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Relive, Rewrite, Redefine: 'Legends of WrestleMania'

April 3, 2009

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Legends of WrestleMania25 years ago, the World Wrestling Federation changed the face of professional wrestling by creating the spectacle known as 'WrestleMania'. Combining its own talented performers with appearances by celebrities, rock stars and even politicians, the WWE came to view their annual event as their annual Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500 all rolled into one.

As a wrestling fan and some time wrestling journalist, looking back there are so many memorable WrestleMania moments and matches. Fans will never forget The Ultimate Warrior defeating Hulk Hogan in Toronto's own SkyDome at WrestleMania XI, King Kong Bundy slamming midget wrestler Little Beaver at WrestleMania III or Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's see-saw battle in WrestleMania XII's Iron Man Match. And those are just to name a very, very few. 'Legends of WrestleMania', the latest wrestling game from publisher THQ and developer YUKE's Future Media Creators lets you replay classic matches and relive classic moments as well.

Those looking for a repeat of the incomparable 'Smackdown Versus Raw' series may be a bit confused when they pop in 'Legends of WrestleMania'. Although it looks and sounds as good, 'LOW' does not use the same complex game mechanics and you don't have the same control over your wrestlers or their interaction with the environment around them. Everything is executed with the joystick and the buttons. The bumpers and triggers on the controller don't come into play at all.

You can punch, kick, reverse an attack, run off the ropes, Irish Whip your foe and leap off the top rope. The goal is to build up your energy level so that you can apply your finishing move. Your actual wrestling moves are not as plentiful as they are in 'SVR'. The chain wrestling moves, finishing moves and interactions with the environment (such as throwing someone into a post, grabbing a steel chair from under the ring or banging their head off the steel cage) are all quick-time events that require you to hit certain buttons when prompted in order to be successful. You cannot just freely grab the ring stairs or piledrive someone into the announce table as you would in 'SVR'. You had better be quick on the buttons too as some of the prompts don't give you much time to react.

Legends of WrestleManiaThe game modes themselves are about as limited as The Big Show's knowledge of pro wrestling moves. You can wrestling the computer or a pal in Exhibition mode which includes Ladder, Steel Cage, Hell in a Cell and other specialty matches. You can access 'Legend Killer' and 'WrestleMania Tour' modes in the Legends Vault. In 'Legend Killer', you must arm drag and suplex your way through six 10-member gauntlets of WWE superstars. They are sorta like mini-tournaments where you must beat your current opponent to move onto the next. As you advance, you gain experience points to improve your wrestler. It should be known that 'Legend Killer' mode can only be accessed using superstar that you have created.

The 'WrestleMania Tour' selection gives you the chance to 'Relive', 'Rewrite' or 'Redefine' WrestleMania matches. 'Relive' is self explanatory. It lets you simulate bouts like Hulk Hogan versus King Kong Bundy at WrestleMania 2 or Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI. As you can tell, 'Relive' is a little Hogan heavy for good or for bad depending on what you think of Terry Bollea. 'Rewrite' mode puts a spin on some memorable WrestleMania matches with you playing the role of the loser such as when you take on Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine as The Junkyard Dog at the very first WrestleMania in 1985. 'Redefine' is the strangest group of the bunch by changing the conditions of some WrestleMania matches. Andre The Giant now fights Big John Studd at the first WrestleMania in a Hell in a Cell Match. Roddy Piper and Bret Hart's encounter at WrestleMania VIII has been changed to a Submission Match. It is Bret's Sharpshooter against Roddy's...ummm...Sleeper Hold? Oh, well. Best of luck Roddy.

Legends of WrestleManiaThe hitch with the 'WrestleMania Tour Mode' is that there are only six matches under each heading. You will blow through them pretty quickly. To complicate things, developer YUKE's Future Media Creators has instituted an objectives list for each match. If you complete these WrestleMania to-do lists you win medals. Some of the objectives are reasonable such as hitting your foe five times in a row without taking any damage yourself or busting him open at some point during the match. Others will test your patience as they require you to get yourself into trouble to achieve them such as when you are asked to mimic the ending of The Ultimate Warrior - Hulk Hogan match at WrestleMania VI by allowing Hogan to execute his finishing move but reversing it so misses his patented Leg Drop. What the developers are requesting is that you purposely lose so you can complete the objective. Yikes. What were you thinking YUKE's?

