WWF - Watery Wheelchair Flanges...

WWF Wrestlemania logo

OCEAN * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Now I can remember Saturday mornings when wrestling was on TV from some dingy town hall. Ah yes, it brings back happy memories. Featuring great wrestlers like Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Fit Finlay, it has long since passed away from our screens.

Now it's back, it's bad, it's sweaty, it's most amusing and most importantly it's American. Yes, those entertainment fanatics from across the Atlantic have come up with the World Wrestling Federation - WWF for short. It's huge in the States and is speedily becoming as popular as the Turtles or the Simpsons in good old Blighty. The only ways you can watch WWF is to own Sky Television (where it's shown twice a week) or by buying one of the many WWF videos.

The WWF is made up of many wrestlers, all with their own special moves and gimmicks. For instance, The Undertaker disposes of his victims with his Tombstone move and then puts his hapless opponent into a body bag. The Hitman takes care of the other wrestlers by applying his Sharpshooter hold, which basically means twisting the opponent's legs until they break off.

The star of the World Wrestling Federation however, is Hulk Hogan, the original all-American hero. The guy has blonde hair, huge muscles, rips hi shirt off a lot, and has won the WWF championship three times, so getting the wondrous WWF belt.

It's one-quarter wrestling and three-quarters bad acting, thus making it entertainment rather than sport. Anyone who watches the WWF regularly would probably love to jump into the square circle and go a few rounds with the Hulkster or the Million Dollar Man, and now thanks to Ocean your dreams or nightmares can come true... well, almost.

Before you start the game you have to choose your wrestler. I'll take the form of a WWF announcer for this part. The first wrestler from the United Kingdom, weighing in at 276 pounds, Theee Britishhh Bulll Dogggg!!! (I can't keep this up for much longer). Theeee, oh sod it, the other two are the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan.

So you've chosen your muscle bound wrestler - now for your opponents. You face the wrestlers in the following order - Mr Perfect (who's less than perfect), the Warlord, Million Dollar Man, The Mountie (he always gets his man, ho ho) and finally the baddest of them all, Sergeant Slaughter.

One thing you'll notice about the WWF is that everyone is so flippin' loud - the wrestlers shout their mouths off at just about everyone. As if by magic, the game also contains a lot of yelling and screaming. Before the start of each bout, your opponent will have the chance to say what he thinks of you and you, of course, can scream something back at him. This doesn't improve the gameplay, but it gets you in the right mood for a good scrap.

So you've chosen your wrestler, you've yelled at your opponent, now for the actual bout! Each wrestler has a strength indicator at the bottom of the screen. This strength-o-meter determines how quickly you can recover from being knocked on to the canvas, or how quickly you can throw off someone who's pinning him down. Your strength is depleted when you are hit or kicked or when you are thrown to the floor.

Each wrestler can perform several moves. These are mainly punching or kicking manoeuvres, but each individual has his own special move. To execute yours you must first be in a grapple with your opponent. Then you waggle the joystick left and right to build up your grapple strength, which is represented as a growing bar at the side of the screen. The first wrestler to make their bar reach maximum height wins the grapple. The winner then executes his special move on the other wrestler.

In true WWF style, the action doesn't just take place in the ring - you can battle outside it as well. Outside the ring you get the perfect opportunity to do some real damage to your opponent by banging him across the head with a steel chair which just happens to be lying nearby.

Each bout lasts a maximum of five minutes. During this time the match can be won by pinning the opposing wrestler to the canvas for a count of three seconds. If there isn't an outright winner by the end of the five minutes, then the match is declared a draw ad your challenge for the Wrestlemania belt is over.

If any competitor is forced out of the ring, a 20 second clock is started. The clock is reset once both wrestlers are back in the ring but, should any competitor remain out of the ring long enough for the clock to reach 20, the match is declared void and again your challenge for the Wrestlemania belt is over. This voiding or drawing of the match can be very annoying, especially when you've got to the final wrestler and he decides to stay out of the ring.

WWF is yet another licence game from Ocean. The word that would sim up WWF perfectly is "average". The gameplay is really dodgy - the way that you have to waggle the joystick to get one over on your opponent is very frustrating and most of the time you get stuck in a loop of waggling the joystick, losing, getting off the canvas and immediately going into another grapple.

