It took a couple of months, but the Dreamcast finally has a wrestling game. But before you run out and buy a copy of WWF Attitude, there's really some things you must know about it. This game was produced on a very tight deadline. You see, Acclaim will lose its license to produce and sell WWF games on November 15. That means the company had to pump out this Dreamcast version as quickly as possible, because once 11/15 hits, no more copies can be manufactured. So the Dreamcast version is, essentially, a cleaned-up clone of the PlayStation version. The improvements are mostly limited to graphics (better textures) and sound (higher fidelity). Therefore, if you already own one of the other two versions of Attitude, and you are relatively happy with the version you have, you can pretty much sit this one out.
The roster in WWF Attitude was reasonably current when the game was originally released on the PlayStation and the N64 back in August. Now, the lack of superstars like the Big Show, Chris Jericho, and the Dudley Boys really make the game feel much more dated. However, one plus is that D-Generation X has gotten back together recently, so at least that aspect of the game is correct.
The game is reasonably good for a wrestling game, which is to say it has just about as many weird, quirky collision problems and "which guy am I facing" issues as the next game. The game shies away from much of the rampant button-mashing, which plagues other wrestling games, in favor of a more fighting-game-like approach. This means you'll be doing a lot of "left, right, down, button" type of moves instead of just grappling, hitting a button and a direction, and watching the fireworks. Momentum also comes into play here, which makes it easier to pull off larger, grapple-based moves on your opponents if you soften him up with a few punches and kicks first. The game also has a few reversals here and there, so it's important to vary your method of attack, especially against experienced players.
There are also a whole lot of modes in the game, most of which are slight variations on the same type of match. You can throw down in standard versus matches, two-on-one fights, three-on-one matches, tornado bouts, and tag-team contests, among others. There are also modes based on some of the WWF's more famous Pay-Per-View matches, like the Royal Rumble and the Survivor Series. The Rumble pits you against 29 other wrestlers in an over-the-top-rope brawl. In the real thing, a new wrestler hits the ring one at a time, after a set interval, though here the number of simultaneous wrestlers never gets higher than four. There's a slight pause while a new wrestler enters the ring, but it's nothing too serious. Add to that various match conditions, like hard-core matches or first blood, and you have enough options to keep you creating your own pay-per-views for months.
Graphically, WWF Attitude is a mixed bag. On one hand, it looks much better than the N64 and PlayStation versions of the game. It sports much better textures (though many of the wrestler faces still look pretty bad), a cleaner-looking crowd, and cooler effects. But on the other hand, as a Dreamcast game, it easily could have been better. The wrestler models are still on the blocky side, and the animation looks pretty choppy. The sound has been greatly improved from a fidelity standpoint, but the commentary still manages to sound a little choppy from time to time. Also, the commentary is a little too generic, staying away from calling out specific moves and only occasionally calling the wrestlers by name.
With a few more months, this game could have probably turned out a lot better. But since the game is the very definition of the word "rushed," it's merely a rehash of the older versions of the game. If you didn't buy the PlayStation or N64 version of Attitude in hopes that the DC version would beat them, then you're getting a bittersweet victory. Yes, this is the best version of WWF Attitude, but no, it doesn't live up to the potential of the license or the hardware, and it's really a shame that Acclaim has to end its longtime relationship with the WWF on such a sour note. Rent this one first before making your decision.