The April Fool’s Gauntlet: 5 Wrestling Speedruns

A recent WedNESday post on Twitter featured LJN’s WWF: King of the Ring, and upon digging into the game a bit, I find it could be mashed through in short order. Sure enough, others have embarked on that same journey, and the Speedrun.com page features multiple attempts at the game’s King of the Ring mode on the easy difficulty.

Spurred by April Fool’s Day and WrestleMania week, one thing led to another, and I strung together footage of five pro wrestling video games with very short and simple speedruns.

 

WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (SNES) and WCW/nWo Thunder (PS1) need no introduction, as each already has its own dedicated page on GemuBaka. This video adds to the mix WWF: King of the Ring (NES), WWF Raw (SNES) and WCW: The Main Event (GB).

King of the Ring (NES) – While the Nintendo Entertainment System had a few bang-up pro wrestling games, the WWF track record on the system wasn’t quite up to that level. I can’t say each is terrible, but, at their finest, a WWF game on the NES was “okay.” King of the Ring was the last entry for the license on the system, and it is the epitome of average.

You get a solid roster of characters as the WWF made its transition into the “New Generation,” and the “mash grappling” makes an appearance in this entry. Much like the 16-bit games to follow, this reduced the game to mashing, but King of the Ring hardly has the meaty content offerings and differing game modes of something like WWF Raw.

On easy, the CPU is pretty braindead, and you can win by mashing the B button as fast as you can. This is sort of true for the normal mode, but the CPU now gets a little more serious about the mashing and is more aggressive. The hard difficulty has some of the most vicious CPU mashing I may have ever experienced, so I may return to tackle that if I feel the need to be punished.

King of the Ring most amounts to body slamming and stomping until the CPU’s hit points are down to zero. On easy, you can actually pin the opponent before they run out of HP, but playing on normal hardly changes the overall strat. One cool thing about this game, though, is its “custom character.” You can rename this character and distribute stats as you see fit, so speedrunning the game sees you pumping up the character’s strength as high as possible.

Still, it’s a shallow run through three opponents to grab the King of the Ring title, but it’s also a very easy sub-5 minute speedrun for the NES.

WWF Raw (SNES) – I used to play this with friends all the time thanks to the four-play adapter, but, even to this day, cleaning house in the Royal Rumble mode remains a very satisfying experience.

The Royal Rumble modes in LJN’s Royal Rumble and Raw allows up to six wrestlers in the ring at the same time, and the goal is to eliminate other wrestlers by tossing them over the top rope and onto the arena floor. While Royal Rumble is still quite good (and arguably has a more interesting roster based on your fandom), Raw polished the formula and added even more content.

While this includes the addition of new base moves for some of the wrestlers to do, the wrestler performance stats is the key change that makes things so interesting in Raw. The 1-2-3 Kid has an insane speed stat, which makes him the primary candidate to do anything quickly. Because the goal of the Royal Rumble only has wrestlers tossing each other over the top rope, stats such as power/strength really do not matter when speedrunning this mode.

The 1-2-3 Kid is further boosted by the fact he maintains the hip toss move against running opponents instead of getting the new back body drop. While both moves ultimately give the same results, the hip toss has more of a “snap” to it and results in a much quicker animation.

There’s more to the execution of it, but the concept is simple – approach a wrestler immediately, grapple, send them against the ropes and then toss them to the floor using the hip toss. The run is done on the default difficulty (5 out of 10), which still makes the grappling manageable. The top time on the leaderboard is at 52 seconds, and, after a few attempts, I managed to nab a 58-second run.

WCW: The Main Event (GB) – Looking at pro wrestling speedruns, I came across this on the list, and, unlike the other four games, I had never played this game before. Our local shops never had a WCW video game until the Super Nintendo SuperBrawl entry. I’d picked up the NES WCW game a couple of short times as an adult, but the Game Boy version was all-new territory for me.

If I had to sum the game up, it would be very similar to how the aforementioned King of the Ring plays, although this title has a lot more “pep” to it, and a couple more interesting features (signature moves for the wrestlers is a huge plus!). In this game, I found you could quickly mash the A button to body slam and then leg drop the CPU over and over until they eat a pinfall.

On Speedrun.com, this is another game that has runs recorded on the easiest difficulty, but I found this game was at least reasonably manageable on the other difficulties, including the hardest. I ended up really liking this game, as it features a very early ’90s cast of wrestlers and a fast pace. It’s still simplistic when it comes to wrestling mechanics, but this seemed like it fits really well in the realm of early portable gaming. It also has some very nice flourish with digitized photos of wrestlers, title belt presentations and a humorous game over screen.

Overall, I think I’ll take this Game Boy entry over the SNES’s SuperBrawl …

stingerflop

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Categories: GemuBaka Feature

Author:indiesnack

Indie Snack is a video gaming Web site focusing on independent developers and game releases. Indie Snack will also soon have services made available to independent developers to include tools aiding them in public relations and game marketing.

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