The sound isn't too bad, but it certainly isn't as good as it could have been. There's a tune and a smattering of grunts and cheers, but for a lot of the time there's no sound at all. It can sound a bit odd, suddenly have the crowd burst into spontaneous applause and then stopping dead. What there is is good, but I can't help feeling that more is needed.

After doing this for a minute or so you are so knackered that you don't feel like playing the game. On the other hand, the graphics are really quite good - the wrestlers look like their real-life counterparts and little touches like the video screen and the way the ropes "boing" after someone bounces off them really improve the look of the game.

Oh well. If you're a true WWF fan then you'll probably buy this game along with your Hulk Hogan fluffy slippers and Mr Perfect duvet and pillowcase, but the rest of us would be better off buying a decent beat-'em-up or saving the money for a WWF video. If Ocean had maybe spent a little more time on the gameplay, they would have had a classic on their hands. As it stands though, the message is: "Don't believe the hype".

WWF Wrestlemania logo

Big, hunky, 300lb chaps in lycra and make-up: don't you just love 'em? Well yes, it would seem that the British public do. 1992, the age of the 'new man' is upon us, and with this (possibly) in mind it's now OK to enjoy watching the beefy, larger-than-life stars of the American WWF strut their baby oil-lubricated stuff.

Three of the WWF's most infamous gladiators - Hulk Hogan, The British Bulldog and The Ultmate Warrior - now come pixillated and primed for action in Ocean's game of Britain's 'favourite' new sport. Each of these three have a special move to master, and you can choose to present any one of them in your bid to become the new champ.

Pummel your way through five 'baddies' and the crown's yours. Each bout lasts five minutes, and tow in you have to pin your opponent to the canvas for a count of three. But these are slippery customers (not least due to the baby oil) so a lot of leaping, punching, grappling and pile-drivering has to be done in the pre-victory softening-up process. You and your opponent have an energy bar, and if one of them reaches the big zero then it means you're either victorious or canvas-fodder.

The action place in a ring (a square one) and you can walk in four directions. You can get really narked and leap out of the ring and chunk chairs about, climb up the corner posts and leap off or have a go at running and bouncing off the ropes to catapult yourself into a flying kick. It's all pretty frantic stuff and it will soon leave you with your joystick hand violently throbbing.

Every now and then, the two bulging battlers grab hold of each other in a clinch. It's now pummel-your-joystick-through-the-table time as you have to waggle your joystick left and right in a race to build up your grapple meter faster than your opponent. Whoever gets there first (usually your opponent) has the pleasure of executing his 'special' bone-breaking move. Your energy meter shrinks a couple of notches and you're soon back on your feet.

Shoot from the lip
The atmosphere of the whole WWF experience is captured and exploited to the full, and not just in the fights themselves. Introducing each bout is a profile of the two wrestlers and the chance to participate in a quick slanging match. Each wrestler has his favourite quote, and you can select which phrase to fire back at your loud-mouthed opponent, Monkey Island-style. All good fun and just like the real thing.

The graphics are big 'n' brassy, and move OKI. IT soon becomes obvious that you're not really controlling your character, but are triggering the execution of pre-defined animated sequences. But this isn't really a problem, because there's enough pace and variations to keep up the charade.

But the novelty factor wears off fairly quickly, and unless you are a real wrestling fan, then you'll soon find yourself wanting more moves, more opponents and a challenge that requires a little more of the grey matter than joystick-wiggling.

WWF's life-span is given a much-needed shot in the arm by the inclusion of a practice mode where you can work out all the moves or take on a buddy in a two-player game. Unfortunately player two is restricted to taking on the role of Mr Perfect, but there's still a lot of fun to be had in beating seven shades of steroids out of him.

WWF is a standard one-player Double Dragon-style beat-em-up set in one location. This lack of depth may well protect your bruised and battered hands from permanent damage, but leaves the game lacking. Fast, furious, glitzy and exciting - but ultimately a shallow facade. Much like the real thing!

