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FLAT OUT ON THE MAT; This puny wrestling effort won't be a knockout with hardcore grapple fans.

Byline: David Hancock

LEGENDS OF WRESTLING

(11+, pounds 39.99 PlayStation 2)

Bringing together some of the all-time superstars of wrestling such as Hulk Hogan, Bret 'Hitman' Hart and Terry Funk was an inspired idea by Acclaim, who no longer have the franchise for the current World Wrestling Federation stars. But it all comes crashing down onto the canvas because this game is as poorly executed as a badly timed leg drop.

Although 40 great grappling names grace the screen - each with certain special moves and rated in areas such as strength, charisma, mat skills and recovery - the Legends game is not strong enough to compete against recent titles like WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It.

It uses a new game engine with a feature called Immediate Start Position which allows the bout's winning player, if locked in a grapple, to force his opponent into a different position. The opponent may then be able to block. It's a good move and makes for speedy play and single-button combinations. It is about the game's only plus point.

Apart from the four different modes of play, including Create-A-Legend - which does what it says on the box and lets you customise your wrestler down to the colour of their lycra pants - other major features of the game are horizontal.

The muscle-bound graphics of the wrestlers make them look more like cartoon characters and the spectators at the different venues are poorly created and too similar. That is a sad lack of attention to detail that's taken for granted in today's top PS2 games. Anyone expecting to hear the great entrance themes that identified the old-time wrestlers will be disappointed. They have been replaced by rock music.

But it's the poor control that annoys the most. There is a definite delay between pressing the button and what happens on screen, which means you are constantly trying to think ahead and queue up moves. The game is not an out-and-out turkey and some die-hard grappling fans may submit to its charms. But it's no knockout.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 15, 2002
Words:339
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