WrestleFest Premium offers iPhone gamers a nostalgic trip down memory lane

Mar 2, 2012
Games

A large part of the nostalgia for certain classic games is based on the idea that there’s something uniquely special or better about the classic iteration. That’s why typically there’s more nostalgia surrounding classic platformers like old school Mario games than there is for sports games. Nobody wants to play the original Sega Genesis Madden […]

A large part of the nostalgia for certain classic games is based on the idea that there’s something uniquely special or better about the classic iteration. That’s why typically there’s more nostalgia surrounding classic platformers like old school Mario games than there is for sports games. Nobody wants to play the original Sega Genesis Madden football game when you can play the game as it exists today on the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, that issue hangs heavily over WrestleFest Premium.

Wrestling games in 2012 are insane. They have the correct entrance music, moves, and mannerisms of over 60 different characters and they look nearly photo realistic. Back when WrestleFest was an arcade hit, this was not the case. Wrestling games looked terrible, had stiff animation, and featured maybe eight characters, if you were lucky.

WrestleFest the arcade game was a revelation. The visuals, accurately recreated for WrestleFest Premium, were great for their time. You could actually make out Hulk Hogan simply by understanding that the walking sprite with yellow in his midsection meant he had Hulk’s classic tights on. Those same visuals are here on WrestleFest Premium, but they’re much less affecting now.

A Similar run-down can be given to the move sets of the wrestlers, not to mention the amount of playable characters in general. WrestleFest Premium offers up eight characters to start, with five more to come as downloadable content. That’s not a terrible number, but it’s far from the rosters expected of a modern game.

One area where WrestleFest Premium actually bests its predecessor is in available modes. Players still have the option of the classic Saturday Night Main Event tag-team tournament as well as the Royal Rumble gameplay option. There’s also an added Road To Wrestlemania mode, which takes players through a solo trek to win five different championships, as well as a gauntlet match where players try to survive through a series of one-on-one matches. Regular exhibition and tag matches, of critical interest to someone who might just want to pop in and play for a few minutes, round out the available modes.

If you play WrestleFest Premium expecting it to play like WWE ’12 on your Xbox 360, you will be disappointed almost instantly. It pales in comparison in nearly every way. As someone who dropped too many quarters into the old WrestleFest arcade game as a tyke, it made me reappraise what I remembered as a really great game. Now, WrestleFest feels tired and slow. But if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, WrestleFest Premium at least provides plenty of gameplay bang for your buck.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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