...are three lumps of gloriously-glistening muscle who are just itching to do your dirty work for you. Simply take your pick, learn each of their individual speciality moves and then get stuck in. Such a pretty bunch of mothers, don't you think?
WWF Wrestlemania: British Bulldog Evidently the British Bulldog's from up north, Leeds to be precise, and he is intent on taking a "bite out of the WWF". He's got a bit of a poncy haircut, but he's dead tasty in the ring. WWF Wrestlemania: Hulk Hogan The most famous grappler of them all, the Hulkster is the current world champion and a bit of a crap film star. Bigger muscles than Arnie, and an Abba hardo to boot. Terrifying. WWF Wrestlemania: The Ultimate Warrior The Ultimate Warrior looks like a Guns 'n' Roses reject with an attitude to match. More make-up than Cindy Crawford, but not so nice to spend five minutes grappling with.

WWF Wrestlemania logo

Erstaunlicherweise gab es für den Amiga bisher noch kein einziges vernünftiges Wrestling-Game. Und was noch viel erstaunlicher, ja geradezu sensationell ist: Oceans Catcher zeigen sich von der spielbaren Seite!

Was daran so sensationell ist? Nun, einmal sind die vielen Spezialgriffe, Schläge und Tritte dieses edlen Sports nunmal steuerungstechnisch nicht gerade leicht hinzukriegen - das riecht förmlich nach überbelegtem Joystick. Zum anderen prangt das Logo der World Wrestling Federation (WWF) und ein Konterfei ihres Aushängeschilds Hulk Hogan verkaufsfördernd auf der Packung - das riecht förmlich nach einer teuren Lizenz ohne viel dahinter. Doch siehe da, alles ward gut, oder zumindest ganz passabel...

Es gibt zwei Spielmodi, nämlich den Wettkampf und das Training. Der übungsmodus ist vor allem deshalb erwähnenswert, weil nur hier ein zweiter Mensch mit dem Joystick ringen darf, ansonsten tritt man immer gegen den Computer an. Der Rechner ist eigentlich ständig in der überlegenen Position, denn auch bei der Zahl der Gegner führt er mit fünf gegen drei.

Die Herausforderungen tragen dem Insider bekannte Namen wie Sergeant Slaughter oder Million Dollar Man, aber auch die eigenen Rohlinge lassen sich in dieser Hinsicht nicht lumpen: Man kann wahlweise als Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior oder British Bulldog in den Ring klettern. Die Herrschaften haben natürlich jeweils ihren ganz privaten "Special-Move", etwa der berühmtberüchtigte "Gorilla Press" des ultimativen Kriegers.

Bevor es richtig losgeht, beschimpfen sich die beiden Kontrahenten erstmal standesgemäß; das ist für eine Weile ganz lustig, aber da man die Tiraden kaum beeinflussen kann, läßt der Reiz spätestens nach der dritten Wiederholung spürbar nach. Anschließend darf man seinen Gegner nach allen Regeln der Kunst vermöbeln, wobei es im Prinzip nur zwei Regeln gibt: Um zu gewinnen, muß man seinen Widersacher mindestens drei Sekunden lang am Boden festhalten, und nach fünf Minuten ist die Tortur so oder so vorbei.

Zuvor kann man aber wirklich eine Menge machen, z.B. boxen, treten, festhalten, auf dem Gegner harumtrampeln, in die Seile rennen und sich zurückschleudern lassen (ah, das berühmte "Whipping"), den Spezialgriff anbringen, ja, es ist sogar möglich, kurzfristig den Ring zu verlassen, um den Feind draußen mit einem Klappstuhl zu malträtieren. Trotzdem kriegt man die Sache relativ schnell in den Griff, weil eine Bildschirmanzeige den Spieler immer brav darüber informiert, ob er jetzt mit dem Joystick rütteln oder ganz hektisch auf den Feuerknopf drücken muß.

Aus Wrestle Mania hätte sich bestimmt mehr machen lassen, was Grafik (etwas farblos, ruckelnde Animationen), Sound (Gedüdel und enttäuschende FX) und Optionen (wo bleiben die Manager?) angeht, aber über die Spielbarkeit kann man nicht meckern. Naja, ein bißchen zu einfach ist es vielleicht, aber wo sonst könnte man zeigen, was man im Privatfernsehen alles gelernt hat? (mm)

WWF Wrestlemania logo

WWF is a sport packed with intense physical violence and vicious insults (and that's just the crowd). So why is the game so bloody weedy?

Wrestling sure has come a long way since those Saturday afternoon shows of the '70s and '80s when such blobs of lard as Big Daddy ('ray!) and Giant Haystacks (boo!) ruled the ring. For some reason I used to believe in it all in those days - I can remember the thrill of seeing Kendo Nagasaki unmasked - which is hard to credit now. Maybe we were all just more innocent back then.

