Back when the Dreamcast launched in the West in 1999, plenty of developers jumped on board to create games for the system, one such published was stalwart Sega developer, Acclaim; they brought over WWF Attitude as one of their first efforts and upon release, it was very clear that the game was rushed to market having been released on the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation earlier that year to mixed reviews.
Part of the problem with the World Wrestling Federation Attitude was it was pretty outdated roster-wise when it was released the first time around let alone late in 1999 at the DC launch, also the gameplay was considered extremely complex and wooden when compared to the PlayStation exclusive, WWF Smackdown! Acclaim no doubt had to recycle the game engine from WWF Warzone due to them losing the license before 1999 was over.
So, let us take a retrospective look at the game in 2016. Attitude is actually a fascinating look back at the WWF during the 90’s it almost perfectly replicates the atmosphere of the arenas around 1997/98 with no Titantron videos and noisy crowds overpowering the entrance music of the various superstars taking their time to make their way to the squared circle, it’s everything you would spot looking back at old matches, which is curious in that it’s purely unintentional from Acclaim’s part.
The move set Acclaim decided to use in the game leave a lot to be desired, much like the ECW and Legends of Wrestling games which launched in later years, the player is required to remember Mortal Kombat levels of button combinations to make the player do something other than a basic punch, kick or grapple, one has to question why the Dreamcast’s controller wasn’t mapped out to a degree that utilised the buttons better. That being said, once the player gets used to the various directional-based moves, it’s a quite pleasant experience and certainly one of the better wrestling games that were released on 128-bit systems.
Attitude’s graphics are actually very good, certainly on par with the early WWF Smackdown! games, sure, it doesn’t come near to the games that were purpose developed for the Xbox, Gamecube and PlayStation 2 but it’s not a bad looking game, the roster is really where WWF Attitude has an edge, there’s some real blast from the past grapplers on offer here, far more diverse than the first Smackdown! game.
I actually found the game to have many favourites and actually a few legends hidden in there, Shawn Michaels springs instantly to mind also Sargent Slaughter and Jerry Lawler are hidden until the game is progressed via the career mode which usually just consists of winning one on one matches or worst case scenario, gauntlet tag matches. There’s plenty to unlock and keep you busy here.
The custom character option is surprisingly in depth, it kicks the competition around the same time into a tin hat, plenty of head, hair, face and size designs on offer also the ability to add text to tops and tights really add individually to the game experience also Acclaim added plenty of custom themes, some of which are very catchy.
All in all, is WWF Attitude a fantastic game? No. It is however a very fun one and really is worth a play if you still yearn for this particular era of wrestling, if you remember WWF rather than the watered down WWE of today, you’re in for a treat if you spend enough time getting to know the game and getting over it’s little flaws.