Legends of Wrestling II for the Game Boy Advance is a train wreck of a game. For starters, you just won't find most of the options featured in competing products. It doesn't have the sheer volume of modes and match types that THQ's WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 offers, and it doesn't let you create 70-something custom characters and select from more than 300 real fighting moves like you can in Bam Entertainment's Fire Pro Wrestling 2. But even when it isn't being compared with the competition, Acclaim's wrestling game falls short in every respect.
The only thing Legends of Wrestling II has going for it is a roster that boasts 40 classic wrestlers drawn from four decades of the sport's history. All the big names, such Hulk Hogan, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Bret Hart, are present, as are a few of wrestling's longtime ambassadors, such as Bruno Sammartino and "Superstar" Billy Graham. Unfortunately, the character graphics aren't nearly as realistic or as colorful as the introductory portraits, so the inclusion of any famous names is pretty much meaningless. The wrestler models in this game look worse than the ones employed in old NES or Game Boy Color games, and they move with the same kind of choppy, stilted animation used in those games. As if that weren't bad enough, many of the included wrestlers are dressed in outfits or colors they never wore into the ring in real life. Roddy Piper wears long, blue tights and George "The Animal" Steele is wearing wrestling briefs. The thought of George Steele in briefs is enough to scar most wrestling fans for life.
Even the main menu suggests that perhaps the game was thrown together in a hurry. There are three basic modes (exhibition, career, and tournament), but only four different match types (single, tag, three way, and four way). You can't vary any ringside rules, bring weapons into the ring, or fight in a cage. You won't find any custom-wrestler or link-cable options, either.
The real tragedy, though, is that Legends of Wrestling II is impossible to play. Grapples only occur after you've pushed the B button multiple times, and once you finally get into one, you'll have to continue to mash buttons in order to perform a takedown. It also takes forever to build up the energy required to perform a signature move, which means you'll hardly ever see them used. This is a problem because every wrestler has the same set of a dozen or so moves. Another odd quirk is that once you begin a turnbuckle maneuver, you can't cancel out of it--even while your wrestler is climbing out of the ring or up the turnbuckle. The only bright spot whatsoever is the reversal system, which lets you perform combination takedowns and exchange positions multiple times with your opponent.
Words cannot express the sheer inadequacy of this game's presentation. The ring introductions are terrible, so much so that the wrestlers actually break into a flat run when they enter the arena. Obviously, the intention was to make them appear ferocious, but the result is that the wrestlers actually appear to be embarrassed by their presence in the game. The audience never changes from match to match. The background music is passable and has a certain amount of energy, but it doesn't vary at all. The sound effects are plain, yet they are bearable thanks to the inclusion of a few digitized sound effects used for the referee's voice and select character responses.
Many people feel that the Game Boy Advance is a throwaway system for crummy games. Legends of Wrestling II only serves to perpetuate this unfortunate and false belief. It is poorly done and no fun to play, and it offers little value except for a few famous names.