WCW Backstage Assault

by Electronic Arts (for Nintendo 64)

Description:'WCW Backstage Assault' was the next installment of WCW games made by Electronic Arts after the mediocre 'WCW Mayhem', so, as the Hardcore division in World Championship Wrestling was growing popular they decided to omit the single most important part of a Wrestling game : the wrestling ring. Now you are confined to backstage areas venting your murderous frustration on fellow WCW stars in a variety of settings with a variety of different weapons to utilise.
MATCHES & MATCH TYPES: There is only one single match type in this game, and that is a one-on-one exhibition battle with an extremely small selection of stipulations such as 'First Blood' and turning Submissions and knock-outs on / off. There is an option to have a two-player fight however it's only for a single match. A backstage wrestling game without tag-team or Handicap modes is a serious let-down indeed.

STORY MODE: 'Hardcore Championship' is what you use to unlock secret characters and more settings to brawl through. First off you choose your difficulty which represents the level of the belt you fight for. Easy is for the Hardcore Championship, Medium is for the U.S. title and Hard is for the World Title. You must fight in one backstage area to start with, and once you win against your opponent in the first match, you are allowed to use a new area. From then on, with each room you unlock you can pass through each one on your travels in the Championship, as well as in Exhibition. There is a 'Hardcore Gauntlet' mode, too where you must survive a grueling 7 matches without any health regeneration. You can unlock secret characters using this as well.

IN-GAME ACTION, GRAPHICS & GAMEPLAY: This is where 'Backstage Assault' really falters. The graphics for this game are absolutely horrible, all of the wrestlers have at least one fault with their appearance (for instance Scott Steiner has green hair, which, thank God you can change, and in doing so removes the character's portrait which labels them a C.A.W.) and most look nothing like they do in real life whatsoever. The in-game animations are truly diabolical with the wrestlers shaking about like they're fighting in the Russian Winter. As with 'WCW Mayhem' there is a grappling system implemented here whereby you press B to lock shoulders and use any number of buttons and a direction on the D-pad to perform a maneuver. They have unnecessarily filled up two of the C-buttons for using weapons and different strikes and grapple combinations. Awful.

CHARACTERS & ROSTER: The roster for this game is great, probably the best thing about it :

Asya, A-Wall, Bam Bam Bigelow, Big Vito, Billy Kidman, Booker T, Bret Hart, Brian Adams, Bryan Clark, Buff Bagwell, Capt. Rection, Chris Candido, Chris Kanyon, Corporal Cajun, Crowbar, Daffney, David Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, Disco Inferno, Don Harris, Doug Dellenger, Elizabeth, Eric Bischoff, Evan Karagias, Goldberg, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett, Jimmy Hart, Johnny The Bull, Kevin Nash, Kimberly, Konnan, La Parka, Lance Storm, Lex Luger, Lt. Loco, Major Gunns, Medusa, Mike Awesome, Mona, Miss Hancock, Norman Smiley, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ric Flair, Ron Harris, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Shane Douglas, Shane Helms, Shannon Moore, Sid Vicious, Stevie Ray, Sting, Tank Abbott, Torrie Wilson, Vampiro, Vince Russo

CREATE-A-SUPERSTAR: The Create-A-Wrestler tool is absolutely useless in this game for two reasons : 1. There aren't enough good options to make them look unique, and 2. They'll look poor once you finish them, anyway. Unlike 'WCW Mayhem' you do not choose a Wrestler's pre-set move list for your Superstar, instead you can actually choose your own moves. However they introduced a terrible, terrible points system for each move you choose (a lot like 'WWF Attitude' and 'ECW Hardcore Revolution') which limits your prospects drastically.

OVERALL: 'WCW Backstage Assault' is a poorly thrown together game with terrible graphics and gameplay and messes up an interesting concept for a grappling game which could've worked. Not at all recommended to buy, even for diehard WCW fans. In fact, save your money and don't rent this game either. It's that bad.

(out of 5)


Reviewed by Lil' Theater on February 15, 2005.

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