Let’s be honest: at least in America, many of the professional wrestling games we got were mostly clones on 2D fighting games, and while some were decent, most were downright awful. In Japan, they go to enjoy the spoils of the Fire Pro Wrestling series (for more, read THIS), a FANTASTIC pro wrestling video game series, and for those here in the states who knew of the FPW games, we wondered when could we get our shot at the title (game title, that is). Well, after I got my PlayStation in 1998, one of the games I picked up at FuncoLand (remember them) was 1997’s “WCW Vs. The World,” and I WORE…THAT….GAME…OUT!
WCW vs. the World is known in Japan as the first game in the Virtual Pro-Wrestling series, and was first game developed by The Man Breeze (later renamed the AKI Corporation) to be released outside of Japan and the PlayStation’s second wrestling game after Power Move Pro Wrestling. It was also the first World Championship Wrestling video game released during the Monday Night Wars between WWF and WCW. The game uses an earlier version of AKI’s patented grapple-based fighting system (different from the aforementioned, typical 2D fighter clone style) and included various modes that were typical of Japanese pro wrestling, including: League Challenge, Best of Seven, Exhibition, Elimination, Tournament, League, Double Title, and ways to win/defend custom-made championship titles.
Another AKI wrestling game staple was the momentum-based “spirit meter,” first introduced in this game, replaced the traditional and linear energy bar. The game features 51 wrestlers, including the WCW/nWo roster and several “fictional” foreign wrestlers, most who were renamed counterparts of real-life Japanese wrestlers who, for copyright reasons, could not be properly represented in the game’s American version. I loved the variety of the game modes, the vast number of wrestlers to chose from, and was a huge step for 3D gaming in the mid-to-late 1990’s on the PlayStation and video gaming as a whole.