WWE / WWF Wrestling 4th Generation Games – A Definitive Analysis. Raw, Super WrestleMania Ect.


When people discuss retro, pre 3D wrestling
games, the general consensus is that there are good games out there, but none containing
the WWE license or as it was called back then The WWF. In general, this discussion doesn’t
include arcade games or the handfull released on home computer. Understandably so, the discussion
is based on Nintendo and Sega hardware. I myself owned a few of these games as a kid,
and though I did find enjoyment, it was clear better wrestling games existed. Pro Wrestling
on the Original Nintendo has always been my preference when compared to the bucket of
other options from that ear. Acclaim had home console rights for the WWF brand very early
on, releasing the first game to contain the Wrestlemania license on the NES in 1989. Further
more, they would would retain rights to WWF games on home consoles until WWF Attitude,
which released one decade later. The most fascinating of the bunch is a quadrilogy
of sorts that released during the fourth generation. Most folks don’t realize how connected these
games are, as the series is often bypassed due to its poor reputation, one that I don’t
feel is justly given, something this video will cover in-depth. So which games are we covering? Super WrestleMania,
Royal Rumble, Rage in a Cage, and Raw. We are not coving WrestleMania the Arcade game
as I not only covered it in it’s own video, but it’s in no way connected to these other
games. So let’s have a look at the games in question
and discover which of the these are the best. This is Retro Impressions, 4th Generation
WWE. First up is Super WrestleMania.
One thing which is present with this game and remains a constant thought out every release
is a roster variation depending on the console you chose to play on. With Super WrestleMania,
the SNES version was developed first and contained Hogan, Savage, Million Dollar Man, Jake Roberts,
Sid Justice, The Undertaker, and members from two tag teams. The Natural Disaster’s Typhoon
and Earthquake, along with the Legion of Doom’s Animal and Hawk. If you choose to play the game, you’ll have
three modes to tackle. 1 on 1
Tag Team And Survivor series If you’re not familiar with the Survivor
Series elimination match, it traditionally pitted two teams of four to five wrestlers
against each other. The rules are similar to a tag team match though all members of
the opposing team must be pinned in order to claim victory. Beyond this one mode, there’s really nothing
special here, or any real substance to the game itself. Pick any of the modes and win
or lose the game is over after one match. So scratch any sort of replayability you may
have been hoping for. The SNES version is also notorious among fans of this series because
no wrestler has any unique identifying feature to define them inside the ring outside of
their look. No special moves, no unique skill sets, and no variation in how they control,
they are all identical. Another oddity about this game is you can only climb to the top
rope on the announcer side of the ring, and only one wrestler at any given time. The Genesis version released around 8 months
later and a lot had changed. The game replaced nearly the entire lineup only retaining Hogan,
Savage, and the Million Dollar Man. New additions were The Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels,
IRS, The British Bulldog, and Papa Shango. If you’re keeping track, that’s two less
than the SNES offered. As I stated before, a major disappointment
with the SNES version was every mode was constrained to one match. Win or lose, you could only
ask for a rematch or return to the main screen. The updated genesis version adds a championship
mode allowing the player to pick a wrestler and take on the remaining roster in a quest
for the title. It also added finishing moves for each wrestler, giving them a light distinction
outside of visuals alone Overall, both games received fair to positive
reviews and while they don’t do anything special, they really don’t have many flaws
outside a lack of features and generalized blandness. So what’s the better version.
Truth be told I’ve always owned this on the Genesis and have always saw articles along
with reviews placing it above the SNES due to the championship mode and added special
moves for each wrestler. I don’t think that trade-off is worth it though. The SNES has
a slightly larger play area, larger sprite size, better graphics, objectively better
sound, two more wrestlers, and it controls better due to the SNES not having a three
action button limitation. So if we are comparing as most other people have, the SNES should
come out on top. Surpassingly there’s something no one
seems to mention, and that’s the terrible frame rate present in the SNES release. It’s
this reason alone that the Genesis comes out on top. If a game is designed around 30 frames
