There's a conspiracy afoot in the WWF. Knocked unconscious during a championship fight, you awake to learn that Vince McMahon's daughter, Stephanie, has been kidnapped. Now, Vince will guarantee you a rematch if you rescue her!
In WWF Betrayal, a new side-scrolling beat-'em-up for the Game Boy Color, you'll help one of four star-caliber wrestlers punch, kick, clothesline, and suplex his way to Stephanie's captors. To be clear, this isn't a wrestling game, but rather a side-scrolling fighting game that lets you take The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker, or Triple H through six levels of chops-busting adventure.
If you've ever played games like Final Fight, Double Dragon, or more recently, X-Men: Mutant Wars, you're familiar with WWF Betrayal. Walking on foot, you can punch, kick, or drop-kick your way through the hundreds of underworld bad dudes who've been paid to smash your face in. For toppling the real wise guys, such as the game's four big bosses, signature takedowns are possible when your "signature meter" reaches its maximum. Weapons, such as pipes and crates, may also be used along the way. However, take too many hits yourself and you'll lose a life--lose too many and the game is over.
On paper, WWF Betrayal sounds superb, but when you pay closer attention, you'll quickly discover that a number of design and gameplay shortcomings relegate it to the bargain bin. First, although you're playing as one of four skilled athletes, you can only actually perform six distinct actions: run, punch, kick, drop-kick, takedown, and use a weapon. Enemies hardly ever counterattack and rarely cover their backs, so battles are often short one-sided exchanges where your fists are doing all the talking. To spice things up, you can break apart mailboxes and climb fire escapes, but this effect is never used as much more than window dressing.
Visually, the game uses a superdeformed art style that is crisp and easy to see, but there's also an incredible lack of color and depth in both the characters and their surroundings. For what it's worth, the inclusion of a service elevator stage is a nice touch for beat-'em-up fans who've come to expect such a thing. Betrayal's audio is also quite nice for a handheld game, as it incorporates smooth, no-nonsense sound effects with popular WWF themes.
Double Dragon it's not, but WWF Betrayal does give you the chance to pummel hoodlums and machine-gun-toting businessmen with reckless abandon. At six levels, though, only the most die-hard of WWF fanatics is going to be able to tolerate the game's idiotic AI and limited control.