Kodiak Interactive

Electronic Arts


WCW Mayhem Review

By: John Doe

The best way I could describe this game is "WWF Attitude" Lite. Not that Mayhem is in anyway a bad game or that Attitude is the "be all and end all" of wrestling games, it's just that Mayhem's overall package isn't as deep as the aforementioned title. The controls although simplistic can be viewed as a plus or a minus depending on if you are a "great taste" or "less filling" sort of gamer. For a first attempt at the squared circle, EA came through, but Mayhem still has room for improvement.


It's interesting to note that the competition between WWF and WCW has carried over to the binary world. Quite the little microcosm wouldn't you say? Which wrestling is better: WWF or WCW? Which wrestling game is better: WWF or WCW? For the last few years each side had it's own video game successes. Warzone kicked and then Revenge kicked back. Attitude showed up and was crowned Wrestling Champ on 4 video game systems: PSX, N64, Game Boy and recently Dreamcast. Soon Wrestlemania, the sequel to Revenge will arrive. But what about the new kid? How does EA's Mayhem fit into the scheme of things?

Control in Mayhem is decidedly different from the fighting game style of Attitude. Mayhem goes for a simplistic control scheme that will allow anyone to jump in and live vicariously through their on-screen heroes or heroines for a few minutes. Some gamers take pride in learning all of the complex button presses and D-Pad sweeps so that they can master all of the moves of a given game. Mayhem dumbs it down considerably, making this by far one of the most user-friendly wrestling games available to date. Some will like it and some will not, but let's face the facts: Wrestling is about looking good, being tough, jumping off the top rope and beating your opponent. Who cares if you go about it the easy way or the hard way, as long as it's fun?

If being able to choose all of your favorite WCW wrestlers wasn't enough, how about the ability to take the fight outside of the ring? Sure most wrestling games let you do that anyway, but not to the extent of Mayhem. You can take the fisticuffs to the showers, dressing rooms and even outside in the parking lot. Even though Mayhem comes up short in the options department, this little feature is a lot of fun in and of itself.

The animation and look of the wrestlers are pretty good, although I found them all to be a little short and stocky looking. The faces are very realistic and help immerse you into the reality of the game. On the downside there is a lot of polygon clipping and collision detection problems. If my arm went through him shouldn't that mean that he should be falling down anytime soon? Nope. The game engine runs along at a fine speed making the matches flow more like the real thing, but you'll be a tad frustrated with the collision detection once you really start to get into the game. Sadly the Create-A-Player is completely lacking in options and is nowhere near as satisfying as Attitude's. Too bad because from the letters I still receive, the enhanced Create-A-Player feature of Attitude's was a strong selling point. Truth be told it is simply a boys way of playing electronic "dolly dress up", but who cares, it's so much fun! The available features of the Mayhem's Create-A-Player are so limiting that after spending so much time with Attitude's you'll think the game is broken. No, it isn't broken, it just doesn't allow you to go as overboard as Acclaim's game. Big disappointment on this front. If you are going to copy a popular game mode, make sure you improve upon the existing benchmark otherwise people tend to notice in a big way.

Complaint Dept. This game loses points because of a few factors: The collision detection, the limited Create-A-Player mode and last and definitely not least, the horrendous load times. On a few occasions I actually thought the game had crashed. Attitude's load times were atrocious too, especially when loading 4 created wrestlers, but Mayhem takes the prize. Make sure you book your vacation time right around when you want to play 4 players tag team. The long load times are even evident in the Create-A-Player mode when you switch from one piece of clothing to the next.

WCW fans looking to take control of their favorite wrestlers may really dig what Mayhem's selling. No doubt the easy control scheme will charm the pants off those who have been frightened off of other rasslin' titles. In the end this game is a solid effort for EA. If they continue the franchise and listen to the criticisms and the praises of the game, the next installment could be out of this world. As it is, WCW is good but not great.






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