a second, and the game speed is directly connected to frame rate, any uptick or downtick in this
rate is going to impact the intended experience. For me, it’s a massive and noticeable issue
here, and I’m someone who can typically look past these things. I think nothing better
illustrates the differenced in the gameplay experience due to the direct relation of frame
rate and game speed than a trip around the ring. Next up is WWF Royal Rumble,
Now before I get into this game, it’s important to note that every game on this list is a
continuation of development improving upon the base foundation of the original game.
It’s very similar to the incremental changes common with sports games of the era. These
are expansions of the same ideas and almost always a step forward, so I’ll be notating
the changes, though I won’t be discussing some of the more minor mechanical adjustments
between releases. As with Super Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble first
released on the Super Nintendo in June of ’93. 
The menu has changed up a bit from the last release on the Genesis. The championship mode
is now referred to as a Tournament and has been relocated under One on One. New modes
include brawl, which is a no holds bar match, triple tag team which is a tag team match
but with three on a team, and finally, the Royal Rumble replaces the Survivor Series
match. In a Royal Rumble, a group of wrestlers draw numbers to determine their position or
entry. The one and two positions start the match with the next in line, entering the
ring every two minutes until no one is left. Elimination requires a wrestler to exit the
ring over the top rope and have both their feet touch the floor. The representation in
this game isn’t exact, but it’s close enough considering the constrains at hand.  
There are also new moves, though as with the previous game, these are shared by the entire
roster. All the wrestler’s finishers have been updated, but ultimately, it’s not far
removed from Super WrestleMania on the Genesis. The biggest in-ring addition is the introduction
of illegal moves. We also see the first weapon the series would receive, the iconic chair. 
Fundamentally, not much has changed to set the wrestlers apart. They all move with the
same speed, have the same stats, and feature nothing defining in the way each one controls. With Super WrestleMania, the user had access
to three difficulties. From this game forward, it’s been adjusted to ten. The final thing
of note is the new grappling meter. I think its fair to say it doesn’t change anything
from the prior game, but gives a visual representation of the tug of war system the developers chose
to implement throughout the entirety of the fourth generation of WWF game releases. So about this Tug of war system, we should
discuss it for a minute as it seems to be a rather large area of contention and sticking
point for those who dislike the game. Acclaim’s WWE quadrilogy has two basic mechanics. You
can think of the basic game as what you might anticipate with a traditional brawler. However,
that doesn’t make it a wrestling game. To do that, they included a grappling mechanic
where the winner is decided by how fast they press a button. There are a number of different
moves, and it seems to me that easier, less damaging attacks move the meter with less
button presses versus the more difficult ones. So it’s really the player’s responsibility
to figure out a strategy fitting of their ability and when it’s best to take the risk
of pulling off a more demanding maneuver. I’m not positive this is the case, but the
more I play through this series of games, the more I’m convinced that’s how this
system functions. It’s a concept not too dissimilar to early
Mario Party series mini games or the N64 classic, Track and Field 2000. Quite frankly, it works
well, but if this style of gameplay is not your thing, nothing this series does will
change your mind. The genesis version released a few months
later, with the only notable change being to the roster. Wrestlers appearing in both
versions are Bret Hart, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Macho Man Randy Savage, Razor Ramon,
Crush, and Lex Luger under the name the Narcissist. Exclusive to the SNES is Tatanka, Yokozuna,
Million Dollar Man, Mr Perfect, and Ric Flair. The Genesis replaces them with Hulk Hogan,
IRS, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Model Rick Martel, and Papa Shango. It’s also the first game
in the series to introduce compatibility with the six button pad and oddly, the only version
of the game to make use of the Mode button. It’s utilized during the 3 person tag team
match where is changes the person waiting to be tagged in on your team. The visuals have been updated, and it’s
a huge step forward for the series, but when comparing the two versions, the SNES still
has the Genesis beat. More good news for both system owners is that the frame rate is consistent