Nowadays, wrestling has an unabashed emphasis on the act. It's more soap opera than sport, with the players embroiled in battles much like the cast of 'Enders or Boorky. And it's all American-grappling in the UK was all but postponed indefinitely many years ago due to lack of interest.

There are two main wrestling bodes in the US - World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation. The WCW can be seen on (very) early morning English telly and is for tinkers, whereas the WWF resides on the lofty heights of satellite television and appeals to more middle-class tastes.

What it doesn't appeal to is me (at all), but that's beside the point. For the benefit of myself, and any other blinkered souls in the same boat. I thought I'd find out a bit about the WWF. Here are my findings (and don't worry if you think I'm going on a bit. There's a point to all this. Trust me.)

Every WWF performance seems to concern four major players - Good Wrestlers, Bad Wrestlers, Managers and Commentators - and all of them get actively involved in the proceedings. What a pity only eight of the dozens of colourful wrestling characters available get to perform in the Amiga version of the game - and only three of those are open to control by the player.

Every wrestler in WWF has a distinguishing look, name, special move and catchphrase - and even a tune to suit their theme - though you won't come across many of them there. The Good guys featured in Ocean's Wrestlemania are the slack-jowled British Bulldog (who hails from Leeds no less) and the over-made-up Ultimate Warnor, who looks like a Kiss fan to me.

Hulk Hogan, however, is the best wrestler in the world and everyone loves him, bless his slappy scalp. Hulk (or Hulkster as he's often known) always tears his shirt off. But what's this? The Hulk's likely to retire in light of his successful transference of his action talent from the canvas to the silver screen? WWF won't be the same again.

The Bad contenders are Mr Perfect (who's also retiring apparently). The Warlord, Million Dollar Man, The Mountie and Sergeant Slaughter. So what's the goss?

Well, Ted Dibiaci - aka Million Dollar Man - used to have a bodyguard called Virgil whom he continually humiliated... until Virgil snapped and scrapped with him and won. The Million Dollar Man is managed by Sensational Cheri, who removes the wads of cash stuffed into the loser's mouth by the Man.

Sergeant Slaughter's actually Good at the moment, although in real life (and for the purpose of this game) he used o be Very Bad. Did you know he burned the American flag on stage during the Iraqui war? I ask you, what's the world of wrestling coming to? Sergeant Slaughter used to have two (Bad) cohorts who sadly don't appear in Ocean's WWF Wrestlemania: General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa. Both of them, like their boss, wore military uniforms, but with those boots with the curly-up toes..

The Mountie dresses as you'd expect, but what you might not guess is that he also wields an electric cattle prod. He often trades words with the Big Boss Man (Good), who doesn't appear here out comes from Cop County, Georgia and wears the uniform to prove it. Big Boss Man's 'thing' is to handcuff losers to the ropes. The two 'law enforcers' recently settled their differences once and for all in the Jailhouse Match - the laser spending a night in jail. The Mountie lost.

The game misses the point of WWF

But what of the other entertainers not present in Wrestlemania? Some of the more savoury ones who should have made it but didn't include the Undertaker (Bad) whose repertoire includes the Tombstone (the opponent is dropped head-first onto the canvas) and putting losers into bodybags. His theme tune is the funeral march.

IRS (bad) - aka Irwin R Shyster - might have been a good choice too. He reckons that everyone in the WWF is a tax cheat so he's out to make sure they pay - his losers are served with tax demands.

Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine doesn't wield a hammer - but he does shout "it's hammer time!". The very large Andre The Giant is now retired. (His bulk featured in Rob Reiner's film The Princess Bride).

The most evil man in WWF has to be Jake 'The Snake' Roberts (Bad). Jake's trademark is a snake in a bag which is released to save in the face of the loser. (He used to have a snake called Damien, but that got sat on by a fat wrestler called Earthquake (Bad) and is no more.) It transpired that Jake was actually in collusion with the Undertaker all along. Earthquake is now part of a duo with Tornado (nee Tugboat) called the Natural Disasters. And there are plenty more.

