There is an underlying certainty in sports, things change; players get better or retire, change teams. In professional wrestling, this is exemplified, with expanding gimmicks, or long-lasting injuries, so a yearly upgrade is to be expected. In 2000, right after the release of their debut game E.C.W. presented their follow-up and ultimate installment before their bankruptcy in E.C.W. Anarchy Rulz.
Anarchy follows in the footsteps of the E.C.W.s previous game, So those who played the first game will quickly take to the ropes here. Creating exhibition matches with any combination of wrestlers or take on the Career mode that has you climbing the ladder of matches with increasing difficulty to take the championship belts and maintain your titles. You can once again create your pay-per-views to live out your dream matches.
Anarchy Rulz brings the heat with many more game modes available to explore and book dream matches to your heart’s content. With the mainstay from the original being retained and, in some instances, enhanced for more combinations of wrestlers or stipulations. The addition of stables is a nice feature, further improved by allowing the player to create their own, complete with name, theme song and logo. This is also felt in the stable career mode where four wrestlers of your choice can face off against the established teams of the E.C.W.’s final years. The new modes such as Hate Matches (15 on one match), Table matches, Backlot Brawl with a new backlot arena to boot, further expanding the opportunities for carnage.
The package has more added to it than wrestling improvements. For instance, I like the atheistic of the menus, a drastic change from the purple accents of the E.C.W. logo, to a more industrial rusted aesthetic, the kind that looks like a Nine Inch Nails album cover. There is a Bio mode that serves as a virtual trophy display for any of the wrestlers you have made progress with, as well as a kind of virtual compendium of the Promotion, with each wrestler’s theme playing as you peruse their stats and victories. Speaking of the option to create a wrestler returns, as do the jobbers, and with some slight variations, most of the promotion’s roster is here. Many of their themes return too or legal distinct soundalikes because of licensing issues. A multiplayer component to each of these allows you to bring a partner if you are so inclined, you and a buddy can battle it out.
As the final chapter in the franchise’s short-lived attempt at a video game line, E.C.W. has shown much in the way of improvement. Incrementally building on Hardcore Revolution, Anarchy Rulz to bring this progress to the homes of fans. Whether jumping into an increasingly extreme match up or simulate that dream feud, E.C.W.’s Anarchy Rulz is a title that returns the organised chaos of professional wrestling to the home console.
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