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WWF Superstars

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Released: 1991

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Game Boy

Publisher: LJN Ltd

Developer: Rare

Submitted by: Alex Holmes

I still have the issue of the WWF Magazine which features an advert for this game on the back cover which first wet my appetite and instantly made it the next game for me to buy.  In it a gurning Ultimate Warrior holds a Game Boy while around him are various screenshots of the game in action.

Superstars was always going to be a big seller, namely due to two factors.  Firstly it was the first time a Game Boy owner had the chance to play an official WWF game on their machine, and also the fact that the game borrows its name from the hugely popular weekly wrestling show and the arcade game released some two years previously.

The game features five wrestlers, Hulk Hogan, Randy "Macho King" SavageMr Perfect, The Ultimate Warrior and "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase.  They all function more or less the same, expect for Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior are larger and move slighty slower.  And once a wrestler has been selected you must fight your way through the other four in either one fall or best of three matches.  

For people who never played this back in the early 90's there may be certain factors that make playing this game fairly unenjoyable.  Mainly the moves on offer, or rather lack of.  Each wrestler has a couple of striking blows and there are a handful of grapple moves on offer including dropkicks, piledrivers, suplexs and elbow drops.  And also each wrestler has one special move per match, which is a super throw, and sends opponents flying out of the ring and does a fair amount of damage.

But, the limited moves on offer never put me off and I returned to it time and time again (still do).  The in game sprites are chunky and well detailed, especially when compared to the four later WWF Game Boy games, and the collision detection is spot on, with a real sence of contact, which is helped with the ring shaking when a heavy move is landed.  Plus with little touches like the old school pre match promos and the after match section with Vince McMahon show that a lot of time and detail went into the making of this game.  Yes, later games featured more wrestlers and match types such as tournaments and cage matches but I dont feel they ever matched this game in terms of excitement.

If you want a Game Boy wrestling game which features a huge moves set, I recommend the excellent HAL Wrestling, but for old school WWF action, Superstars is the one to play! 

WWF Superstars

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Released: 1989

Genre: Beat-’em-up

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Technos

Submitted by: Alex Holmes

God I wish I knew how much money I put into this game as a kid!

Superstars was the first WWF arcade game released, and was an instant hit with wrestling fans.

Featuring six playable wrestlers, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, The Big Boss Man, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Honky Tonk Man, plus two non playable boss characters, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Andre The Giant, players choose two wrestlers and embark on the path to the tag team championship, where they must win three matches before taking on the champions DiBiase and Andre The Giant. And once won they must repeat the process as champions, and if the curcuit is completed again, the game ends with the player retaining the championship.

A fairly simple two button control scheme is used, with each player capable of a few grappling holds, plus running and ground attacks. Several trademark moves are featured such as The Ultimate Warriors “Gorilla Press Slam” and Honky Tonk Mans “Rhythm and Blues Neckbreaker.” And the fight can also be taken outside the ring, where the gaurd rails and folding tables can be used to attack opponents.

The fact that this was the first real WWF game to be released in the arcade meant that its poularity would be guaranteed. And some nineteen years after release, and despite the cult classic Wrestlefest released two years later, this game still plays well.