Most of them are former wrestlers, such as Gorilla Monsoon, Rowdy Roddy Piper (he played the lead role in John Carpenter's flick They Live!) and part-timer MachoMan Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan used to manage Mr Perfect and the Barbarian before he took up commentating. Now Bob's back with Rick Flare - aka Nature Boy - who was recently promoted from the WCW and purports to be the real world champion following three months of intense build up Rick's all sparkly teeth and cape and a blonde Playdo Fuzzy Pumper moulded hair-do.

The WWF comprises many special events, such as Wrestlemania (the main tournament). Summerslam (which is much the same as Wrestlemania). Survivor Series (teams of Good take on teams of Bad), Royal Rumble (an event for individuals which always ends up with everyone in the ring at the same time) and UK Rampage (they come over here and do it all for us).

There are four main titles to hold. The most important is the World Championship (which Hulk recently regained from the Undertaker having held it for many years beforehand). Then there's the Intercontinental Championship (which Mr Perfect lost to Bret 'The Hitman' Heart). The Million Dollar Belt and The Tag Team Championship, currently held by the Legion Of Doom.

It fails to make the grade on any worthwhile level

The point is this - with the WWF licence there's such a wide range of colourful, larger than life characters and events available to chose from that it's almost criminal how little they've done with it. As you will now have guessed from the title. Ocean's WWF Wrestlemania concerns only one of these many variations on the wrestling theme. In fact, the most exciting thing about the whole package is the video cassette you'll find floating around in the box. This is only 15 minutes long, and consists of (by and large) very brief highlights of WWF days gone by, so it gives you some indication as to the level of thrills generated by the actual game that it should prove to be the highlight of the whole pack!

There's a pitiful attempt at pre-match patter(more should have been made of this), mucho disk swapping, but previous little to do. But, try as Mi might, I can't derive any enjoyment from performing limited joystick movements from an inflexible selection. A typical bout tends to consist of tedious grappling and frustrating attempts at finding the correct position required to pin your opponent to the floor.

The wrestlers loom large on the screen, sure, but their movements are poor and they seem to float around the ring as they murmur "Uh" and "Ooh". The crowd - on the few occasions they make themselves known - sound like a high-speed jet. (At least the canvas slapping sound carries some weight).

That it fails as a pure simulation of traditional wrestling (which it does with great aplomb) isn't as much of a problem in my book as that it so clearly misses the whole larger-than-life point of the WWF. When it comes to creating a loud and proud rucking romp you couldn't wish for a healthier source of raw material, but WWF Wrestlemania lacks any of the vent's camp OTT splendour (when a match begins or comes to an end there's little or no celebration, for instance). There should be more pace. More poncing about. More posing. More pomp. Basically more of what you watch WWF for.

A poorly-drawn picture of a packed arena sets the scene for the shape of things to come. The animated credits sequence which takes place on the display screen in the centre is one of the most impressive aspects of this incarnation of WWF...
Which Good wrestler shall we play? The Hulkster's everyone's favourite grappler, but he's not the only meathead on offer. Oh no...
WWF Wrestlemania: The Ultimate Warrior Ultimate Warrior is the only good guy sad enough to use face paint, but his special move, the gorilla press, is a sight to behold.
WWF Wrestlemania: British Bulldog British Bulldog may not actually be much of a Bulldog, but at least he's British, and the crowds like him, and he does a nice power slam.
WWF Wrestlemania: Hulk Hogan Here's Hulk Hogan - Suburuban Commando and all round (slightly balding) good guy. Just watch him use that special pile driver move!
The battle between Hulk Hogan and Mr Perfect continues...
Each wrestler's strength is represented by a bar in the panel at the bottom of the screen. A wrestler without any strength can still wrestler, but his resilience to physical pressure is zilch. Meanwhile, back at the bout, Mr Perfect's got our Hulkster in a hold. This is it, grapple fans! The GrappleStrength-o-meters have appeared at the bottom of the screen and the first wrestler to take it to the max wins the tussle and gets to perform his special move on the loser. Rapid (and rapidly painful) movements of the joystick shaft from left to right, otherwise known as waggling, is the order of the day here.

WWF Wrestlemania logo

Wrestling is something that we in this country find hard to appreciate. Oversized baldies in cheap makeshift togas tussle each other to the floor whilst old grannies wave umbrellas and throw rolled-up bits of newspaper into a ply-board ring. However in America, it's a totally different story. Beer bellies are replaced by finely-toned gargantuan physiques, and the pensioners fight for ringside seats with adults and children who sport their latest hero's face on placards, T-shirts and moulded rubber masks.

