C&VG1st June 1988
Published in Computer & Video Games #80
Micro League Wrestling
Professional wrestling in America is even more farcial that it is over here; completely controlled by the Mob, it consists of enormous bruisers in golden capes pretending to throw each other around the ring while they try to work out the tax advantages of registering as a corporation. Microprose's Micro League Wrestling captures all the skill and sportsmanship of the game - that is to say, there isn't any.
Rather than try to create a test of skill and timing, like Melbourne's Rock 'N Wrestle, Microprose has, typically, created a strategic simulation. Now, if you ask me, wrestling isn't much to do with strategy; the aim should be to out-fight your opponent, not think him into unconsciousness.
The game is presented in the format of a television broadcast, so before you play you have to sit through inane conversations between the wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage (do you believe that?) and the sports presenters.
The pictures of the fighters are digitised from TV, but for some reason they're presented in a sepia tint which makes them look like 1930s photographs. The aim of the game - once you actually get into it - is to outfight your opponent by working out his weaknesses and choosing the correct fighting move to exploit them.
On each side of the screen are lists of ten available offensive moves, and a defensive option. Selecting one from the list with joystick, mouse or keyboard, you press the fire button, wait to see your opponent's response, then the digitised images on the screen lurch into action, performing (or failing to perform) the selected move.
At the bottom of the screen are the commentators, who come up with more inane comments like "This is real wrestling!" and "Two holds don't make a match!" You can select the length of the bout before starting. I could only bear the shortest match - ten minutes - although you can opt for up to sixty minutes. Power and Damage counters change according to the success of your moves, and the better your position, the more chance you have of carrying out difficult moves. Each character has his own "super move", such as a flying kick or a double elbow smash, which is difficult to pull off but which scores plenty of damage points.
If you are in dire straits, you can boost your energy by calling on the support of the crowd. This only works once, so it's not to be wasted.
Once you've defeated Randy "Macho Man" Savage, you can move on to other intellectual giants such as Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff. I doubt if you'll want to bother.
Micro League Wrestling is a bit of a turkey for several reasons. Firstly, since none of the wrestlers are famous over here, all the macho bull before the match is a complete waste of time.
Secondly, the digitised pictures are so bad - obviously more so on the C64 than the ST - that half the time you can't make out what's supposed to be going on!
Thirdly, the sound effects are dire; a constant sea-like hiss of white noise representing the crowd, and a "plonk" each time someone gets clobbered.
Fourthly, though there may be some skill involved in selecting the right moves, it would be much more satisfying if you could control the actions of the characters in real-time, as you can with more conventional combat games. Drop-kick this one straight out of the ring.