I remember Mothers Day 2002 like it was yesterday. It was June (That’s when Mother’s Day is in Scotland at least, you’ll have to check your own calendars to see when you experience the joyous day), the weather was lovely and I had a nice box of chocolates to give to my mum. Old Mrs Russ wanted to go out for lunch to celebrate the day. But I had other plans for that day. Oh yes, a little game called Extreme Warfare Revenge was released on Mothers Day 2002, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest offering of wrestling simulator goodness from Adam Ryland. You’ve all heard the phrase “I’d sell my own mother to…”. Well, in this case, I ignored my own mother to play the game. And I loved EWR to pieces straight away. Don’t believe me? Check out my EWR review here.
(Formally known as Total Extreme Warfare)
You’ll see from that review that I gave the game 9/10, with a perfect score for longevity. And I wasn’t kidding. Up until recently, I still played EWR. I still tried to make my backyard promotion successful. I still tried to outdo the McMahons in terms of making the WWE a powerful force. It’s safe to say that EWR is a billion times more addictive than crack.
When Total Extreme Wrestling was announced as coming with a price tag, I was in two minds. I was happy that Adam was finally going to make some cash for his hard work over the years, because he damn well deserves it. But I was pretty anxious to see how the EWR community would react. I thought that a lot of people would be outraged over the fact that they were going to have to pay for the Extreme Warfare Revenge sequel, which they got for a song (not literally, although it does sound a fair trade. A chorus of “Waterloo” for a wrestling simulator, sign me up!).
TEW was released not too long ago, and thankfully the response has been mostly positive. So I’m here to find out whether they’re talking mince or if the game really is as good as some people say.
I’m no idiot. I know that I won’t win the lottery, I won’t get jiggy with Britney and I won’t get great graphics from a text based simulator. But while TEW’s graphics aren’t going to push your PC to it’s limits, it’s a pretty little game. Let’s face it, EWR’s graphics were ghastly. It looked like someone had drank blue and red paint then thrown up all over some grey buttons. I can’t say the same for Total Extreme Wrestling, because the look has had a complete overhaul. The dark background colours work well with the white text, and there are a lot more graphics in the game than in it’s predecessor. You’ve got colourful maps, lots and lots of graphs (everything from wrestling basics to sex appeal is illustrated via these side-bar graphs. If you LOVE graphs, this is the game for you) and the space for wrestler pictures, which aren’t provided with the game. Anyway, the presentation of the game is much more professional than EWR, and I can’t really complain about the look. As I said, it’s not cutting edge visuals, but they’re all easy enough to comprehend.
Do you like generic sounds? Of course you do. Well, TEW is full of lovely clicking and plinky (that SO isn’t a word) sounds when you click buttons. Again, it’s nothing that’s going to make you sit up and say “Woah!” (that is, unless you take your clicking sounds very seriously), but fair play to Adam and the 400 Software Studios posse, they’ve actually implemented sound into the game, and they deserve a 5/10 for the effort alone.
Now we’re down to the real tasty stuff of TEW. In the game, you control the wrestling promotion of your choice. It’s down to you how the shows are booked, what staff/workers are signed and what to do with the little things in the game, such as merchandising, advertising and other fiduciary goodness. Essentially, your job is to make the company a success on screen and off screen.
The meat of the game comes from booking the day-to-day shows. You need to fill up the timeslot with a mixture of angles, interviews and of course, matches. You pick who appears, who says what, who wins and how. It’s not going to be easy though, as some people are harder to work with in the booking process than otHHHers.
Not a lot has changed in this aspect of the game from EWR. You still hire staff and wrestlers. You still keep an eye on how well your feuds are doing. You’re still careful when it comes to the money side of the game. The only thing that has really changed is the time it takes to create a show. In EWR, it was never quick and easy to put together your dream card, but in comparison to TEW it was like a flash. Due to the intense amount of detail in the game, everything needs to be put together with the greatest of care and double checked, which is unfortunately a timely process. Hey, the game is a simulation, and despite how bad Smackdown! is right now, shows aren’t put together in real life in a snap. It will take you a lot of time to book a show, and it’s a crushing feeling to see that the event you’ve taken the past 20 minutes to put together get shot down by the critics. But that’s life I’m afraid, and it’s part of the fun.
Total Extreme Wrestling is a joy to play if you’ve got a few hours to yourself, but it is not a game you can dip into with a spare twenty minutes. If you’re not doing to sit down and enjoy the simulation to the fullest, you’re not going to get the most from TEW. If you’ve got time to put in, don’t expect to see your friends or family for a good few weeks.
