Ocean Software Ltd
1991
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£11.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

14,15
Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

BAGS OF OUCH! RUCKS OF AGONY! LOADSA PAIN! YES, THE BIG BOYS ARE IN TOWN AND IT'S GONNA HURT. THE LIKES OF 'ULTIMATE WARRIOR', 'MR PERFECT', 'MILLION DOLLAR MAN' AND OF COURSE 'HULK HOGAN' ARE OUT FOR BLOOD, SO WE KITTED CORKY 'BONECRUSHER' CASWELL OUT IN SEXY SHORTS AND SHOVED HIM SCREAMING INTO THE RING. (THE PLASTER CASTS COMES OFF NEXT WEEK.)

Yes folks, it's broken bones and multiple lacerations ahoy as large hairy men rampage around the ring trying to kill one another. The 'Wrestlemania Belt' is up for grabs, so alone or with a mate, let's go for it!

Choose one of the three characters - Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior or British Bulldog - then enter the ring to kick some butt. Five rock 'ard opponents need bashing before you get your hands on the coveted WWF belt: Mr Perfect, The Warlord, Million Dollar Man, The Mountie and finally Sergeant Slaughter (sound like just the sort of fellas you'd take home to meet your mum -Ed).

First up is the pretentiously named Mr Perfect (wot's Nicko doin' 'ere? - Ed). Before you crack skulls, there's a great slanging match between combatants where you chuck as much abuse as possible. Mr Pertect (or whoever) spouts verbal diarrhoea to which your character has three possible answers.

When the shouting's out the way, the violence starts. Each round lasts up to five minutes and the aim is to pin your opponent to the canvas for a count of three. Sounds easy, but most of these dudes eat Shredded Wheat for brekky, box and all!

COME DANCING!!
Each contestant has a personal strength bar which repeated blows knock rapidly floorwards (along with yourself). The usual wrestling type moves are available - outside the ring these would pull the perpetrator up on an assault charge. But here you can cheerfully punch, kick, strangle and generally mutilate the opposition, although when not engaging in these activities, grappling is the order of the day (a la Come Dancing). In this situation, violently thrashing the joystick raises the level of a 'waggle-c-meter' that appears especially for the occasion.

Each fighter has their own special move, with strange names such as Gorilla Press, Perfect Plex, Drop Headlock, Power Slam and Camel Crotch... Er, sorry, Clutch. Winning the grapple gives you enough 'oomph' to use this and finish off the enemy.

Flat on the canvas, your pixelised alter ego is (quite understandably) at his most vulnerable. But don't panic (yet) because if sufficient energy is possessed, you can whack the fire button like mad - this pulls your wrestler back onto his pins. But if the old energy bar reads zero, he's too knackered to rise and it's Game Over.

Remember, fight for your life 'cos the WWF belt is your only goal. So load up WWF Wrestlemania, wear a pair of Y-fronts over your trousers and go kick some seven-foot tall, 300- pound American wrestler's ass. (I must point out Europress refuse to pay the hospital fees if you're silly enough to try it.)

MULTIPLE MOVES
I've watched a couple of video recordings of WWF wrestling but can't make head nor tail of it. It seems just as phoney as the British Saturday afternoon 'psycho granny with halt a brick in the handbag' version, which is sadly no more.

In Ocean tradition, the game's nicely presented, graphically impressive and, on the whole, very playable. The sprites are all monochrome, but even a non-WWF enthusiast like myself recognised Hulk Hogan (who doesn't, these days, after his appearance on The A-Team?).

Unusually for a fighting game, there are an impressive amount of moves available. Most games of the genre are limited to a few kicks, punches etc and that's yer lot. Here you can punch, kick, drop kick, climb the posts, leap on your opponent's head and stamp on him when he's down (great fun!).

But there's one small thing that widdles on the proverbial bonfire, and that 's the need to waggle the joystick like a wild thing when grappling with an opponent. Maybe I'm showing my age because I was completely cream-crackered after a couple of bouts. I don't know which was in greater danger of snapping, my arm or the joystick. There were definite creaking sounds from somewhere before I'd finished playing.

But it's well worth all the pain and suffering to kick the stuffing out of either a computer-controlled adversary or human pal. WWF Wrestlemania is gonna grab you by the lapels and pin you to the canvas.

MARK ... 84%

CRITICISM

'After watching a little WWF wrestling, I can safely say Ocean have captured the atmosphere of this strange sport perfectly. All your favourite characters from the shows are here complete with a few choice phrases to bawl at the beginning of a fight. WWF gives lots more freedom of control than most beat-'em-ups. You're not restricted to boring punches and kicks, or the ring, either: throw the scum into the crowd and continue the fight there! WWF Wrestlemania is an excellent game packed with all the action and excitement of the sport. Some may find it a bit difficult at first but you soon get the hang of crushing limbs with your bare hands!' NICK ... 82%

Cracked skulls, mangled limbs and loose teeth, ahoy! Great fun for all the family.

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HULK HOGAN

Weight: 3031bs

Born: Venice Beech, California

Birth sign: Leo

Trademark move: Pile Driver

Known for Unfaltering courage and strength in the face of adversity

Fave quote: 'Whatcha gonna do when the largest arms in the world and Hulkmania run wild on you?'

BRITISH BULLDOG

Weight: 275lbs

Born: Leeds, England

Birth sign: Sagittarius

Trademark move: Power Slam

Known for: His incredibly thick physique

Fave quote: 'The British Bulldog is going to take a bite out of the WWF'

ULTIMATE WARRIOR

Weight: 2721bs

Born: He wasn't born, he was launched

Birth sign: Presumably Aries, the ram, 'cos someone asked him once and he butted them

Trademark move: Gorilla Press

Known for: His fearlessness in the WWF ring

Fave quote: 'Come and feel the power of The Ultimate Warrior '

Your adversaries in the battle for the belt include Sergeant Slaughter, possibly the most dangerous wrestler of them all, who's only won the WWF belt once - by cheating against The Ultimate Warrior. The Million Dollar Man is reputedly the richest wrestler around and has bribed all and sundry in the Federation. It hasn't helped him win the WWF belt, though (ha!).

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"Will you marry me Mr Hogan?" "Only if you go down on one knee!".

No, no. I'm not coming in the ring until you put that nasty fist away.

There's no mistaking who produced this game, but there's no kippers in this Ocean(!).

Ya can't get up. Ya can't get up. Naaaaa!

Get up you weakling, there's no time for sleeping in this job!