One word - cheese. No, I take it back, not EVEN cheese - Velveeta. Velveeta and "lite" beer, that would be the official dish of WWF In Your House, if it (God forbid) had one.
WWF In Your House, limping grimly on in the Mostly Korny tradition of digitized fighters, features bouts between 10 of the WWF's biggest and baddest: Sternocleidomastoid-clenchers like Ahmed Johnson, Shawn Micheals, Bret "Hit Man" Hart, and my personal least-loathed, the Alice Cooper-esque Undertaker. I gotta tell you, words just fail me when it comes to this game. It's all the same goofy, overblown, ooh-that's-gotta-hurt antics (complete with combatant and announcer sound bytes) you would watch as a dedicated fan of televised pro wrestling (although if you're one of these, I guess that pretty much precludes you being able to read this review), with a few extra tricks thrown in. Like all sprite-fighters, you've got the expected base moves and character-specific realms/backgrounds...but wait! What's your opponent doing?! He's running into the ropes and slingshotting across the mat toward you like a fat, spandex-clad torpedo! That poofy Hunter Hearst-Helmsley just whupped you upside the head with a silver-tipped walking stick! Is that in the rules?That masked porkbarrel, The Man They Call Vader, is mounting the turnbuckle and launching himself into the air above you! Down he comes like a 458-pound bird turd and THOOM, that's GOTTA hurt!
No pro wrestling game would be worth its weight in tobacco spit if it didn't allow things to get out of hand - or in this case, out of the ring entirely. In each character-themed arena (or "house"), the brawl can very easily spill over (or get kicked or slugged or flipped) into the surrounding region, which might be anything from a Victorian reading room to grass bordered by troughs and junker cars to a rock club to an ostentatiously gothic dungeon. The game tilts from the merely flashy and overblown into the world of absolute lunacy once the special moves start to come into play - everything from the aforementioned walking-stick stunt to fighters who morph into charging hogs, and even to the Undertaker's "Tombstone Piledriver" attack - with actual tombstones.
It smarts like heck to admit it, but the game actually does get briefly interesting when up to four players are going at it hell-and-sidewinders in the ring simultaneously. Just like on TV, ludicrously elaborate three-on-one set-ups worthy of the Three Stooges can mark a combatant for the inevitable Finish Move ("PIN HIM"! I'm not kidding, it actually says that), and the mayhem starts to feel like some weird eye-boinking, gut-punching session of the old three-player arcade game Rampage. Oddly, the game is KA rated, because instead of blood pouring from your pummelled opponents, it's personal effects - decks of cards, gloves, hearts, as appropriate to the persona of the fighter in question. It gets old, really old - we're talking neutron-star old - fast, but one has to admit, for a while the gameplay is there. And of course, real WWF fans will eat it up.
Um. Er. What else can I tell you? It's WWF. In Your House. Yep, that's what it is. Says so right on the box.
I'm gonna go read some Flannery O'Connor now.