between both games making the experience fairly close to identical. So what version is the best here? it’s nearly
a toss-up based on the roster you most prefer, but I still give the edge by a hair to the
SNES due to its still superior audio presentation. The next release in the series was Rage in
the Cage. Not only was this a Sega CD exclusive, but it’s also the only wrestling game available
on the system, making it the best wrestling game on the Sega CD. I think that’s all
that needs to be said… Oh you want to hear what makes it unique? Ok. The game boasts a massive roster of twenty
wrestlers, the most in a WWF wrestling game up to this point, and that would remain the
case until the release of acclaims final WWF game in 1999, Attitude for PSX, N64, and Dreamcast.
This game also features multiple tag team wrestlers. It would seem like the ultimate
versions, if not for one massive omission, all tag team modes have been removed. In fact,
there’s no Survivor Series or Royal Rumble either. In return, we are given a new steel
cage match, but it’s not a great mode and hardly justifies the removal of the prior
content. Overall, it’s a step forward in the single player department and a step backward
if you enjoyed any other mode making it a new step in the wrong direction overall. Being
on the Sega CD, it contains the usual stuff you might expect of an early system release
such as highly compressed video and some upgrades in the sound and commentary department. The
new features here are mostly ones that wouldn’t move forward and could be considered experimental
at best. Sega CD roster.
  Bam Bam Bigelow Big Boss Man
   Bret Hart Crush
   Headshrinker Fatu Headshrinker Samu
   IRS Kamala
   Lex Luger Mr. Perfect
   Nasty Boy Knobbs Nasty Boy Saggs
   Randy Savage Razor Ramon
   Rick Martel Shawn Michaels
   Tatanka Ted DiBiase
   Undertaker Yokozuna That brings us to WWF Raw.
 It first released in late 1994, and unlike the other Multiplatform releases, the Genesis
and SNES were developed side by side releasing on the same day. In addition, this is the
only release in the quadrilogy to see an appearance on the Game Boy and Game Gear. The game was
also ported to the 32X in 1995. The latter three, which we will discuss more in-depth
when we get into the breakdown segment. Speaking strictly of the SNES and Genesis versions,
they are packed full of content, but the most significant addition to the series is unique
stats for every wrestler. Speed, size, stamina, and strength are now a factor in how each
one controls. Each wrestler also has an added finishing move making it two in total. The
roster is made up of 123 Kid, Bam Bam Bigelow, Diesel, Doink the Clown, Bret the Hitman Hart,
Owen Hart, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Undertaker, Yokozuna, and the only
female wrestler to appear in a WWF game up to this point, Luna Vachon. Of course, this
isn’t the first game with a female wrestler. In 1990, a game called Cutie Suzuki no Ringside
Angel released on the Mega Drive, which featured a full female cast. Surprising to many is
the game not only exist, but is based on a real female wrestler Cutie Suzuki who shares
her namesake with the game. A nifty tidbit about the development of Raw and Luna Vachon
is storyline-wise, she was the girlfriend of Bam Bam Bigalow. She was well known for
being the first successful non-diva style female wrestler paving the way for others
such as China. At the time, this prompted serious consideration to include her during
the first release in this series, Super Wrestlemania. Ultimately the idea was scrapped over concerns
of blowback by releasing a game that allowed man to fight women. As Raw entered development,
Luna and Bigalow were part of a storyline that saw mixed sex couples battling outside
the ring. Most likely, this is a clue as to why Luna was finally included three games
past her intended video game debut, and why the remaining diva classified wrestlers remained
on the sideline. Getting back to the game itself, added features include support for
four players and several added modes, making it the richest offering in the series by a
county mile. Ultimately each release in this series is like purchasing expansion packs
for the original that enhance the experience every time with the only real shortfall being
a rotating roster that might not always be as appealing as the prior offering. So if Raw is the completed vision nearly two
and a half years in the making, what version of Raw is the definitive release? Let’s
get to the breakdown. First up is Sound
Through most of the series, the SNES has clearly maintained the advantage, the only exception
being the Sega CD exclusive, which was a healthy upgrade overall. So does the status quo remain
true with Raw? Of course it does, this is an Acclaim game after all. For the most part,
the sound team failed to utilize the Mega Drive hardware properly, and the result is
rather hollow when playing the Mega Drive release. Music aside, both are fairly on par