Another triumph for TEW. As with EWR, just about everything you see is able to be changed. Don’t like a wrestler’s gimmick? Give him a new one. Fed up of not having a Hardcore title? Go ahead and make one. Yes, you can add and modify just about everything in the game. You’ll need to seek sponsorship, you’ll often be asked to send out one of your stars to appear on a talk show, you need to sort out your commentary team, and this is all within the first week.
If you think EWR had a lot of gimmick matches, you’ll be blown away. There are so many varieties of matches that you’ll never get through all of them unless every bout on the card features some kind of steel cage. It’s almost a hindrance at first to scroll past countless variations of a 2 Vs 3 Scramble Barbed Wire Exploding Steel Cage Elimination Chamber Inferno In A Cell Judy Bagwell On A Pole Match just to get to 1 Vs 1 Singles match.
There are so many features in TEW that I’d be here until next Thursday describing 1% of the game. Just take it from me, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff outside of booking shows.
Again, this is another area that has been improved upon drastically. Everything from the roster and the promotions to the TV programs which workers can appear on can be edited. You can create a new wrestling style, invent a new match type or just change the holders of the belts to keep things up to date. Everything is easy to navigate, quick to load and the whole process is extremely user friendly.
Let’s cut to the chase folks; there are no real wrestlers or promotions in Total Extreme Wrestling. What you will find is thousands of unique workers and companies, all of which bear no resemblance to a real life entity. This means instead of The Rock and Triple H headlining your shows, you’ve got Joe Sexy and Lobster Man. I’ve got to hand it to Adam, it would have taken forever and a day to come up with all these unique wrestlers, each with their own stats and individual differences. Unfortunately for the person playing this game, it’s just not fun. I have no interest in running The Burning Hammer Of The Gods with Steve Whatchyamacallhim as the main star. I want to see real life situations, and apply my real life knowledge (such as D-Lo Brown = Ratings) to the game. I can’t deny that it was a good effort to put all these fake workers in the game, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. If you’re like me, you’ll want to download one of the unofficial updates as soon as possible so you can deal with real life characters.
Another perfect score, because you’ll be playing this one for a looooong time. Much like EWR, Total Extreme Wrestling is pure addiction crammed into a .exe file. As soon as you get an update with wrestlers you know under your control, you’ll be playing TEW until the cows come home. You’ll probably still be playing it when they leave the next morning too, to head off to their jobs (they probably work in a MOOseum).
TEW just keeps begging you to come back for more. And even once you’ve done countless years with WWE, you’ve still got NWA TNA to manage. Then try taking on a Japanese promotion like NJPW. Then lend your hand to the UK, Australian or Mexican scene. Do you get what I mean? Total Extreme Wrestling provides you with an almost unlimited amount of scenarios, all of which are devilishly addictive.
Overall (Not An Average)- 9.5/10
If you like Extreme Warfare Revenge, you won’t be disappointed with Total Extreme Wrestling. In almost every way it’s superior, and lots of new stuff has been added to. The presentation is as good as you’ll find in a text based simulator, the game is just as fun as EWR and unsurprisingly you’ll probably be playing it until Adam Ryland’s next game is released. The only way I can think of TEW not appealing to you is if you either have a limited amount of time or an empty wallet. If you’re only on your PC for less than an hour at a time, you won’t enjoy TEW as much as someone who is able to dedicate a lot of time to it. It’s a game where you need to sit down and make important decisions, which can’t be done if you’re dipping in and out of the game. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend the game to you if your bank balance is lower than a Smackdown! PPV buyrate. EWR isn’t quite as good a game as TEW, but it’s totally free and if you can find it online then maybe you should go for the cheaper alternative.
But hey, the rest of the population who aren’t in either of the above situations, you have no excuse not to buy this game. It’s cheaper than a normal title you’d buy from a games shop, it’s a beautifully put together simulation and you’ll just get unlimited hours of fun from the game. I’m not one of these people who think you should buy the game to reward Adam financially for his past successes, but I do think you should be prepared to part with some cash for his current achievement. Total Extreme Wrestling is the best wrestling simulator available today, and quite probably one of the best games you can buy for the PC if you’re into wrestling. If you don’t believe how good the game is, head on over to 400SoftwareStudios.com and download the free trial version of TEW. It costs you nothing to evaluate the game, and then you can make an informed decision, making the purpose of this review all but nil. Oh well, as least there was a good cow joke in it. MOOseum, hehehe.
And also, a big thanks goes out to Tara Clover and everyone from 400 Software Studios for their help with the review.