WWF SuperStars (Arcade)

Datafile

Company: Technos Japan
Year: 1989
Plataform: Arcade
Controller: Two-button Joystick.

Foreword

I don’t care, you’re still being thrown out of the ring.

Late 80s, almost to enter the 90s decade, and in USA the company (back then known as) WWF was in the path to become one of the main companies in the show-sport known as Wrestling in the USA. With a cartoonish style targeted at the youngest of their audience, and shows bigger than life either in the ring or outside it, started to get a stronghold in the preferences of the sports audience with a funny mix of physical combat, scripts worth of a soap opera and light-sound incredible shows.

Yep, the previous paragraph is from a Sip, el párrafo anterior es copia tal cual de una previous entry, but they are thightly linked. Wrestling videogames were targeted at fans of that sport-show, and it was logical trying to develop games to different platforms trying to reach as many fans as possible. Specially if the fans of the platforms had the same age as the wrestling fans, and it was highly probably a fan of one group would be of the other.

In case of games for the Arcade, the task was up to the company Technos Japan, with previous experience in this kind of videogames. The final product was a really successful title, which doubtless was enjoyed by fans of either wrestling or videogames.

Game

Come’on, he jokes on me. Now you get it why I hate this guy?

One of the main features of this videogame were the awesome graphics, where the wreslter really looked like their models in real-life. From there, the visuals can quickly hook wrestling fans to try and play the game.

Then comes the control schema, which is quite intuitive. With the joystick the videoplayer controls the virtual wrestler, then with one button realizes a punch, and with the other a kick. When pressing both buttons at the same time the wrestler start rolling and according to the button pressed, realizes a certain movement. We highly recommend using a lot this tactic, specially following an Irish Whip.

But in a wrestling videogame, one of the most looked and praised feautre, and can become even more important for its success than the graphics, is the hability to perform wrestling movements and eye-catching moves. And this videogame really delivers. When touching a rival, it’s possible to start a headlock, and from there execute moves like the aforementioned Irish Whip, or applying other move like a piledriver. This can be achieved executing different combinations of joystick movements and buttons pressed. We leave to the reader finding the moves, because it’s part of the fun when playing the videogame. Many moves can be countered by juggling the joystick or pressing buttons really quick.

This can be an acceptable, and honorable, way to lose.

Ah, but if you find a good move, and plan to always execute it, you’ll get a nasty surprise. Some moves deal more damage than others, but no more than two of the same can be executed succesfully in a row, so the player must rely on variety. Or, asking his partner to enter into the fray. When the wrestler is weak due to receiving a lot of hits, it’s possible to pin him. If the wrestler still has some strength he can avoid the pin on his own, or can ask for help.

Other moves are climbing into the turnbuckle and jumping from to hit the rival (eihter being standing or at the floor). It’s also possible to throw a wrestler out of the ring, and wait for the referee to count until 20. If choosing this way, it’s easy to hit the rival with a chair or a table, event the partners can enter the fray, but be careful, because if they receive hits, they can be damaged.

The game allows facing either the AI, or against other human videoplayer. When playing alone, the videoplayer must win 3 consecutive matches before facing the champons, the fearful Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and André el Gigante). In case the videoplayer wins, the championship must be defended successfully for 4 consecutive matchups, being the last one, a rematch against the Mega Bucks.

There are other fantastic features, like watching the wrestlers enter the ring in a small car, or the virtual audience cheering, or a sign changing according to the wrestlers at the match.

