, still was amazing for wrestling games) is the ability to have six men in the ring at once, without copying. (Royal Rumble for the Dreamcast tried it as well, but when you’re featuring a match where thirty different men wrestle, it’d be a pretty good idea for the game to have, you know, THIRTY guys to choose from.) The Rumble match is pulled off pretty well, and can be very fun, especially when “fatigue” sets in and you and a friend are frantically pressing buttons trying to throw your opponent out of the ring.
Compared to the SNES version, the graphics and sound are slightly less powerful, and the SNES version has Mr. Perfect and Ted Dibiase, but the Genesis version is still a good game, and worth the cheap price you find it for.
SCORE: 7 out of 10