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WWF Attitude (Dreamcast)
MSRP: $19.99
Number of Players: 1-4
Developer: Iguana
Publisher: Acclaim

Rating:
**1/2
out of
*****

I've been a wrestling videogame fan longer than I've been a fan of wrestling. Back in the late 80's, I used to skip class to play Mat Mania at the local arcade. It was a crude, 2D game with fictional wrestlers, but I loved it anyway. Today's wrestling games are much improved in terms of graphics, but the gameplay hasn't exactly followed suit. WWF Attitude, which was previously released on the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, has come to the Dreamcast and is a prime example of the graphics vs. gameplay discrepancy.

Featuring a Spring, 1999 WWF roster, the game includes wrestlers like Jeff Jarrett (who now wrestles for WCW), Owen Hart (who was tragically killed at the Over the Edge pay-pay-view), and Sable (who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the WWF and left). If you're looking to play as Chris "Y2J" Jericho, Rakishi Phatu, or Tazz, you're not going to find them here. (But you could try to make them via the game's "Create-A-Wrestler" option, which I'll explain in a bit.) However, if you want the big stars like The Rock, Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chyna, HHH, and X-Pac, they're all here, along with other hidden wrestlers.

When the game was released for the PlayStation and N64, one of the biggest complaints about it was the difficulty in pulling off the wrestlers' featured moves. Unfortunately, the same is true of the Dreamcast version. Moves are performed by tapping the D-pad a few times along with hitting the proper button. The game is very unforgiving in terms of the time allowed for you to perform all but the simplest maneuvers. So, basically matches will boil down to a series of punches, kicks, and the occasional armbar. Slightly less often, you'll get the periodic vertical suplex or clothesline. If you're wrestling as The Rock, you can equate the frequency of pulling off "The People's Elbow" with sightings of Bigfoot. It happens, but not very often...and usually when no one's there to document it. Somehow, though, the matches tend to be fun, if a little frustrating. Getting your wrestler to tag out in tag-team match or climbing the steel cage to win a cage match prove to be very difficult when they shouldn't be. Otherwise, its fun to see if you can pull out a victory despite the odds.

It's a shame that the game is so hard to control, because it is a relatively good-looking game. Now, keep in mind that WWF Attitude for the Dreamcast is essentially a port of the N64 version. The graphics in no way push the Dreamcast's hardware. There are polygon seam problems, collision detection problems and other visual clues that the Dreamcast version of the game was not programmed to take advantage of the hardware's capabilities. Still, the game manages to recreate the visual experience of a wrestling TV show with some degree of success. The wrestlers themselves are rendered fairly well. Although the newer WWF Smackdown for the PlayStation looks better, the Dreamcast Attitude gives each wrestler a good on-screen representation.

The sound effects and music are also adequate, without leaning too much towards being awful or outstanding. Decidedly average is a good way of describing them. The entrance music for each wrestler is good, even though some of the themes are no longer used by the individual wrestlers. The commentary, provided by Jerry "The King" Lawler and Shane McMahon, is fairly lame. Basically, they react to moves with generic responses like, "A lot of height on that one!" or "The Undertaker's getting killed out there!" Whoopee.

The aforementioned "Create-A-Wrestler" option is probably the game's centerpiece attraction. This option allows the player to construction his/her own grappler to take part in the action. The player can choose the wrestler's size, proportions, skin color, hair color, hair style, clothing, tattoos, accessories, entrance music, moves, and more. One could spend an entire afternoon simply putting it all together. After the creation is complete, the wrestler can be entered into the game's career mode, which tracks a wrestler's progress from house shows to pay-per-view events. There's also a "Create-A-Pay-Per-View" option that allows the gamer to set up an entire event, including the matches, arena style, rope color, event name, banner signs and more.

All-in-all, there's nothing about the Dreamcast version of WWF Attitude that makes it superior to the PlayStation or Nintendo 64 versions. The graphics may be a bit better, but not by any sizable margin. If you've already purchased one of the two previous versions and like it, stick with it. If you're a Dreamcast owner and a wrestling fan, you may be tempted to run out and buy this one. Slow down. Rent it first. You may find the game's finicky control scheme and glitchy collision detection more frustrating than fun.

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