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WCW/nWo Revenge

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WCW/nWo Revenge is a professional wrestling video game released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 game console. It is the sequel to 1997's WCW vs. nWo: World Tour. Like its predecessor, Revenge features AKI's revolutionary grappling system as well as heavily improved graphics, a championship mode, and a large roster of wrestlers (real and fictional).

Revenge gained critical praise and tremendous commercial success. According to a 1999 article by IGN, Revenge was the best-selling wrestling game for the N64 console, and at the time, was the top selling third-party Nintendo game ever.

Revenge was the last AKI-developed WCW game for the Nintendo 64. The next WCW game released for the Nintendo 64 was a version of THQ's earlier WCW Nitro. The next AKI wrestling game released for the console, WWF WrestleMania 2000 sported THQ's newly acquired World Wrestling Federation license.

Background

At the time of the game's release, the Monday Night Wars were starting to go in favor of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Despite this WCW/nWo Revenge was generally recognized as the best wrestling game of 1998.

The Revenge grappling system is part of what ensured the game's success and popularity. The system was simple to learn and allowed for a variety of moves to be performed depending on the character. The graphics were improved from World Tour, and many new features were introduced to expand the popular series.

New features and additions since World Tour

As the direct sequel to World Tour, Revenge possesses various tweaks and additions. This includes wrestler ring entrances, a larger roster, ringside valets and managers, brighter and more colorful graphics, a cartoon referee modeled after WCW referee Mark Curtis, and real TV and pay-per-view arenas. It also boasts EEPROM, which eliminates the need for a Controller Pak. In addition, there are new gameplay mechanics such as more frequent reversals, the introduction of multiple reversals, tall wrestlers stepping over the top rope, and being able to run and slide in and out of the ring. Also, Instant Replay was included.

New post-match features include replays of the last moments of the match, as well as a scoring system for wrestlers' performance. During gameplay, players can for the first time "steal" their opponents taunts, as well as perform their "down" taunt more easily. Also, certain wrestlers cannot ascend the top rope unless they are in "special" mode (the time when a player's spirit is maxed out and can perform their finishers).

For the first time, THQ introduced actual arenas into a game, such as Monday Nitro, Starrcade, Bash at the Beach, Souled Out, SuperBrawl, and Halloween Havoc. The new Championship Mode also enables the player(s) to select a belt held by a silhouetted wrestler and then defeat various opponents until eventually facing the mystery champion. Successfully completing a title mode unlocks the toppled champion. Titles include the Cruiserweight, World Television, World Tag Team, United States Heavyweight, and World Heavyweight Championship.

In addition, Revenge introduced a combo system where some wrestlers could execute a combination of strikes followed by a grappling move. The system was criticized as doing more harm than good as it is awkward to use and eliminated about half of a wrestler's strong front grapple moves. For example, popular WCW wrestler Goldberg is only able to perform strong grapple moves using the A and directional buttons. The combo system would be excluded from future THQ/AKI wrestling games.

Revenge also saw many new moves added since World Tour, as well as existing moves improved or made more accurate. For instance, in World Tour, Kevin Nash's finishing move is a generic powerbomb; in contrast, Chris Benoit has a kneel-down double under-hook powerbomb for a weak move. In Revenge, however, it is unmistakably Nash's Jackknife Powerbomb, complete with trademark Nash flourishes during execution. Other moves which were improved included the Stinger splash, the Outsider's Edge, and the Diamond Cutter. Also, certain characters like the aforementioned Chris Benoit were given their real finishing moves for the first time. Each wrestler also possesses more than 700 frames of animation.

Revenge has an expansive collection of wrestlers, as almost every WCW/nWo wrestler of the time was included in the game. Added since World Tour were such superstars as Bret Hart, Bill Goldberg, Harlem Heat, British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Konnan, Curt Hennig, Brian Adams, Chris Jericho, and many more. One notable omission, however, who actually was in World Tour, is Ric Flair who was fired from WCW for no-showing an episode of WCW Thunder in early 1998; although, he would be rehired later in the year. By then, though, Revenge was in the final stages of production, and it was too late to add Flair to the game. Wrath was originally going to be in the game but was removed for unknown reasons. He can only be playable with the use of a cheat device.

Also included is the ability to interchange wrestlers' costumes and apply different colors to them. Masks and other headwear are also interchangeable for wrestlers that possess them. This limited feature would be heavily advanced in future THQ wrestling titles which would boast the acclaimed Create-a-Wrestler mode.

