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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Acclaim

 

Developer

Acclaim Austin

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2004

 

 

- Better looking than previous Legends of Wrestling titles
- Historical matches
- Loads of wrestlers
- Multiplayer matches

 

 

- Horrendous collision problems
- Repetitive commentary
- No Xbox Live
- AI is pretty easy to stomp on

 

 

Interview: Showdown Legends of Wrestling Q&A

Review: Legends of Wrestling (GC)

Review: Def Jam Vendetta (GC)

 

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Showdown: Legends of Wrestling

Score: 5.8 / 10

 

showdown review         showdown review

 

The dust has finally settled and I can accept that Legends of Wrestling: Showdown didn’t live up to my expectations.

Looking back on my expectations, I realize they weren’t that high to start with, so the fact Showdown couldn’t even meet those is really saying something. All that I wanted was for Showdown to exceed the previous titles in the Legends of Wrestling series. (Admittedly, I did like the first one, mostly because it was so darn nostalgic.) Showdown does excel in a number of areas but those are mostly cosmetic. Showdown fails in the gameplay and technical departments.

Foremost, Showdown features a huge roster of old-school wrestlers from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, including Andre the Giant, Terry Funk, Diamond Dallas Page, Ultimate

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Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Owen Hart, wildcard Andy Kaufman, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts (whom I can’t disassociate from the documentary, “Beyond the Mat.”) The developers did a great job capturing likenesses and the plasticized look of the previous titles has been overhauled. The wrestlers are better than ever and lending a

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touch of authenticity to the proceedings is commentating from Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Larry Zbysko and Tony Schiovane, and a tutorial narrated by Bret “The Hitman” Hart.

The play modes are generally standard with Showdown Challenge (“story” mode), Tournament, Tag Team, and Classic Match.

For fans, Classic Match is likely to receive a lot of attention. During a Classic Match, you’re thrown into historical wrestling matches and challenged to change the outcome. A definite highlight for me is the Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant match at Wrestlemania III.

Showdown Challenge gives you the chance to fight through three decades of wrestling, starting in the ‘70s. There are five matches in each era, win them all and get the lamest reward in recent gaming memory. It’s not much of an incentive, particularly when I word it like that but it seems a whole lot of nothing for putting up with Showdown’s liabilities.

 

showdown review          showdown review


The liabilities start with collision detection that borders on horrendous. Maybe the most critical aspect of a wrestling game is making sure that a thrown punch will make contact with a nearby opponent. With Showdown it’s not uncommon to smack an opponent from across the ring. There’s a long list of examples of Showdown’s problems in this regard, like invisible walls outside the ring that can freeze your wrestler on the spot – none of them should have passed the QA Testing phase. Although the animations are mostly great individually, during the course of a match it’s not uncommon to see animations skip like a record or be completely mismatched for each wrestler. It’s jarring and almost negates the upgraded wrestler models (particularly when limbs pass through bodies).

Due to the animation and collision issues (particularly when you have more than two wrestlers in the ring), sometimes the control can be a chore because you’re timing will be off. Overall, the control scheme is simple to use – maybe too simple for hardcore wrestling fans. Press a button and a direction with the stick and execute a move; it’s pretty easy. And if you don’t have a clue to begin with, there are on-screen cues (that can be turned off) to make learning moves dead easy.

The audio is hit and miss. The sound effects are right on – loud and realistic. However, the rest of the audio design is so-so or bad. The commentating, although informative, gets repetitive in the first five minutes; signature tunes don’t live up to the expectation created by Showdown’s opening cinematic.

Though Showdown includes a Create-a-Legend option, it doesn’t feel robust enough but it’s far from bad. There are lots of options to tweak (right down to body hair!) for you attempt to create wrestlers that weren’t included in the game.

Is Showdown: Legends of Wrestling a complete write-off? Not in this writer’s opinion.

The downsides are hard to ignore (or even tolerate sometimes), but the fun multiplayer, huge roster of wrestlers, and better-looking graphics than previous installments, make it a weekend rental for a hit of wrestling nostalgia, rather than an outright purchase.

- Omni
(August 7, 2004)

 

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