E3 2001 Hands-onWWF Betrayal

WWF Betrayal is an action-adventure where your wrestler is on the prowl, searching for the kidnappers of Stephanie McMahon. Here are our hands-on impressions.

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A wrestling game like no other, WWF Betrayal was a definite surprise when it was revealed as part of THQ's lineup. You begin the adventure by choosing one of four WWF Superstars: The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, or Triple H. Your chosen protagonist then finds that the other wrestlers have joined forces to cause some trouble, namely kidnapping the WWF's first daughter, Stephanie McMahon, and stealing the prized WWF Heavyweight title belt.

Being the paragon of virtue that he is (or crowd favorite, as the case may be), your Superstar scours the streets and beats up wandering thugs, disguised as construction workers, policemen, or big-haired '80s ladies, armed only with his fists, feet, and a power gauge that, as it fills up, lets you unleash your signature move, like the Rock Bottom or Stone Cold Stunner. The game plays very simplistically, like Double Dragon without the jumping. The basic enemies have overly simple AI--they often stand still and unleash a flurry of blows, which you can either counter through timing or absorb as punishment. Like many beat-'em-ups, WWF Betrayal lets you destroy everyday objects, such as mailboxes and dumpsters, so that you can find health power-ups such as ice cream, cake, and meat. Your wrestler can also rely on the weapons strewn throughout the levels, which include trash cans, metal pipes, and nightsticks.

While not graphically revolutionary by any means, the characters are easily recognizable and accurate in a comical sort of way. The wrestlers are stocky and short with large heads and have distinct features--for example, The Rock has a pronounced eyebrow, and Austin wears skull vest. We weren't able to check out the audio features, but apparently, the game may feature some recognizable WWF themes.

Encountering the other wrestlers in the game is enjoyable, and the boss fights against them are challenging. Although the gameplay is fairly simple, it works well to distract and entertain as you progress through the laughably campy storyline. WWF Betrayal looks like it will be an enjoyable, simplistic side-scrolling fighter for those who are interested in seeing the WWF license put to original use.

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