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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Sega 32X Reviews W-Z

Grade: C-

screenshotAfter reviewing WWF Royal Rumble (Genesis, 1993), WWF Raw gave me a bad case of deja-vu. It feels like the same game, only with a flashier intro and some minor new tweaks. Even with the new coat of paint however, this one isn't likely to resonate with any gamers outside of die-hard wrestling fans.

The twelve-man roster includes 1-2-3 Kid, Bam Bam Bigelow, Diesel, Doink, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Lex Luger, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, the Undertaken, and Yokozuna. Perhaps most interesting is the inclusion of female wrestler Luna Vachon, who slugs it out with the guys (and looks like one too). The clown Doink really freaks me out with that creepy circus music of his (not to mention his face).

Unlike the "other" 32X WWF game, WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (Acclaim, 1995), Raw is pretty complex. So much so that the manual includes a matrix of moves for each wrestler. The six-button controller only tends to complicate things since the instructions need to specify how to perform moves with either controller.

The action gets repetitive but you have to give the game credit for incorporating an astonishing number of moves. There are even "illegal" moves like behind-the-back chokeholds. Hell - you can beat up the damn referee! Not only is there a folding chair conveniently sitting ringside, but also a medical pack that comes in handy for beating your opponent over the head with.

One thing that slows the action to a crawl is the "tie-up" system. When two fighters lock arms, a meter appears and the player who taps buttons fastest wins. Not only is this physically tiresome, but more often than not it simply ends in a draw. Lengthy matches combined with frequent button-mashing can take its toll on your hands.

That said, Raw is a step up from Rumble. The graphics are more colorful and up to four players can battle at once. I like the variety of pins, including the familiar one in which you hold your opponent's leg up. New modes include two-on-two "bedlam" and an "endurance" match. Casual gamers will find WWF Raw positively exhausting, but WWF fans can bump up the grade by a letter. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game
Grade: B-
Publisher: Acclaim (1995)
Posted: 2023/9/14
Rating: Kids to Adults (Realistic violence)

screenshotAfter reviewing several 16-bit wrestling games, WrestleMania: The Arcade Game is a shock to the system. Realistic wrestling games can feel laborious, but this game has ADHD! It's WWF Royal Rumble (Genesis, 1993) meets Mortal Kombat (Genesis, 1993) meets NBA Jam (SNES, 1992). Each fast-and-furious contest is a whirlwind of fanciful attacks and physics-defying stunts.

Eight WWF fighters are included: the Undertaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, Doink the Clown, Leg Lugar, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Razor Ramon, and Shawn Michaels. The characters have been digitized to show off their patented moves and mannerisms, including flexing and showboating.

Each match begins with a mini-intro of your wrestler running in to meet his opponent amidst a sea of camera flashes. What is this - a 100-meter dash?! He should be strutting and galavanting around.

The fighters look realistic but the action is anything but! The matches unfold at a dizzying pace and never slow down. Striking an opponent may cause objects like hearts, ice cubes, or birds to pour forth from his chest. Heavy attacks include wacking your opponent with a magical baseball bat or giant hammer. When jumping from the turnbuckle, you'll home in on your opponent like a heat-seeking missile!

The Mortal Kombat-inspired controls (two punches, two kicks) are simple to grasp and highly responsive. You can execute crazy combos of 12 hits or more. With no tie-ups, the action is pretty much non-stop. When your opponent's health is depleted you pin him automatically. After playing so many games where the pin button was either hard-to-find or unresponsive, I can appreciate that.

What I don't like is the best-of-three match format. It really undermines the satisfaction of a brutal beat-down when you turn around and your opponent suddenly returns for another round, good as new. As in Mortal Kombat, you keep playing until you lose. I guess your score is your consecutive wins, but after four you start having to face two opponents at the same time, which is ridiculous.

WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game lives up to its name and is a pleasant surprise compared to WWF Raw (32X, 1995). It's quite entertaining, especially with fans reacting in the crowd. That said, at some point you have to wonder if this manic slugfest should even qualify as professional wrestling. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

World Series Baseball
Grade: B+
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2002/5/28

screenshotThis game proves what most of us have known all-along: there's not much difference between a 32X and a regular Genesis. Sega tried to make this game a step up from the Genesis version, but besides some minor cosmetic changes, the game is practically identical. The enhanced color palette allows the stadiums to look a bit better, with more colorful backgrounds and crowds. The pitches now make a "whooshing" sound on their way to plate, and seem to move slower. When a ball is hit to an outfielder, the camera sometimes zooms in on the fielder. It looks pretty cool, but has little more than novelty value. The biggest disappointment is the sound - or lack of it! There's less commentary than other versions of the game, and the crowd is practically silent. Most of the new features of this 32X version, like multiplayer options and player trades, were incorporated into World Series 96 on the Genesis. Yes, this World Series game is better than its Genesis counterparts, but only slightly. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

Zaxxon Motherbase 2000
Grade: D-
Publisher: Sega (1995)
Posted: 2000/5/13

screenshotWhen I first found out that a Zaxxon game was out for the 32X, I was giddy as a schoolgirl. The last time I had played Zaxxon was on a Colecovision in 1982. I always thought it was a cool game, and a sequel was long overdue. Imagine my disappointment when I realized this mediocre shooter wasn't really Zaxxon at all.

Yes, the 3D viewpoint is the same, but you can't elevate your ship (except to jump)! In an attempt to show-off the 32X polygon-rendering abilities, all objects in this game are 3D rendered. While the ships and bosses look fairly decent by 32X standards, the blockiness of the objects makes me wish they had just used old-fashion sprites. It doesn't even look as good as the original game!

And unfortunately, all the polygon graphics result in a busy screen with some annoying slowdown in the action. There are some cool gameplay concepts here, including the ability to commandeer enemy ships. But the screen area is limited, and the large bosses often squeeze you into an awkward corner of the screen. This Zaxxon is a real dud. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

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Screen shots courtesy of Shinforce, Video Game Museum, Mega CD Library, Moby Games, IQGamer