when it comes to the remaining effects, but the SNES still maintains an edge due to better
utilization of the samples present. I think the best example is the crowd itself. Thankfully, the 32X is capable of improving the experience where the Genesis falls short.
Crowd noise aside, did the team responsible for this version step it up enough to take
the top spot? Well, it’s a vast improvement over the Genesis and has a much more vibrant
and fuller audio presentation when compared directly to the SNES. Overall, the quality
in noticeably better and there’s a small increase in auto samples. It’s not a big
improvement but enough to take the top spot. The real unfortunate bit across all versions
is there is a clear lack of sound effects where you might anticipate them. Sometimes
they’re there, some times not. It’s something I wouldn’t expect, considering there’s
no music during matches leaving plenty of audio channels open to execute everything
required. There’s not much else to say, so I’ll leave you with a few examples. Next up is Visuals
As always, we are going to compare spites across all versions sorting them in order
of size. I’ve included all games in the series to give you the best idea possible
of the progression being made from start to finish. Feel free to pause the video and take
an educated guess as to what versions are where. Visually, Raw is clearly the best of the quadrilogy,
but like all versions before it, it’s not perfect. I think it’s important to note
what Raw does right and what it does wrong. Most of the wrestlers are identifiable, especially
when standing alone. I say standing alone because when they are next to each other,
things can get confusing. Here’s Keven Nash standing next to another wrestler. If you’re
familiar with the era, you may be wondering who this other wrestler is. After all, Kevin
Nash is 7’ tall and really stood out due in part to his height. So let me shock you
by reveling this is the 6’ tall 123 Kid. Another comparison is Keven Nash to Luna Vachon….
she’s only 5’5” after all. Yep, same deal. So Every single wrestler in the game
is the identical height, a rather massive disappointment in the visual department that
leads to a questionable in-game representation of the roster. Honestly, this isn’t a new
issue, it’s been a problem though the entire series. Speaking of rank, the fight for the
bottom spot is a little clearer than the top position. Essentially the SNES and Genesis
both give a clean presentation that’s fitting of each platform. There really isn’t any
significant difference that doesn’t come down to personal preference with one exception.
The Genesis version seems to once again run at a higher frame rate. It’s not significant,
and this time around, it doesn’t affect gameplay, but it’s visually notable. This
higher frame rate isn’t just a step up over the SNES it’s also a step up over the 32X
as both the 32X and SNES appear to be utilizing the same lower frame rate setting. Speaking
of the 32X, I found it interesting that this release fully upended the front end presentation.
It’s almost like it was intended as a new game when only considering the menus. One
thing you may have noticed is the smaller sprite size on the 32X version. It’s a bit
deceptive though, because the framing of the ring has been slightly changed, giving the
player a wider perspective of the action overall. With the new ring included, I wondered if
we had lost real-estate compared to the other two versions, so I did a test, counting the
frames of animation required for a wrestler to cross the ring in each version, and it’s
identical across the board. One thing Raw introduced was recognizable ringside announcers.
Common across all games is Jerry “the King” Lawler and who I believe to be Jim Ross. Exclusive
to the 32X release is a second set of anouncers. One is Gorilla Monsoon the other I believe
to be The Fabulous Moolah. If you think I’m wrong, let me know who you think it is, I
asked a few people and we couldn’t reach a consensus on this. The 32X also has more
than one referee. So overall, there’s a slightly lower frame rate, but the graphical
overhaul makes it really stand out. So on top is the 32X, then Genesis, and at the bottom,
the Super Nintendo. It’s time to look at Controls and Game Play We’ve already discussed the elephant in
the room regarding the tug of war mechanic. Placing that aside, I can’t see another
reason a person could legitimately complain about here unless they are comparing these
games of ones of a much later era. I never had an issue executing the moves I wanted
in the manner I wanted, and thanks to the difficulty meter of 1-10, I could find a sweet
spot to ensure the game was fair and balanced for my personal capabilities. This remains
true across all versions, I really don’t have anything contrary to say as the developer
really did a great job of executing their vision, and it works as intended. With that
