Posted by eddierichards on Apr 13, 2011
WWE Allstars (THQ, Playstation 3)

WWE Allstars (THQ, Playstation 3)

You remember Technos’ WWF Wrestlefest back in 1991, right? No? Or WWF: Superstars before that? Shame on you. I can’t begin to tell you how much time me and my pals from school spent playing those classic arcade games during lunch breaks at school. At the time, if we weren’t playing Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, we were playing Wrestlefest. Good times!

WWF: Wrestlefest was a 1 or 2 player 2D game featuring many of the characters which have been brought back to life for THQ’s WWE: Allstars. Wrestlefest An awesome scrapper, which featured tag team modes, and the Royal Rumble. ..And that was pretty much it. Just get in there and fight! Great, simple, button-bashing fun.

When I first saw WWE: Allstars, it took me back to those days. It instantly looked like a spiritual sequel to Wrestlefest – although I had a few worries upon seeing character moves being exaggerated to the extreme (10-foot high piledrivers, juggle combos, and such). Allstars is more of an ‘Arcade Beat ’em up’, made with what seems, a younger audience in mind although many of them would not have a clue who some of these wrestlers were.  It’s never supposed to simulate, or be ‘realistic’ like the ‘real’ thing (heh), and makes a nice alternative from the annual Smackdown Vs. Raw updates. But does it live up to my high expectations? Is it a good game in its’ own right?

Allstars is all about giving the player the chance to set old and new generations of wrestlers against each other, so from the off, you get to fight as current stars like Randy Orton and John Cena, and do battle with the likes of Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, The Ultimate Warrior, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and many more classic ring favourites in matches that would otherwise never happen for real.

To begin with, it definitely looks the part. Sharp, flashy visuals throughout, and giant, muscle-bound representations of your favourite Superstars practically fill the screen. Hulk Hogan and co. are ripped, thick-set Adonis-looking types here. They obviously don’t look as realistic as those from SvsR. In fact they have more of  a cartoon look really, straight out of He-Man and as a result, nit-pickers may argue that every character looks nothing like the real thing. But for me the style works well. For the bloodthirsty among you, I mean what I say this isn’t a simulation so don’t expect battles full of blood and bruises or any signs of damage or fatigue, for that matter. This just isn’t that kind of game!

Witness the the crazy amped-up special moves, and you’ll see just how non-serious Allstars is meant to be. Watch fighters fly 20 feet up in the air in dramatic slow-motion, and come crashing down with augmented versions of their famous Leg Drops, Rockbottoms, RKOs, et al. Hilarious stuff.

The roster of brawlers is decent but far from the 50 or 60-odd you get with SvsR, but absolutely fine with twenty Superstars to choose from at the start, and many more to unlock. Also, wrestlers are draped in costumes they wore closer to the beginning of their careers as well as sporting older entrance poses. Not up to date, but it works.

All the entrance tunes are in there, and matches are accompanied by some great sound effects. The odd scream and bone-crunch is very amusing, and the commentators are no more, or less repetitive with their speech samples than in other games of this ilk.

For a game that is so Arcade in style the control method seems over-complicated. Whilst it doesn’t take long to get used to them, they still seem more in touch with Smackdown and its’ fiddly controls. They feel a bit sluggish and unresponsive in places and I found myself getting into trouble because my wrestler didn’t run when I pressed the run button (R2 in this case). Even picking up a weapon from under the ring is more awkward than it should be, you must stand by the ring, hold L2, and move the analogue stick away from ringside. Half the time, as L2 is also the button used for many other commands, I found my character rolling back into the ring instead. Oddly enough, that also brings me to the dreaded turn-buckle attacks. Whenever an opponent performs a successful move off the top rope, rolling your body out of, or into the ring with perfect timing seems to be the only way you won’t get hit by it. Running is pointless, as these high-flyers just home in on you. Even in a cage match, you could be climbing up one side of the cage but still  hit by a flying elbow from the opposite side.

Another note for those who fret about detail is that, while the whole cast have their pumped-up finishing moves at hand, many have also been given random signature ones that are not in their usual repertoire. And, whilst weapons are indeed placed discreetly under the ring for your sadistic pleasure, you will get disqualified for using them too often. This is despite there being no referee in the ring who is replaced by the word ‘WARNING’ flashing up on-screen.

One thing about wrestling games that I’ve never sat well with, is when you beat your opponent black and blue, sling a few chairs at them, drop ‘em through a table, swing at them with a ladder and they just fly back up on their feet in an instant, ready for more. You get plenty of that here (just like every SvsR game), so my wrestling feathers are ruffled like those on Ultimate Warriors boots.

The option to create your own Superstars has been thrown into the mix, but in a very basic manner. It’s nice that it’s in there, but don’t hurt your head trying to build a wrestler that looks anything like you. You’ll just have to settle for patching a creation together from the small selection of body types, hairstyles, and costumes therein. It is not comprehensive by any means but it does the job. Speaking of which, WWE Allstars provides few options overall. Despite there being a decent number of match types, you won’t find Table matches, Ladder matches, or especially TLC matches. Other than that, you do get the ‘Path of Champions’ mode, which is basically a bunch of pre-set story modes, where you take on a line of opponents to win Championship belts. ‘Fantasy Warfare’ is a selection of well-presented battles to find out who is the best between old and new or, for example, to settle who the ‘Coldest Snake’ is, in a fight between Jake ‘The Snake’, or Randy ‘The Viper’. Online battles are also available but this adds little to the mix.

The lack of options are highlighted when compared to Smackdown, but even without the comparison, Allstars feels very light. As is the norm though, downloadable content is in the cards.

WWE: Allstars offers quick play with nothing truly time-demanding and as such, it really is very much like Wrestlfest ‘in 3d’ for me. Despite the odd niggle for WWE fans, it does okay, and even though WWE: No Mercy on the N64 is still the king of console wrestlers as far as I’m concerned, Allstars fares well amongst the batch. Fun while it lasts.



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