Showdown: Legends of Wrestling Updated Impressions

We take an updated look at the upcoming third installment in the classic-wrestling franchise.

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We got a quick look at Showdown: Legends of Wrestling, the third entry in the Legends of Wrestling franchise that stars the biggest names in wrestling from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The game seems to be coming together well and features a slew of upgrades and improvements over the previous two games.

The first thing we got to see was the classic match mode, which is similar to the classic game mode found in All-Star Baseball. This mode re-creates 15 classic matches from professional wrestling's history and lets you jump into the match to relive the excitement just like it happened. Some of the matches we saw included Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant and Bret "The Hitman" Hart against Rowdy Roddy Piper. These classic matches will tailor the wrestlers' costumes, life bars, and physical attributes to match those of the real bouts.

The game's "create-a-legend" mode has also been considerably enhanced. You'll be able to radically alter the appearance of your wrestler by altering his height, weight, and the size of his arms, chest, and legs. You can even apply different kinds of masks if you want to give your wrestler some real flair. There are a ton of options for creating your own wrestler--more than we could keep up with, in fact--so create-a-legend should let aspiring wrestlers make exactly the kind of character they want to make.

Showdown makes a number of improvements both to its gameplay and under the hood. The control scheme has been overhauled and simplified to make the game much more accessible and easier to pick up and play. There are now optional pop-up displays that will help you out during a match by telling you what buttons to press to perform appropriate moves in a given situation. Showdown's character models have been enhanced over the previous game, and they look pretty close to the real-life versions. According to one programmer working on the game, the AI setup is also much more streamlined. This won't necessarily be obvious to players, but it does free up CPU time to devote to things like physics simulation and a higher frame rate.

Showdown: Legends of Wrestling isn't that far off--it's scheduled for release in June. It'll feature a whole lot of content--73 wrestlers have been licensed (and only about half of them have been announced as of the time of this writing), and each wrestler will have four "gimmicks," or costumes. We'll have more updates on Showdown: Legends of Wrestling as they become available.

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