Now I know before I begin that this game does not receive a lot of love from fans of the Extreme promotion but I found this game quite playable for a number of reason which I will refer to during this review so let us waste no more time and review ECW's Hardcore Revolution published by Acclaim!!!
Released in Early 2000 for Playstation,N64 and Dreamcast, Hardcore Revolution was mostly criticized for being a mere clone of WWF Attitude and Warzone. From the presentation to the RVD posing on the menu screen(similar to Steve Austin) and the move animations, it was clear not much if all had changed. I also got a kick out of Little Guido doing a Stone Cold head shake as he punched them into oblivion. For these reasons, many players found themselves avoiding the game. I played this game a year after it was released, renting it from my local extravision. I did not know much about ECW but as the Invasion Angle was taking place when I purchased the game, I recognized the likes of Rhyno, Tommy Dreamer, Spike Dudley,Tajiri, Taz, Raven and Rob Van Dam.
Looking back on the game, I must say I really enjoyed the quirky walking animations and the sometimes frustrating gameplay. I never had issues with WWF Attitude, it is still a game I play regularly to this day. Yes, pausing the game could become quite frustrating to look up move combinations but after a match or two with the respective wrestler, I would not have to look up the moves again, they would be learnt off through repetition and there was nothing more satisfying than systematically destroying a friend or the computer without having to check that damn movelist. The strange way in which the wrestlers walked or pulled off moves really did not bother me a lot, it certainly did not make the game look good but I do not have as big as issue with this as many people would have. The roster for the most part is complete. Based on the timeline of the game, the only omissions I can think of are Shane Douglas, Masato Tanaka and The Dudley Boyz.(If you can think of anyone else. leave a comment) Every wrestling game is a victim of out of date rosters so this is not a major issue because you can recreate the majority of big matches which took place in ECW during 1999 like Taz vs Sabu or RVD vs Balls Mahoney, The Impact Players vs Dreamer and Raven and Super Crazy vs Tajiri vs Little Guido. Speaking of the wrestlers, as many used actual popular songs, Acclaim created in house productions of the themes which are very faithful to their real life counterparts. The wrestler's voices are also used just like in Attitude and I find it more amusing here than in Attitude, especially when Rhino is using all sorts of profanity before and during the match. The trash talking really seems to work for me with the ECW games, I feel it was more common during there matches even though WWF during the Attitude Era was laced with profanity and swearing. Joey Styles commentary is where the game really shines for me, watching the old ECW ppvs on the WWE network helps realize just how good he was and his back and forth arguments with Cyrus The Virus were always entertaining. In this game, every move is called in a quite refreshing manner compared to Shane Mcmahon's in WWF Attitude. The moves unique to the wrestlers are all included and called by Styles. From the familiar Awesome Bombs, Even Flow DDTS and Dreamer Drivers to the rarer Novacaines, Barebacks and Barn Burners, Styles calls the move in a way that doesn't sound disinterested or boring. If stuck between the two games of WWF Attitude and ECW Hardcore Revolution I would choose ECW based purely on Joey's commentating.
That being said, not everything I will mention in this review will be positive. One of my main gripes with the game is the unnecessarily long Career mode present in the game. I like the inclusion of the jobbers and fighting my way through waves of ECW superstars but I never finished the damn mode! There is still a save on my memory card with Raven and it is on at least my 30th title defense. Luckily, I had unlocked all of the secret characters but apart from Taz, none of these characters lit my world on fire. To their credit, I like Acclaim's inclusion of Beulah, Bill Afonso, Judge Jeff Jones, Gertner, Cyrus etc. However, I feel these characters take up unnecessary space on the roster as there is no manager matches in the game.(My solution was to use them in Lumberjack matches as they remain ringside looking like managers!) Taz's inclusion came as a surprise to me as he had left the company months before the game's release but I guess as Paul was on Vince's payroll, they were not going to sue? He is certainly a welcome inclusion because Taz was always fun for suplexing people around the ring. The point remains though, these unlockable wrestlers do not add much to a roster which does not have a large collection of star names.(Who really ever played as Wild Bill or the Jobbers?) Another criticism of the game would be the gameplay mechanics. It is too easy to knock down your opponent for a large amount of time and this is due to your ability to hit your high damage moves without building momentum so one can spam their high damage moves until the opponent's health is depleted, leaving them open to your finishing move. This issue was addressed in Anarchy Rulz as you now had to build up moves to do your high damage moves but in this game, it makes winning a very, simple task. Turnbuckle moves cannot be accessed in this game either which is very disappointing. A bug in the game refuses to allow opponents to remain in the corner if irish whipped onto said turnbuckle. This is a problem when it comes to high flyers like Jerry Lynn, RVD, or Super Crazy as they have moves which they cannot use and in Super Crazy's case, he cannot use his finishing manoeuvre of the three moonsaults. The AI can also be frustrating during three way dances and tag teams matches, it is very likely you will be shouting loudly at your tv as your partner seems to somehow manage to fail to prevent the opponent from breaking up the pin. Tag matches could have been really good but fall flat as the computer continues to interrupt your pinfalls while your computer watches. Three way dances could be considered worse as the third competitor is usually left to his own devices and two battle it out. The acclaim engine was simply not designed with Three Way Dances in mind and it shows in these often tedious matches.
In conclusion, ECW Hardcore Revolution was a disappointing attempt by Acclaim which failed to capture the true spirit of ECW, it comes off as a mere clone of WWF Attitude with a new cast of characters. A disappointing career mode and some AI problems coupled with bugs only add to the problems of the game. For me, as a fan of ECW and a person who has no problem with WWF Attitude and its move combinations, I find myself playing and enjoying this game a lot more than I should. It may not have the ECW feel to it but it has the wrestlers and Joey Styles on the commentary and that is all I really needed to enjoy the game. It would be difficult to recommend this game as there are many superior wrestling games I would put before this(Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, WCWNWO Revenge, No Mercy etc) but if you are a fan of ECW, this game is worth a try and is very cheap on Ebay
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