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Monday, September 10, 2012

Royal Rumble Review

Original Release:

Game Details:
1-4 Players
VMU enabled
Standard Controller, Arcade Stick
Jump Pak enabled

Royal Rumble is a arcade wrestling game by the collaborative efforts of Sega and developer Yuke's that debut in 2000 and ultimately released on the Dreamcast by THQ in the same year. The game's moniker is based on the popular WWE Pay Per View annual event of the same name. This game bares the distinction of currently being the final arcade game to be released under the WWF/WWE franchise. The game supports two main modes of play, Exhibition (typical fighting game 8 to10 man ladder tournament), but with a strange twist where a secondary wrestler is chosen, acting as a partner whose actions are controlled via a 3 assist type system ala Marvel vs Capcom 2, Also in this mode, the game spontaneously transports you to various locations in the arena for some bizarre yet admittedly chaotic fun even its feels so random. The other mode is Royal Rumble which is the main attraction of the game as it supports up to a total of 9 wrestlers in the ring at one time (although keep in mind that only 4 out of those 9 can ever be actual players). The game employs a similar grapple system reminiscent of the early SmackDown series which was making waves around that time (also a development of Yuke's), catering to a very simple pick up and play mechanic that can be easily adopted by any gamer regardless of skill type.


The original product was a game fostered from the Sega NAOMI arcade hardware. With that said, its a bit disappointing to say that the visuals of Royal Rumble aren't some best seen on the popular hardware or what many have come to expect from it. The character models seem to have lackluster details aside from the character facial models which look the part at best and the arenas feel a bit dull... definitely lacking in graphical detail. The lighting is just a bit too much and can get annoying rather quickly thanks to those camera flash effects from the crowd. The game appears to run at an unshakable 30 FPS even when the maximum amount of wrestlers are occupying the screen at once. The game looks rather decent running through a VGA signal but nothing special compared to what other Dreamcast games can produce in this respect. But it's not all bad in this category, The game is as close to arcade accurate as one can get on a Dreamcast thanks to the shared tech behind both platforms.

Nothing particularly noteworthy here. No commentary, but its does have some terrible guitar rifts theme music that grows old a bit too quick. Crowd chants get loud and obnoxious over time, although having the crowd groan in pain unison to when someone is hit with a low blow is a definite nice touch! Run of the mill audio effects for attacks and slams...

Wouldn't it have been AMAZING if this game supported the Dreamcast VS link cable for 8 player simultaneous play in Royal Rumble mode!!!
In any event, while my comments in each category for this review may come off as a bit negative or harsh, the game in the end somehow redeems itself as one heck of fun arcade wrestling game that is as fun to play among friends as any other 4 player game on the Dreamcast as it is to watch as random insanity is sure to unfold. The game really takes me back to such classic arcade wrestling classics as WrestleFest and WrestleMania thanks to its simple learning curve and  friendly arcade multiplayer.


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