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WWF Betrayal

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Way Forward Technologies
Publisher:  THQ
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  9-10-01

One of the staples of the 8-bit era was the side-scrolling beat-emí up. While Double Dragon didnít invent the genre, it certainly set the precedent which others followed. Years later, THQ has attempted to revive the genre with WWF Betrayal.

The story is that youíre getting ready to win the WWF Heavyweight Championship whenever another wrestler interferes and costs you the title. As you go backstage to confront them, you run into Vince McMahon. He tells you that his daughter Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley has been kidnapped, and heíll re-instate you as WWF Champ if you can save her. Thus, you set off as one of four wrestlers (The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker or HHH) to save her.

As you probably already suspect, this game plays almost exactly like Double Dragon. You punch with "A", kick with "B", run by double tapping the d-pad, and drop kick by pressing "B" while running. If you walk over a weapon lying on the ground, you can pick it up and use it until youíre hit again. Whenever an opponent is stunned, youíll be able to perform that wrestlerís finishing move. Once you hit five different punches or kicks in a row, youíll fill up your power meter and be able to perform it on any opponent. Youíll find items that restore your health, such as apples and a piece of pie, in various destructible objects found within each level.

Thereís a reason this genre is pretty much dead these days, and thatís because it gets repetitive fairly quickly. Fundamentally itís sound, but Way Forward didnít really add anything to an already tired genre. If they wouldíve added additional wrestling moves to the mix (even semi-finishing moves arenít represented here) involving different button combinations, the gameplay couldíve been increased exponentially. The A.I. is also predictable, as each enemy will move in the same pattern all of the time. And since enemy types repeat often in a level, it isnít long before youíre unstoppable. Unfortunately they didnít choose to add any additional depth to the gameplay, and as a result combat is a very underwhelming experience.

In terms of graphics, this game doesnít offer much. The environments are your standard fare (in a parking garage, inside a building, etc.), and they all look well enough for a GBC game. The color palette is pretty limited however (even for the GBC), making the whole thing seem rather drab. Each of the four playable wrestlers is recognizable, although each has somewhat of a deformed look to them. Enemies look a lot like the enemies in every other game in this genre (industrial, urban look), although some of them resemble certain WWF superstars. Whether thatís intentional or not is hard to tell.

Quality-wise, the music is pretty good. However, the actual tunes become annoying quickly, not only because the tunes themselves are annoying but also because they can loop often in each level. The sound effects are average and what youíd expect from a Game Boy Color game (low quality with little variety).

So basically, youíve got repetitive gameplay with average graphics and sound. So why such a low final score? Simple, itís way too short. I started playing it at approximately 1pm and by 2:30pm I had already beaten the game. The game is short enough as it is, but the limited A.I. and predictable gameplay make it seem even shorter. Even an average gamer will find that the game is over far too quickly. Thereís really no additional motivation to beat the game with other wrestlers either, as itís the exact same storyline with different wrestler names and catch phrases inserted in the appropriate places.

Highs:

  • The WWF license.
  • Games in this genre arenít released often these days.

Lows:

  • Nothing new added to standard gameplay formula, resulting in quick boredom.
  • Itís over very quickly, with only six total levels.
  • Virtually no replay value, other than seeing different catch phrases.
  • Dull color palette.
  • Annoying music.

Final Verdict:

WWF Betrayal is a weak beat-em-up geared towards capitalizing on the WWF license. With such a profound lack of replay value, itís only worth it as a bargain bin title. And thatís if you love the WWF and the genre.

Overall Score: 3.4

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