By the time the Nintendo 64 was on its way out EB Games / Gamestop or whatever it was called back then was putting a bunch of Nintendo 64 games on clearance. I was used to paying 50 to 60 dollars per game so when I was able to get games for a few bucks at most I got as many as I could. Many games that I wanted but found it hard to get the money or justify the cost like Jet Force Jemini and Hey You Pikachu were bought. But I also spent some money on a bunch of WCW games, by then I really wasn’t as much into wrestling anymore and I had never been a huge fan of WCW but they were the cheapest games there since they basically classified as annual sports games so I got them all.
I was surprised to find that two of them were exactly the same as the WWF games I used to love. I then found out that before they had the WWF license they made games with the WCW one. These games being released years before WWF No Mercy the gameplay is far from polished as the games eventually became, you can immediately see all the improvements the sequels made as they feel rough. Nevertheless it’s definitely the same gameplay that you loved even if it had yet to reach their best version. What really made them cool to play after playing the superior sequels was that you could finally play as the WCW roster without having to go to create a wrestler mode and make your WCW wrestlers on CAW in the WWF AKI games.
The first game AKI released was WCW vs NWO World Tour and you can definitely tell it’s the first game as it is the simplest though I guess there was the Playstation game WCW vs The World which was technically the first game but I’m not counting it since it still looks a bit different and it wasn’t on the Nintendo 64. The simplicity translates to the intro that only lasts a little bit and just shows off a bit of game play and not much else, AKI really went a long way from this bare bones intro to the other ones.
The second game was WCW / NWO Revenge and here things start to pick up, the game still looks a little simple in design of arenas and whatnot but it actually works for it as WCW always had similar dark low budget looking arenas when compared to the WWF. The intro this time however is much more ambitious, it tries to tell a story and it’s actually a fairly long intro which ends up being its main problem. As cool as they tried to make it, it just drags for too long and it doesn’t have the snappy music to make it work but they definitely tried to make their own little storyline here, sadly it wasn’t perfected until they had the WWE license.
Japan also did have their own version of the WCW game in Japan and that was Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, the intro however is even more bare bones than the WCW ones and that’s saying a lot. It would still be fun to get to play these games just to see different wrestlers in the same engine but then again I’d have no idea who they actually are. Will we ever get another wrestling game from AKI that was like the N64 ones? I doubt it but we can dream. I’m still sad the roster updated WWF No Mercy Virtual Console release that was rumored in the early Wii days was apparently false.