The game has never been known to kill someone
Terrible Controls/ Insipid Gameplay
Dude... WTF are You Doing?
Overview: Some of you may know that I'm a pro wrestler. And something bad happens when you become a pro wrestler...
you can't stand playing pro wrestling video games. Even the good ones. AND... when you a play a bad wrestling video game, you are going to be extra harsh. Buckle up.
In the 7800's Mat Mania, you make an exciting appearance as, "The Man in the Red Trunks". You continually take on your hated rival, "The Man
in the Blue Trunks". Yes, in a sport where personality is everything, this game
is devoid of almost anything that might resemble personality. Sadly, that's not
all it lacks. It lacks balls. Sorry for the language.
Graphics: The graphics actually rival Nintendo's
"Pro Wrestling", which was an outstanding game for its time. The characters are
big and the audience looks good. The colors are bright and not very tacky. The
biggest problem graphically is the bland boring characters. There are two guys,
who look identical to one another, with one slight difference: One guy wears red
and the other wears blue. And after you beat the guy who wears blue, you get to
fight him again and again. You can see how this can lose its appeal quickly.
Sound: On a system known for lousy sound, this game
shines as one of the system's worst. There is a terrible loop of midi audio that
is neither catchy nor well played that plays over and over again. This midi loop
is sprinkled with various thuds, a ring bell, and a crowd that cheers when the
bore-fest is over and somebody actually scores a win.
Gameplay: Sound is terrible, but gameplay may be
worse. Your left button punches, and your right button kicks. And with various
taps, your wrestler can perform headlocks, atomic drops, backdrops, running
lariats, running dropkicks and maybe something else. I never really cared enough
to find out what else I could do with it. One reason is if you land a big move,
like a belly to back suplex... the opponent that just hit the ground gets right back up. So
working your way into a big grapple proves virtually worthless. Also, each
grapple begins with a headlock, but the computer does not give an advantage to
the wrestler who has his opponent in a headlock. Basically it's a button mash
fest, and not a very fun one at that. For some reason, there are three rounds (rounds in wrestling?--- derp),
and the man with the most points at the end of three rounds wins. This totally
takes the wrestling feeling out of it, and the beginning of rounds and matches
are confusing since they look the same. It's hard to tell whether you have
started a new match or you are starting a new round. What Madden does to pro football... Mat Mania Challenge does to rasslin': strips the sport of its pageantry.
Matches take forever, and
when you win you wonder why it finally ended. Matches are void of momentum, good guys, bad guys, entrances, storylines, title belts,
submission moves, top rope moves, taunts, run-ins, weapon shots, swearing,
finishing moves, commentary, tag teams, gimmick matches, or scantily clad women. Basically, this game is void
Mania, which was an arcade hit, was nothing like this. It was fun.
Value: Since anyone who
was a working frontal lobe will hate this game, the only reason to pick this
game up is to complete your collection.
Overall: In all
fairness, quality wrestling games are hard to make. Even to this day, hordes of
terrible wrestling games hit the shelves every year. Before I was a pro wrestler, wrestling games were
actually my favorite genre, but good wrestling games are rare:
Pro Wrestling for NES, Raw is War for Genesis and SNES, and the THQ/AKI
"No Mercy" line of games for the Nintendo 64, make a short list. Most everything else I've played was tough to love. Regardless, Mat Mania could have been so much better with simple edits. I think they were all coked up over at Atari half the time. Like... how hard would it have been to have different guys to fight... put a guy in mask, make a guy a black dude... a hillbilly, a karate man, and then a guy with long blonde hair... you beat him, get the belt... badda boom... gives you something to play for. And get rid of that stupid round and "win by points" bullsh.
Mat Mania Challenge sucks, and playing it for more than 1 match IS the Challenge. But instead of not liking it........ I want to kill it. I
wish I could psychically wrestle this game...I'd put it in the figure four leg
lock and curse its momma.
Video Game Critic: D-
The Atari Times: 5 out
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 4 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 1.5 out of 5.0 (Terrible)
Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch
Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for