said, there’s no separation between them, so this segment is a draw. Next up is Extras
Well, There’s not much to distinguish the SNES and Mega Drive release, so they are tied
for seconded. Even if you don’t feel it’s fair, there needs to be a baseline, and this
is it. Neither games offered anything unique over the other, making this a wash. 
In first is the 32X. The biggest addition is the hidden character Kwang. He’s not
a complete package as he barrows his finishers from other wrestlers though on the flip side,
he does have his own music and is a nice addition to the roster. There are also the additions
mentioned in the visual section, which I won’t rehash here. It may not sound like a lot, but enough to
clearly distance the 32X from the others. Before we get to the final recommendations,
let’s discuss the HANDHELDS. I had never played Raw on a handheld before
this video, but had played Steel Cage Challenge, which released on the NES in ’92, then the
Game Gear and Master System in 93. It’s a game that’s quite serviceable considering
the platforms. In my opinion, picking up a game developed a couple years later for the
same platforms should, at a minimum, maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, the experience
delivered is rather shocking as both the Game Gear and Game Boy release don’t pass muster
for what I would even consider a favorable tech demo. They are uninspired visually and
painfully slow in the gameplay department. The Game Gear only has a couple wrestling
games to start with and this is clearly the worst of them all. The game boy version is
just as bad. There’s no winner here, so just move along as better wrestling games
exist, and when I say better, I mean these are both bad games, so the bar is set low. It’s time for my final recommendations.
Final Recommendations I’m going to change things up a bit here
and include all the games in the quadrilogy, though for Super Wresltmania and Royal Rumble,
I’ll only be including the best version of those releases. So is Super WrestleMania on Mega Drive or
Rage in the Cage on Sega CD the worse game of the bunch? When it comes to Super WrestleMania.
There’s nothing really wrong with it. It’s a game I played in my youth having put in
100’s of hours over the years. Unfortunately, it’s a bit shallow in the features department.
We need to answer the question, is it more shallow that the Sega CD release? Well, Rage
in the Cage has a massive roster and improved audio, which doesn’t lean on the red book
format. Both welcome additions. The biggest hang-up is a lack of expected baseline modes.
It’s the third release in the series, but in some ways gives the player fewer options
than Super Wrestlemania. There’s no Tag Team or Survivor series here, making it quite
the disappointment once you dive in because it’s so darn close to being something special.
The added roster doesn’t mean much where there are few things to do with the given wrestlers.
The added Cage match is poorly executed as well, so Rage in the Cage comes in 6th while
Super WrestleMania on Genesis comes in 5th. In fourth is Royal Rumble on SNES. It’s
essentially an expansion of Super Wrestlemania, which offers it’s own unique and quality
modes. There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been covered, and clearly, the ranking
at this point is what you most likely were anticipating. Determining the outcome of the battle for
the top three spots is interesting as one thing becomes clear. Any version of Raw is
preferable to any other game in the quadrilogy. The game is good on the SNES, Genesis and
32x. Honestly, just get the version that’s most accessible to you because the line that
separates them, especially the Genesis and SNES, is really only visible when playing
these back to back to back. The Mega Drive takes second with the SNES
in third. The Genesis smoother animation and slightly better framerate is the deciding
factor here. Overall, the development of both versions was well done and they are for all
intents and purposes the same game. With that, the 32X takes the top spot. One
new wrestler, a welcome upgrade in the visual presentation, and the best audio of the series
make this a winner. If you absolutely demand a step-up in frame rate, then the Genesis
is the version you should obtain without question. For everyone else, this shortfall is so mild,
anyone not analyzing each game back to back would be hard-pressed to notice. In the end,
One thing is clear, WWF Raw isn’t just the best WWF game on a fourth-generation console.
It’s one of the best wrestling games of that era. A game that’s unfairly dismissed
without any real merit. If you’re looking for a fighting game with wrestlers in it,
go ahead and pick up WWF Wrestlemania the Arcade game. However, if you’re looking
for a wrestling game featuring icons of the ear which attempts to emulate the tv experience,
then this is it. That’s if for this episode, and as always,
thank you! For watching Retro Impressions.

