Total time played: 1 hour
Short review: LJN missed an opportunity to use the WWF license to finally make a decent game. I didn’t think the bar could be lowered from WWF Wrestlemania Challenge, but I was wrong.
Interesting links related to WWF Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge
I didn’t expect that LJN would drop the ball again two years after the release of the extremely mediocre WWF Wrestlemania Challenge. Surely they heard customer complaints about the previous game and had time to make improvements.
The sprites in this game are smaller and more indistinct than the previous game, there is no music playing during the matches, the controls are horrendous and I never really felt like I was in control of my character. Just grapple your opponent and mash the A button as fast as possible and then tap B to body slam, repeat until your opponent has lost all life and then pin them by pressing B+Down.
I had to look up in the manual how to pin my opponent and also how to get up when you get knocked down (mash the A button faster than you thought possible). The controls are not intuitive and the game is easy enough that you never need to fight outside the ring or jump from the top rope. Just punch, kick, body slam until you win.
It took me probably 6 playthroughs to finally beat the game. I found every opponent to be the same difficulty except sometimes one opponent would be extremely hard and I would lose all of my lives on him. The difficult opponent was always different, sometimes it was the first fight, sometimes the 2nd, etc. But, I finally got lucky and on the run where I beat the game every character let me beat them into submission. Every third match takes place inside the steel cage. The only difference with this match is you can’t leave the ring or bounce off the ropes. I never did these things anyway so it played the same as the regular matches to me. To win in the steel cage you can either pin your opponent or climb to the top of the cage while your opponent is on the ground.
As Rowdy Roddy Piper died yesterday I played this game in his honor and played using his character and made him the WWF champion.
The only place this game succeeded over its predecessor was by featuring more of the wrestlers you know and love but Ultimate Warrior was no longer in the game which is a shame as he was always my favorite growing up.
If you want to play a wrestling game on the NES I still say Pro Wrestling is the only choice.