What has always been YUKE's strong point when it comes to wrestling games is their strict attention to the tiniest of details like what kind of tattoos The Undertaker has or the placement of the scars on Terry Funk's forehead. 'Legends of WrestleMania' is no different in that department. YUKE's captures everything so perfectly from the right kind of title lettering (supers) at each WrestleMania broadcast to the look of the arenas themselves. Having Jerry 'The King Lawler' and Jim Ross take their turn at calling the timeless WrestleMania matches is a really nice touch as are the video packages that play before each bout explaining how the feuds began and how the matches played out.

Legends of WrestleManiaLike 'SVR', the character models are remarkably authentic even if their bodies seem a bit too glossy and the right theme music is not always present. We are guessing there were copyright issues or "That just lame!" issues involved and that is why we have things like Coco B. Ware coming down to the ring to 'Piledriver' rather than his actual "Bird-Bird-Bird" entrance music.

'Legends of WrestleMania' has a fairly healthy starting roster. It is a real tribute to the wrestlers who paved the way for today's superstars. Most are from the 'Rock and Wrestling' days of the eighties and curiously, sadly enough, many are deceased. You can select from Roddy Piper, The Legion of Doom, Ric Flair, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Honkytonk Man, King Kong Bundy and the list goes on. Based on who has graced the WWE with their presence though, you would think the list would be a tad bit longer. Where are Demolition? Where is Ricky Steamboat? How about Dom Muraco, Terry Funk, Paul Orndorff or Randy Savage? Maybe they are saving them for 'Legends of WrestleMania 2' or using them as downloadable content on Xbox Live. At least we hope so.

Legends of WrestleManiaOne simple and superb roster feature is if you own 'Smackdown Versus Raw', you can import the entire roster and your created wrestlers into 'LOW' with the click of a button. Doing so also opens up a new level in 'Legend Killer' mode. One weird glitch is that you cannot match 1980's Undertaker with 2009's Undertaker or the old Shawn Michaels against the new. Not sure why that is but man, that would have been fun.

There have been better and there have been worse wrestling games than ‘Legends of WrestleMania’. It kinda falls right smack dab in the middle somewhere, sorta like how that clumsy ox known as The Big Show insinuated himself into this Sunday’s WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at WrestleMania 25. Like Hulk Hogan or The Rock, the title is sure to divide gamers. You are either going to love or you are going to hate ‘Legends of WrestleMania’. Die-hard grappling fans or those who enjoy pick up and play titles will be thankful for the chance to relive wrestling history despite the game’s shortcomings. All others just won’t get it at all, if you smell what The Rock is cooking.

WrestleMania 25 Predictions

With the milestone WrestleMania 25 taking place this Sunday night from the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, we thought it would be fun to use 'Legends of WrestleMania' to simulate the outcome of the matches. Who will have the better score? or YUKE's? We will find out this Sunday night on Viewer's Choice Pay-Per-View.

Legends of WrestleMania1. WWE Heavyweight Title Match: Triple H vs Randy Orton

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: Triple H.
John Powell's Prediction: Triple H.

2. WWE World Heavyweight Title - Triple Threat Match: Edge vs Big Show vs John Cena

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: Edge.
John Powell's Prediction: John Cena.

3. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: The Undertaker.
John Powell's Prediction: The Undertaker.

4. Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: Jeff Hardy.
John Powell's Prediction: Jeff Hardy.

Legends of WrestleMania5. Money in the Bank: MVP vs Shelton Benjamin vs Fit Finlay vs Mark Henry vs Kane vs Kofi Kingston vs C.M. Punk vs Christian

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: None.
John Powell's Prediction: Jeff Hardy.

6. Chris Jericho vs Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: Roddy Piper (Snuka, Steamboat).
John Powell's Prediction: Roddy Piper (Snuka, Steamboat).

7. Intercontinental Title Match: JBL vs Rey Mysterio

Legends of WrestleMania Prediction: JBL.
John Powell's Prediction: Rey Mysterio.

Legends of WrestleMania
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: THQ
Developer: YUKE's Future Media Creators
ESRB Rating: Teen
Official Site: http://www.legendsofwrestlemania.com/

Rating: 7 / 10


 

 
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