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Legends of Wrestlemania Preview

Duke_Ferris By:
GENRE Wrestling 
T Contains Blood, Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

What you lack in this business is ruthless aggression.

It is the eve of the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania. Has it really been that long? Are the icons of my youth so faded? Well, despite gray hair and messy divorces, Legends of Wrestlemania proves that they have not. In fact, after playing the game at THQ's headquarters in Los Angeles, it seemed that my memory was the most faded thing around.

click to enlargeSure, we all remember Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, but playing Legends was just one “Oh yeah! That guy!” moment after another. If pressed, I would have also come up with Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake the Snake, and the Iron Sheik. But do you remember the Honky Tonk Man? Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka? Ravishing Rick Rude? If you came up with Koko B. Ware without a hint, you have a serious obsession, and you probably already pre-ordered the game. Because from Big Bossman to Sgt. Slaughter, everyone you remember (or don't) is in the game.

And not just the wrestlers, either - the flamboyant, conniving “managers” from classic wrestling cheat from the ringside just as in days of yore. Get too close to antagonistic manager Jimmy Hart and he'll shout in your ear with his megaphone. Getting pinned? Perhaps a friendly Mr. Fuji will reach in and put your leg up on the rope. And Paul Bearer is still just creepy.

click to enlargeHowever, Legends is no Smackdown vs. RAW sim. Controls have been simplified to make it more accessible to the masses (and, frankly, to me). Strikes and grapples are simple button presses, and reversals are simple timing races between you and your opponent.

The wrestlers are idealized as well. Andre the Giant was never quite that cut, and Hulk Hogan looks a bit like He-Man with even more preposterously huge “pythons”. Legends is all about pure fantasy and nostalgia. Even so, there's plenty of reality here to with tons and tons of highlights from classic wrestling footage. Awesome.

So until Wrestlemania XXV comes around next month (look for me, I'll be in the skybox next to Linda McMahon's), I'll just have to make do with Legends. And while you're waiting, you can check out Sgt. Slaughter and me demanding a rematch from Hogan in the video below. Yes, the real Sgt. Slaughter.

More GR previews for this game:
Legends of Wrestlemania preview posted on 03/19/09.

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