WWF WrestleMania (also known on console versions as WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game) is a professional wrestling arcade game released by Midway Manufacturing Co. (now Midway Amusement Games, L.L.C.) in 1995. It is based on the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) professional wrestling promotion and is also loosely based on WrestleMania X.
Despite being based on professional wrestling, WrestleMania's digitized graphics and fast-paced gameplay make it more of a fighting game in the vein of Midway's Mortal Kombat series. The game is regarded as over the top for its use of attacks. While actual wrestling moves are present, matches consist primarily of special strike attacks and insane combos, such as the Undertaker casting spirits at an opponent and Doink shocking the opponent with a joy buzzer. There are other similarities to the Mortal Kombat games, such as the winner being the victor of two out of three rounds and players being awarded flawless victories, which are simply called "perfect" here.
WrestleMania's one-player mode has the player choose one of eight wrestlers - Bam Bam Bigelow, Bret Hart, Doink the Clown, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker or Yokozuna. One unique feature is that each character can "bleed" his respective objects other than blood upon taking damage from most attacks in the Mortal Kombat sense. Such "bleeding" objects include Yokozuna's food and Bam Bam Bigelow's flames.
WWF WrestleMania features two single-player modes: the Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Championship. In the Intercontinental Championship mode, the player must win four one-on-one matches, two two-on-one matches, and one three-on-one match to win the title. In the more difficult WWF Championship mode, the player must win four two-on-one matches, two three-on-one matches, and finally a "WrestleMania Challenge," where the player must defeat every wrestler in the game in a gauntlet, starting with a three-on-one setup, with each eliminated opponent being replaced with another until all eight have been defeated.
The game also features two multi-player modes; head to head, a one-on-one match between two players, or cooperative, where the two players team up in a tag team version of the WrestleMania Challenge in which they must defeat the game's eight wrestlers in groups of two to become the Tag Team Champions.
The game was followed up by WWF In Your House for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and DOS.
Ports were developed for Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, 32X, SNES, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and DOS. The releases found on CD media are most similar to the Arcade given superior hardware capabilities and larger storage space available.
The SNES release is generally regarded as the worst of the home the ports. It was the only port to omit two characters from the roster (Bam Bam Bigelow and Yokozuna). There is a limit of three characters on screen at once while all other releases allowed four. Visually it does feature a presentation more reminiscent to the Arcade compared to the Genesis. However, it suffers from persistent slowdown most notably when three wrestlers are on screen. It also lacks several voice and commentary samples and in terms of game mechanics, damage taken by in-game fighters from attacks was reduced.
The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version is generally faithful in speed, content, and animation to the arcade. The Genesis hardware suffers from a limited color palette therefore this port features a bland color scheme compared to other releases. It retains most of the voice and commentary samples from the arcade (albeit dropping most of Jerry "The King" Lawler's commentary) and allows four wrestlers on-screen. However, there is slow down when more than three wrestlers are on-screen, though not to the extent of the SNES version.
The Sega 32X release was built upon the Genesis version. The 32X improved hardware specs allowed for graphics and audio superior than both the SNES and Genesis ports. Although the frame rate was reduced to 30 FPS in the 32X port compared to 60 FPS in all other versions. This is most commonly done to avoid slowdown which affected the 16-Bit cart versions.
The CD-ROM (PlayStation, Saturn, DOS) releases are most true to the arcade compared to cart releases. While visually more accurate to the Arcade, in comparison the graphics are still not as sharp and sprites are slightly smaller. There is also no in-game music on the PlayStation and Saturn ports. The PlayStation and Saturn ports also freeze for a moment during gameplay to load the next character in a Battle Royal after a character has been eliminated.
- WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game at GameSpot