Sunday, 17 July 2011

WWF Betrayal (Game Boy)

The basic idea behind WWF Betrayal is a good one: have a bunch of wrestlers star in a beat em up. Unfortunately, it fails to live up to the potential of this idea.
To start with, the premise itself is wasted, most likely due to apathy. There are four playable characters, and the three you don't pick you'll fight as bosses. But this doesn't mean the game has a Sonic Adventure-esque story where the playable characters meet each other at different points, but rather they just play different parts in the story whoever you pick. The story is that the wrestlers you didn't pick have kidnapped Stephanie McMahon, and her dad Vince wants you to go and rescue her. For those readers not versed in wrestling lore, there are numerous problems with this: firstly, by the time this game came out in 2001, Stephanie McMahon was not a character who would garner much sympathy in the eyes of young wrestling fans. Secondly, one of the playable characters is The Undertaker, who only a few years previously, had stalked, kidnapped and tried to force a younger Stephanie into a satanic marriage. But apparently, Vince still trusts him to go and rescue her. Thirdly, one of the other playable characters is The Rock, meaning if you don't pick him he becomes a violent criminal, something that's wildly out of character for him. Pretty much anyone could have come up with a better scenario for a belt scroller starring pro-wrestlers.
The problems don't end with the plot, either. The wrestlers all walk incredibly slowly, and they can't jump. Their repetoire of attacks extends to punches, kicks and one wrestling move each, that is used if you manage to get five attacks in without getting hit. The stages consist of slowly walking across various locations (backstage, some sewers, the streets, etc.) beating up referees, policemen and random passers-by (sometimes with the aid of a crowbar or wrench), fighting one of the other wrestlers at the end of most stages. If you die on your way to the boss, you have to start the entire stage again. Generously, if you die during a boss, you only have to restart the bossfight. Also, you don't regain health between stages.
The game does have one nice idea: if you tap the attack buttons while stunned, you regain a small amount of health. That one idea isn't enough to save the game, though. It's an ugly, boring game that completely fails to live up to an idea that should be a no-brainer in making a great game. And another thing, why is it a Game Boy game? You'd think they'd make such a game as spectacular as they could on one of the home consoles.
(Note: Although the screenshots came out glitched, I played the game on a different, working emulator for writing the review)

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