When I was a kid I had a close friend who was my main competition for video games. When we weren’t facing each other in Mortal Kombat, we were playing wrestling games. We were huge wrestling fans during the renowned Attitude Era and while we watched WWF (WWE), we were more WCW guys with starts like Sting and Hulk Hogan. A lot of our video game time was spent playing WWF Warzone (another game I plan to revisit) but our love for WCW brought us to WCW vs The World on PlayStation. I remember the late nights with soda and junk food and wrestled as our favorite stars until the sun came up. It was a game we lost many hours to and after a while we moved onto new things. It was never a game that made its way into my own library. That is, until now!
I recently picked up the game and was excited to relive those late nights and see if my memory lived up to the game I remembered fondly. The end result was a sort of mixed bag of emotions. The game looked, sounded, and felt almost exactly how I remembered it. The problem is these are the memories of a ten year old and not much of that holds up today. There are things to admire for sure, but WCW vs the World is really only a game worth revisiting for nostalgia. I went back to check out some reviews for the game when it originally came out and it was well received for its time, praised for its many match options and in depth gameplay, but everything about it nowadays seems shallow. To me, this game feels exactly what a wrestling game in a Japanese arcade would feel like in the late 90’s.
There are things I still enjoy about WCW vs the World. The simplistic graphics make the characters only slightly resemble their real life counterparts are kind of novel and the sound design is still a lot of fun. The game was one of the first released in the states from Japan that would go on to become AKI and create some of the best wrestling games ever made; the first being a WCW game released only later in the same year. Unlike a lot of older wrestling games I have revisited, this one is still very playable though it does come with a learning curve. The hit detection isn’t the greatest so working on your timing is key! There’s also a solid roster consisting of some of the biggest WCW stars at the time and even some Japanese wrestlers. While the wrestlers don’t look the greatest it was one of the first forays into a 3D wrestling game and the end result suffices and is appropriately entertaining. While all of this would probably be lost to newcomers, people who enjoyed this game in their youth may still find some enjoyment that same way I do, because while it has its issues, when you pull out a great win in this very arcade style game it can still be highly satisfying.