The Wrestling boom of the turn of infected everywhere, from young to old. Especially on the playground where the costumed theatrics captured the imaginations of all ages. Taking the excitement to said playgrounds was a desirable proposition, one that many wrestling promotions were willing to capitalise on. In the year 2000, the video game debut of E.C.W. offered a portable option to take the action on the road. A Game Boy Color version, offering a more direct route to the action in E.C.W. Hardcore Revolution.
The menu is deceptively spartan; From the options available you can expect your standard gameplay modes to be included. The cartridge comes with a VS mode that does exactly what it says on the tin, letting two wrestlers duke it out. But for those wanting to practice, there is a useful tutorial mode that has you play against an opponent of your choosing, one that is standing still. A career mode that has you working your way up with a wrestler of your choice along with a Challenge Mode. Your wrestler takes on the remaining nine, retaining the damage from each match. Outside said mode, there is also the ability to create a barbed wire match directly is a nice addition, rounding up the options in-store.
As you can imagine, Simplicity is at the heart of the Game Boy Colour port of E.C.W. The roster has been simplified due to the limited cartridge space. None of the women wrestlers are available to play and compared to the console editions the selectable stars are smaller. Still, most of the big names are here, and willing to be played. There is some variation with the arenas and rings including how packed the audience is. The music is standard for the time, with the matches going practically straight into the action, there’s hardly time for elaborate entrances.
The art of wrestling on the Game Boy Colour is also forthright, you and your opponent both have a health bar, and the closer it is to red, the more likely you are to get counted out in a pin submission. This can recover, so wailing on your opponent is encouraged. The controls handle unassumingly too, make this process more straightforward. Punch with A, kick with B, you can go in straight to the pin with relative ease and subsequently rolling out of pins with the directional pad. It will take you no time to learning effective combinations and climbing the ropes to performing diving drops. Often, you will find random items inside the ring for you to violently utilise, and with no referee to confiscate, you can inflict some damage. Altogether offering an easy to play, fun to master experience.
I have talked previously about the limitations of porting certain games to portable hardware, and the circumstances are no different for the E.C.W., still Acclaim and co. manage to put together a portable package that is a breeze to get into. It does not take a lot to get in a get going on a blood and guts soirée, with all the big hitters and a myriad of ways for them to hit. For a portable dose of extreme wrestling, you cannot go wrong with E.C.W.
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