Arenas

WCW Monday Nitro

WCW Starrcade

WCW Halloween Havoc

WCW Bash at the Beach

WCW Souled Out

WCW Super Brawl VIII

Titles

WCW World Heavyweight Championship

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

WCW Television Title

WCW Cruiserweight Championship

WCW Tag Team Titles

Roster

Revenge features about 63 WCW and nWo wrestlers divided into either factions (nWo White, nWo Red, Raven's Flock) or divisions within WCW (WCW 1-4),like the cruiserweight division. Generally speaking, wrestlers were placed in the WCW divisions based on their position in the company at the time, with top-tier main eventers making up WCW 1, the mid-card wrestlers in WCW 2, and low-card wrestlers forming WCW 3. WCW 4 is reserved for cruiserweights. Note that WCW 1-4 are not actual factions.

Additionally, Revenge features several non-WCW/nWo wrestlers, mostly from Japan, in the form of two "fictitious" wrestling federations: EWF (Empire Wrestling Federation) and DAW (Dead or Alive Wrestling, originally featured in World Tour as DOA). In light of copyright concerns, the names and appearances of these wrestlers were changed, but their movesets remained intact.

Issues with the game

Complaints about the Asmik Ace/AKI engine included some major collision detection problems, ie: characters' heads and arms passing through anothers', as well as animation lock-out issues where a player would be invincible from attack, such as when they are getting up. The graphics were also infamous for the "floating arms", where a character's arms would often be clearly disconnected from their torso. While the magic of the gameplay was the offensive attack/grapple vs. the defensive reverse-attack/break-grapple mechanic, it was occasionally exposed for its lack of realism. Since defensivly there was only "block" and no "evade" for an incoming attack, a player would successfully block a running kick to the head or say, Goldberg's spear, by standing firm and offering their chest. Solutions to the problem would have been new evasion animations, and/or strong attacks which would simply be unblockable. The other option other than blocking is attempting to press the block button at the exact moment of impact from the attack, which may result in a reversal. While the game had wrestler entrances, the music consisted of the WCW Monday Nitro theme, and a generic, ominous sounding tune.--Not the wrestlers' actual themes (Memory issues were a major concern during the old days of the cartridge).

Ultimately though, graphical, audio, and gameplay quirks aside, Revenge was heralded as an incredbily fun, detailed, and well-balanced title.

Because Asmik Ace/THQ signed with the WWF when Acclaim's contract expired in 1999, Revenge is universally accepted as the apex of WCW gaming.

Featured wrestlers

Revenge featured numerous WCW and nWo wrestlers divided into either factions (nWo White, nWo Red, Raven's Flock) or divisions within WCW (WCW 1-4). Generally speaking, wrestlers were placed in the WCW divisions based on their position in the company, with top-tier main eventers making up WCW 1 and low-card wrestlers forming WCW 3. WCW 4 is reserved for cruiserweights. Note that WCW 1-4 are not actual factions.

Additionally, Revenge featured several non-WCW/nWo wrestlers, mostly from Japan, in the form of two "ficticous" wrestling federations: EWF (Empire Wrestling Federation) and DAW (Dead or Alive Wrestling, originally featured in World Tour as DOA). In light of copyright concerns, the names and appearances of these wrestlers were changed, but their movesets remained intact.

nWo White

nWo Red

Raven's Flock

WCW 1

WCW 2

WCW 3

WCW 4

EWF

DAW

Managers/Valets

Note: Managers and valets are not playable characters (with the exception of Eric Bischoff), and are not an actual faction within the game.

Reception

WCW/nWo Revenge surpassed the success of its predecessor, World Tour. Within a month, it became the highest selling console game in North America. Like its predecessor, Revenge also won 1998's "Fighting Game of the Year" by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, marking the second consecutive year an AKI/THQ title achieved the honor. It would quickly reach Player's Choice status and become heavily responsible for THQ's profits in late 1998 and '99, eventually selling 1.88 million copies in the US and ranking substantially among the best-selling N64 games.

Revenge's main competition that year was WWF War Zone by Acclaim, based on WCW's rival promotion, the World Wrestling Federation.

The game achieved critical favor for its numerous improvements on World Tour. Matt Casamassina of IGN: "More than any other wresting game on the market, Revenge feels, moves and plays like the real thing. . . My suggestion: if you own World Tour then sell it. Take the money you get for it and put it towards Revenge. It's a much more complete game with tons of style and ambiance. Once again, the four-player mode is addictive and reason enough to buy the game, especially if you're a big wrestling fan." In IGN's 2008 "History of Wrestling Games" article, Rus McLaughlin also commended Revenge for its expanded roster, authentic venues, and "style to burn."

See also

References


World Championship Wrestling video games
WCW WrestlingThe Main EventSuperBrawl WrestlingWCW vs. the WorldNitroWCW vs. nWo: World TourThunderRevengeMayhemBackstage Assault

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