Yes, WWF is big business. And so, as most things do these days, Wrestlemania has crossed the Atlantic and become the latest craze on our shores. Ocean's game takes the most popular characters from the Federation and separates them into good guys and bad boys. Naturally your choice of characters is made from the former category.

With each hero comes an individual set of moves and statistics. Weight, birthday, favourite sayings and best move are all listed, and all that's missing are their star signs. The first wrestler is Hulk Hogan, the definitive WWF star, who ust loves to tell you that he has the biggest arms in the world an that very soon they're going to be squeezing the excrement out of you.
British Bulldog is less outspoken, but no less outrageous, and his special move has his opponent scooped-up and power-slammed to the canvas.
The last choice of wrestler is The Ultimate Warrior, who looks like an ex-member of rock band KISS. He likes nothing better than to cuddle up close for the Gorilla Press.

The game has two modes: Competition and Practise. The latter is vital for learning all the joystick and fire button combinations. Although WWF is billed as a two-player game, this is only possible in Practise mode and only one of you, the good guy, can choose the character to use - the opponent will always be Mr Perfect.

Get used to the large sprites, develop some good combinations and fighting tactics, and then take on the first of the five pro grapples: Mr Perfect, Warlord, Million Dollar Man, the Mounty and Sgt. Slaughter.

During the five minute contest the aim is simply to reduce the opponent's energy bar by knocking the hell out of him, get him on the canvas and hold him there. Sooner or later you're going to get in a clinch, a stand off where both of you grimace face-to-face, straining to go one way or the other. The only way out is to waggle your joystick from left to right faster than the opposition, picking him up and hurling him across the ring.

And there's action outside the ropes, too - there's always a handy chair to smack over someone's head. Apart from this there's nothing more to it. Not bad fun for those young enough to thin the real thing's authentic, but it becomes a touch tedious for the rest of us.

Some effort has been made to recreate the kind of atmosphere these bouts evoke in the States. At the beginning, overhead views of the ring and remote-controlled spot lights scan the audience and flick over the arena. The wrestlers are then introduced and have a slight slanging match in which you are offered a choice of responses. The audience cheer and the big fight eventually begins.

WWF Wrestlemania logo

Eccentric aristocrat Lord Paul Lakin stomped into the ZERO office, wearing a figure-hugging leopardskin leotard and bellowing "kill, kill". Was he having another of his 'funny turns'? No, he was getting into character to review WWF Wrestlemania, the new grunt 'n' groan sim from Ocean.

Not so long ago, ITV decided to stop showing wrestling on a Saturday afternoon. Was it because ITV didn't approve of glorifying violence? No, ITV dropped wrestling because their market researchers told them that it was 'common' - only attracting brown ale-swigging grannies and fat men in cheap suits. This was not the sort of image that appeals to advertisers and it had no place in the clean-cut yuppie world of ITV. So the wrestling was dropped. Then along came WWF (World Wrestling Federation) and suddenly wrestling is challenging The Simpsons for the This Years Big Thing (Please Mum Buy Me One) Award. Which tells you a lot about the people in charge of ITV.

"Ah, but..." cries the overpaid market research analyst, "WWF is completely different from old-style wrestling. There's more razzmatazz, more style - it's got Youth Appeal!". Well, they're wrong. WWF is basically like the Saturday afternoon wrestling, but more so. Instead of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, you've got Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. The same as it ever was, except it's American.

Ocean's conversion of this muscle-fest comes covered in so many © and ™'s that it's clearly a licensed product. This means you get all the lovable, huggable (Steady on! Ed.) WWF heroes. If you elect to play in practice mode, then one player can be either Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior or British Bulldog. Player Two has to be Mr Perfect, which is a bit of a downer (unless, of course, you like Mr Perfect). If you choose to take on the computer, then you still get the choice of three fighters, but now you have to fight your way past five fighters going by such bowel-loosening names as The Warlord and Sergeant Slaughter.