38 thoughts on “WWE / WWF Wrestling 4th Generation Games – A Definitive Analysis. Raw, Super WrestleMania Ect.

  1. JENNOVI SIR….you are as a channel considered – "A Hidden Gem….with 500MEGA POOOWWWEERRRR!!!"

  2. I had that Japanese girl wrestling game – a mate of mines dad imported a jap megadrive before uk release – his son – Gary Wilcox (died sadly at 18 of heroin overdose keep reading to understand signs) – used to sell me his Japanese games for cheap and opened up the carts leavin the psbs to play on my uk megadrive. I had aleste, twin cobra, strider, magical hat turbo adventure (localised and different graphics for outside jap release called decap attack) golden axe, and many others plus that womans wrestling game by asmik which i never knew the name of and nobody has ever covered accept you….so thanx jenovi!

  3. The woman announcing in the 32x version looks like Sherri Martel: A former women's champion, she was briefly feuding with Luna, although not as a wrestler by this point.
    Moolah would have had dyed red hair, and she wasn't really a factor during this period of time.

  4. I always thought this games got a bad rap. Me and my buddy would beat the hell out of a wrestler for like 30 minutes after we could of pinned him so we could "end his career". I mainly played SNES Royal Rumble but I would of loved Raw/RitC.

  5. I like wwf royal rumble for the snes and wwf wrestlemania for the genesis because of the ultimate warrior my favorite wrestler of all-time

  6. I had the Sega version of Royal Rumble as a kid, and can always remember discovering a bug where you could never have a Lex Luger Vs Crush one on one match in the game, it would constantly crash the game.

    But I did love (and buy all the games) was so excited for Super Wrestlemania as a kid, I imported a US copy and sawed the sides off so it would fir in my PAL SNES. Didn't work though >.>

    Also, there's some great artifacts for an never included additional character in boh Royal Rumble games (might have been Acclaim's much loved "You" character in WWF games) and the 32X Raw also had Kwang as a final boss.

  7. Its been a long week here at work i am currently i am on my lunch break watching jenovi! This made my day ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

  8. The female announcer on Raw is supposed to be Stephanie Wiand, who was the co-host for WWF Mania at the time. Kind of a forgotten personality and weird that they put her commentating with Gorilla Monsoon, but I believe I've seen this confirmed elsewhere. Neither Moolah or Sherri were commentators.

  9. Accidentally running into guard rails and suplexing opponents too close to the ropes made for some hilarious fails when playing with a friend or two

  10. Great vid. These always felt so ropey because I wanted something that resembled the Technos arcades, but I still played them a lot because there was nothing else.

  11. Royal Rumble is the only game you need. Royal Rumble was awesome!! I loved bashing people with chairs. Hey Iโ€™m in this video, crazy! ๐Ÿ˜œ

  12. As a fan of video games and wrestling this is probably the best comparison yet. I may have missed it but aside from the 32x winning in audio it has the updated Luger them. Also I agree the game gear version isn't so much fun it does offer special moves compared to Gameboy.

  13. I beleive the women announcing in the 32X version is Stephanie Wyant, who was hosting WWF Mania with Todd Pettingal at the time (late 94 to 95)

  14. This was awesome, I really like the category screens you made that resemble the Sega 90s branding, welcome to the next level!

  15. You're shitting me. I loved the Genesis soundtrack for Raw. :'(
    Also, still don't understand why you didn't include Wrestlemania the Arcade Game. Sure, it's different, but I think it's similar enough — similar enough at least that I'll play Raw and Mania Arcade interchangeably when I have friends over that want to play a wwf genesis game.

    Anyway, sorry for my nitpicking. Nice video. Hooked me with the really well-done "unreleased" 32x videos. Am liking the other stuff on the channel. Surprised you don't have more subs. Wish I had discovered your channel sooner.

    Also, could've sworn the announcer opposite Jerry Lawler was supposed to be Vince McMahon, but I might be mixing it up with Wrestlemania Arcade. It was definitely mentioned in one of the manuals for those two games.

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