(EA Canada, December 15, 2000)

The WCW franchise was once one of the biggest names in video games. Games like WCW Thunder and WCW/NWO Revenge easily sold millions of copies worldwide. You would think now that a huge company like EA Sports would be able to make the best wrestler game ever, uh? Just look what they did for NFL football, NHL hockey, Fifa soccer, and many more. Sadly, this WCW game still runs of that awful WCW Mayhem engine. That means this Backstage Assault game has a lot of the problems that plagued EA's last wrestling game like poor graphics, awful animation, a serious lack of moves, and painfully long loading times. EA Sports did try to make a fun game of hardcore only wrestling (this is not ECW) but it ended up being boggled down by its many flaws instead.

Where's Glacier?

The game lets you pick from such former big WCW superstars like Booker T, Jeff Jarrett, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner, Sting, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, and many more. Some other WCW characters like Mike Awesome, Lance Storm, Chavo Geurrero Jr., and Sugar Shane Helms (also known as 'The Hurricane') need to be unlocked first by either using certain weapons, completing a game, or by doing something crazy to your opponent like lighting them on fire. Because the game is called WCW backstage Assault, there are only backstage Hardcore-like matches in the game and there is 'No Ring' to fight in, which is very weird to say the least. Most WWE games now have both a ring and several backstage rooms as well with tons of weapons like Trash cans, pipes all over the place.  A nice idea but a wrestling game without the ring is like a pizza without the crust.

"Looks like Slap Nuts!"

WCW BSA opens up with a great looking cinema that shows just how intense good wrestling can get, but it all down hill from there on. The in game graphics first off looks absolutely horrible! Why? The wrestlers themselves look extremely stiff and they always looked confused on what to do next. The animation is just awful compared to what have for today's WWE games. Usually if the game has weak animation then it an excuse to have more detailed wrestlers? NOT HERE! All of the wrestlers not only walk funny but they also don't come close to looking like the real thing. That guy in the game looks nothing like the real 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair and I don't remember seeing the 5 time WCW champ, Booker T, with such stumpy legs? To add insult to injury some of the backgrounds look very blurry and messy as well. Some of the backstage areas look interesting though like the Bathroom is packed with removable sinks and urinals and the Locker-room area has a breakable table so it's not a complete disaster.

This is suppose to be Goldberg and Booker T fighting here.

Although the graphics stink, the audio is far better than the looks because of the impressive two man commentary by Tony Sinvulone and the legendary Bobby 'the brain' Heehan. Bobby Heehan has a lot of classic one liners and is really funny in this game while Tony is the important voice of reason. The commentary is actually a lot better than those in recent WWE Smackdown games but that should come as no surprise since they did such a poor job to begin with. You'll even hear some of the wrestlers background music if you win the fight or in the opening cinemas but it's usually cut down so won't hear the whole soundtrack and the worse part is that you can't even select the music for your favourite wrestler in the limited Create a Player mode.

The game is also seriously lacking in wrestling moves, for example: why can't the great Lance Storm do his finishing move 'The Maple Leaf' (a mean looking half Boston Crab), uh!? He was one of WCW's rising stars (before it was cancelled anyways) and they didn't even include his finishing move?? Unfortunately he's not the only one missing moves.
Another problem I found is that the characters special moves are far too weak and you'll be lucky if you can get the pin using special moves like Goldberg's Jackhammer (has anyone kicked out of the Jackhammer before?). There is one thing I really liked about game play here though. WCW BSA will show you how much more damage you'll do if you use a weapon or a wall on your opponent plus if your character's name is white then your fine but if it's red then your fighter is in trouble, which is something that THQ Wrestling games lacked because you never know quite how much punishment you're actually dishing out.

No Sell

If there is any good news here, is that it's kind of fun to unlock all of the secrets in the game like hidden characters and more backstage areas so there is a reason to come back and play but that alone can't save this wrestling embarrassment. The graphics are ugly and lackluster, the wrestlers look nothing like their TV characters, and the controls are not very user friendly at all. Sure the Nintendo 64 game had a lot of these problems too but what kills the Playstation edition is the super slow loading times are nearly 30 seconds long before and after a fight. Even diehard WCW fans will hate this lousy wrestling game.



overall rating: 14/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 1/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 6/10
replay: 1/10

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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