All the fighters are capable of kicking, drop-kicking, stamping and pinning their opponents into submission. The really ambitious can even clamber up the corner posts and hurl themselves at their enemy. However, what's far more important is each fighter's special move. These range from fairly innocuous things, like Pile-Drivers and Full Nelsons, to the frankly alarming, such as Sergeant Slaughter's Camel Clutch. The name alone is enough to make your eyes water.

The fights themselves last a maximum of five minutes, during which time you try to defeat your opponent by pinning him to the ground for three seconds. You can only do this when his energy bar reaches practically nought as a result of you having kicked his butt round the ring. You can also defeat an opponent by making him stay outside the ring for 20 seconds.

Most of the fighting is straightforward punch and kick. However, the really frantic action takes place when you get into a, er... 'clinch' as it were. Then it's joystick waggle time. Both of you waggle away trying to get your power bar to reach maximum. The first person to make it gets to carry out his special move. Well, lucky old him, eh?

The other frantic moment in the fighting comes when your wrestler hits the deck. Time to hammer away in a desperate attempt to get him on his feet again, before your opponent carries out facial improvement with his feet.

Amiga review
Atari ST  review

Paul: Let's get one thing straight - I hate WWF. Not the game, you understand. I'm hardly going to give something like that away at the begging of a review, am I? It'd be like an Agatha Christie starting with "The butler did it, with the lavatory brush and a bottle of olive oil". There'd be no point in reading on. No - it's the real thing I hate (as far as it can be called 'real'). I mean, what's the point of it all? A lot of fat gits poncing around a ring pretending to hurt each other. It's like a pantomime except it's the blokes who wear the tights. Give us a break.

The first difference between WWF, the computer game and WWF, the slapstick comedy is that in the computer game the wrestlers actually hit each other. That's a step in the right direction for starters. They not only hit, of course - they grip, trip and kick. It's all pretty exciting really. Each wrestler is well-drawn and animated (although Hulk Hogan looks a bit like someone's Grandad) and there's no shortage of fighting moves.

Where the game is slightly let down is in the sense of perspective. This seems to be a problem with a lot of beat 'em ups. The backgrounds look suitably 3D-ish, but the wrestlers seem strangely two-dimensional and it's frustratingly difficult to line the two fighters up. Far too often, you find yourself punching or kicking fresh air. Mind you, that's what normally happens to me in a fight anyway.

Like most beat 'em ups, WWF really comes into its own as a two-player game. After all, it's a lot easier to hate people than computers. Trying to out-waggle a computer is a bit futile - they don't get tired, though in the earlier levels the computer isn't that quick. More importantly, there is a lack of variety in the player-versus-computer mode. You simply progress from one opponent to the next. Sure, each wrestler in WWF has his own special move, but beyond that there's only a very limited range of punches and kicks available.

WWF is a very well-executed game, if rather lacking in depth. But after all, it's only a beat 'em up - not a BCCI simulator. If you're a fan of WWF or enjoy a good joystick waggler, you'll not be disappointed by this game. In fact, you'll probably love it to bits. Stop

  1. They're very expensive: joysticks do not come cheap and few joysticks can survive more than a few serious waggles.
  2. They're knackering: you've heard of the tennis elbow, well I've just discovered WWF Arm.
  3. They're rather rude: now let's not beat about the bush here. If you're sitting there waggling a joystick it can easily look as if... well as if... you're... erm... you know... Let's put it this way, playing WWF Wrestling with two foul-minded Art chicks sitting behind you is very embarrassing.
  1. Be a bloke. Chicks can't be wrestlers 'cos they can't grow moustaches.
  2. Have an ill-fitting pair of trunks. If you want to be a real super-star, you might do better squeezing into your sister's swimming costume - do not wear a bikini.
  3. Have an outrageous name - try 'Wolfgang Hairy Bits'.
  4. Have some anti-social jewellery, such as spikey shoulder pads, big buckle belt or Gyles Brandroth medallion.
  5. Under no circumstances do any fighting. It's much too dangeorus and you might get hurt.
Not all wrestlers make it to the big time. These WWF heroes never reached the top flight.
Mr Mystery: The only undefeated wrestling hero. However, his 100% record was based on the fact that he never took part in a fight. Once the board of control realised he didn't actually exist, he was banned immediately. Nothing has been heard of him since. (Not that anything had been heard of him before). Special Move: The Late Train.
ERIC WHISTLETHROW: Weighing only six-and-Special Move: The Polite Cough.