Legends of Wrestling II
When Legends of Wrestling II arrived for review I was rather excited, not because I'm a great fan of wrestling as such, it's just that I'm old enough to remember Saturday afternoons many years ago when on ITV Dickie Davies presented 'World of Sport' and after Football Focus it was usually the turn of the wrestling to provide the entertainment. Of course the highlight was always the classic match between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, those were the days. In what looks like a stroke of genius the developers of Legends of Wrestling II have saw fit to include the British wrestling heroes of yesteryear. Let's have a look to see how they do in the company of Hulk Hogan and friends.
Legends of Wrestling II has some stiff competition on the PlayStation 2. The Smackdown! series being the most obvious of these. LoW II is more grapple based in it's style although effective moves can be made without a grapple. Whilst it plays completely different to any of the Smackdown! games it still is quite enjoyable. What puts a big dent in the experience is the poor collision detection that can be infuriating at times especially when you try to perform a move and your wrestler goes straight through your opponent.
The game comes with various modes such as Exhibition, Cage, Battle Royal, Ladder, Tag fights, a $15,000 Body Slam Challenge with Big John Studd and 3 & 4 way dances. There is also the Career mode that enables you to take a wrestler of your choice, either pre-made or one that you've created, through a whole season of wrestling much the same as in the first game. It would have been nice to see a British variation of this to accommodate the new additions to the game but sadly it's not to be. Overall there is a nice amount of variety to the game in terms of gameplay options.
If you're looking for that late 70s/early 80s British feel to your wrestling then you'll be sad to learn that you won't find it here. Sure, some of the sports greatest names are here but the whole thing just feels wrong. Where's their trademark moves? Since when did a British wrestling match from those times have a big breasted female referee? The character's images are here but sadly that is all and that's a shame. Even the career mode retains a strict American flavour.
Unfortunately no improvements have been made in the graphics department from the original Legends of Wrestling. The crowd still look like cardboard cut-outs and the blood that comes from the wrestlers is simply a bunch of red squares that looks silly, it would have been better if there had been no blood at all. The wrestlers still look like action figures, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if they didn't move like action figures too. There are some serious collision detection problems though as we mentioned earlier. The whole look of the game isn't bad and I only experienced slight slowdown but it's a disappointment that no real improvements have been made from the original game. The load times are also a big pain. Even selecting a different costume for your wrestler will take about 4 seconds.
The game is OK for deaf gamers, but only because of the nature of the game in that the gamer doesn't need to hear anything in order to be able to play the game. The announcers comments are not subtitled which is a shame as it adds to the atmosphere of the game. The lack of announcer comments on the wrestlers introductions, takes away some of the fun for the deaf gamer which is unfortunate. The managers comments were subtitled this time though, which was good to see. The force feedback is rather lack lustre and somewhat pointless because of this. It basically gives out rumbles that lack definition which is strange because the Dualshock 2 pad is capable of so much more.
Game Rating: 6.0/10