Wrestlers

Hulk Hogan – You can’t have a wrestling videogame without the main star of the show at the time. Hogan matches this role, along with the one ideal for beginners in the game, being without a notable weakness, but also no particular strength to shine. It can be hard to use to beat the game. His piledrive is scaring.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage – Notorious Hogan’s partner at the time the videogame was made. Has spectacular moves and is a bit faster than Hogan, so is a good partner. His speed allows him to perform spectacular moves from the turnbuckles.
Big BossMan – One of the strongest wrestlers, although a bit slower. His moves are not very spectacular, instead being very effective. His headbutt can not be avoided, even by the bosses. That was one of the reasons I liked to use him. The Big Splash is quite satisfactory to use.
Ultimate Warrior – The carrier of Hogan’s torch as main star a few years later. Can be described as an idealized child’s action figure. The strongest and slower of the game. Can deal devastating hits when hitting after running. My favorite by far.
Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan – OK, I found this dude won the first WWF Royal Rumble, but did not understand why he was used instead of other ones like Bam Bam Bigelow. Never grasped how to use him, but it’s probably the quickest in the game, and can stay with the rival like a chewed bubble gum. His Bulldog move is more damaging than it looks.
Honky Tonk Man – I hate and despise this guy. However, he plays an important role: being the unorthodox one. He behaves different from the others, and can be a bit hard to grasp his pace, starting with his flying kick to the knees. Requires more knowledge of the game to properly use, but when mastered, can give the videoplayer a good advantage. He performs other unavoidable move: Noogies.
Ted “The Million Dolar Man” DiBiase – Not available to the videoplayer. The wrestler has an awesome and intimidating repertory of moves including the submission “Million Dolar Dream”. Really, I don’t know if praise him when he applies such a variety of moves to kick the videoplayer’s ass. Beating him into submission before his partner appears, or counting him out of the ring are the way of beating him.
André The Giant – Not available to the videoplayer. Announced as the “Eight Wonder of the World” at the time. If he enters in to the ring, you are in serious trouble. Running hits do not work, hitting him do not deal a lot of damage, and only the unavoidable moves work on him. It’s possible to body slam him, but requires a lot of juggling joystick and buttons, and not always work. Any hit of him is devastating. If applies the Canadian Backbreaker, pray or pay. The best strategy is hit and run on him until asks for help.

Here are some great combinations, the videogame suggest it.

  • The MegaPowers: Hulk Hogan and Macho Man, outstandish duo to start playing this game. They got a funny vibe and are ready to demolish their opposition with an endless flurry of elbow hits, flying kicks and body tanning oil. The main issue with these two, is that neither is strong enough to finish DiBiase before allowing André to enter the ring.
  • Big Boss Man and Honky Tonk Man: I know, I hate that putrid Elvis clon, but these two can apply moves to André the Giant (headbutt and noggies), and that can be really impotant in the final matches. Their weakness is that Boss Man can submit DiBiase, but HTM not. Anyway, it’s my favorite pairing.
  • Ultimate Warrior and Jim Duggan: Personally I was not able to really use Duggan well. However a good fellow of mine decided to give this pairing a try. He quickly became one of my nemesis. Duggan is really fast, and my friend used it, sticking with glue this dude to the rival. Which I must testify, is really annoying. This dude mastered this pair so well, that was able to use only Duggan to submit DiBiase, and that is quite a feat.
  • Big Boss Man and Ultimate Warrior: The strongest pairing by far. A bit slower, but believe me, it does not matter. Useful if your main strategy to beat the MegaBucks is submitting DiBiase, and either of them can survive André on their own.

Legacy

The game was so successful, that it got a sequel, WWF WrestleFest, which is considered by many as superior, myself included. It will definitley have its own entry in this blog.

The company LJN published a series of videogames, with this name in the title, for the handheld Nintendo GameBoy. But the games are so different from this one, and also the characters involved, that they are not considered direct ports of this videogame.

It’s interesting that for personal computers appeared a videogame with the name WWF Wrestlemania but the graphics and playability was more in tune with this game. The game was develped the the company Twilight, and got mixed results according to the plataform.

Epilogue

No way Jose this match will ever happened.

Outstanding wrestling videogame, really popular at the time. At my hometown, we did not have too much knowledge of U.S.A wrestling, so while we saw the names of the wrestlers, really knew only Hogan and André. The others got more particular names more according to mexican culture.

In my hometown, this videogame was really popular, we even developed the style where changing wrestler included changing videoplayer. Example: if I was playing with Big Boss Man and wanted to change, another human player entered to play. I used to make a good tag-team with a high-school mate, where we played a devastating team of Ultimate Warrior and Big Bossman.

Of course, when he was not annoying me with Duggan.

References

Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icon taken from Retroarch.

Some notes of the wrestlers taken from Twitter user Los Coliseinos.

EstadioRetro

Informatic guy and fan of retro videogaming. Mexican and spanish. I like to drink good coffee. My favorite sport is baseball, but I like to watch others.

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