Legends of WrestleMania is a game where the impossible can happen. You can relive some of the biggest moments from the first fifteen WrestleMania’s and in some cases you can change what happened on those nights. Gamers who grew up watching legends like Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. Perfect are in for a treat as they experience some of the biggest moments in these wrestler’s respective careers.
As soon as you start the game you are treated to one of these legend’s entrance music, immediately giving you a sense of nostalgia. If you don’t like the music that was selected you can simply press in the left joystick and another one will be selected. One thing people should know right way is that this game is not like the Smackdown! vs. Raw series. Whereas the Smackdown! vs. Raw series is more of a simulation based wrestling game, Legends of WrestleMania is an arcade-y wrestling game. You don’t have every match type that is available in the Smackdown! vs. Raw games but it doesn’t matter as this game is an entirely different thing. You aren’t trying to work your way up the ranks to become champion in this game. Instead you play the part of one of the WWE Legends and you get a chance to either relive, rewrite or redefine WrestleMania history.
As soon as you choose to look at the different game modes in this title you are immediately presented with three different options. There is the “Legend Killer” mode where you can go with your created legend and take on the established legends from the past. You do this in a ten man gauntlet style showdown where after you disperse with your first opponent, your second opponent immediately starts heading to the ring until you make your way through all ten. There are multiple tiers for you to work through including a superstars tier. This particular tier is only available to you if you have a save file sitting on your hard drive from Smackdown! vs. Raw 2009. As soon as you boot up the game you will want to pick the option that imports the Smackdown! vs. Raw 2009 roster into this game. That dramatically increases the number of playable wrestlers in the game and will consequently also allow you to play the superstars tier in the “Legend Killer” mode. The next mode can be considered the “career” mode of sorts. It is called the “WrestleMania Tour Mode” and within it you have three different options.
The first option you are presented with is the “Relive” mode. This is the mode where you will relive legendary historical moments from the first fifteen WrestleManias. In this mode you will get a chance to participate in the WrestleMania 2 match between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy, The WrestleMania VI “Ultimate Challenge” between the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan, the WrestleMania XIII submission match between Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin and much more. To successfully relive these moments there are certain objectives that you must meet. An example would be on the aforementioned submissions match at WrestleMania XIII. Anyone who watched the match knows that Stone Cold Steve Austin was really bloody by the end of the match. Well, one of the objectives in the match is to bust open Austin and make him bleed. You can do this in any number of ways, how you choose to do it is your decision. Now it should be noted that these objectives are not required for you to move on to the next match and continue “up the ladder” so to speak. They are required, however, if you want to earn gold medals which will allow you to unlock new match types, costumes and things of that nature.
The second option is the “Rewrite” mode. This is your chance to rewrite WrestleMania history by changing the outcome of some of the most memorable matches. This mode works the same as the first although there are different matches to choose from. One of the greatest matches in the history of WrestleMania took place at WrestleMania XII from Anaheim, California as Shawn Michaels took on Bret “The Hitman” Hart in a sixty minute Ironman match. For those unfamiliar an IronMan match lasts sixty minutes and whomever has the most falls once that time limit expires wins the match. Shawn Michaels walked away with the victory at WrestleMania XII, however, in this game you can now play as Bret Hart and rewrite history by having him retain his WWF Championship. Once again there are certain objectives that you will want to meet if you are trying to unlock everything the game has to offer. The third and final mode is the “Redefine” mode. In this mode you take classic WrestleMania matches and change what type of match it is and who will win. One great example of this is the WrestleMania 1 match of Andre The Giant vs. Big John Studd. When this match took place it was a body slam match, however, in this game it has been changed to a Hell In A Cell match. Once again you have objectives to meet if you decide to go that route. WWE did a tremendous job and provided video packages for all of these matches so fans could see what happened and why the matches took place. They are similar to what everyone will see at WrestleMania 25 in a couple of weeks when we are shown video packages about the feuds up to that point. WWE went into their back catalogue of video and created original content for this game to help give gamers the proper perspective of the situation at that time. As you progress through these modes you can visit the “Movie Theater” and rewatch these original video packages again and again. When you feel like taking a break from the action you can visit the “Hall of Fame” section. This is where all of your stats and awards are displayed. If you have earned the medal from WrestleMania 1 then it will be prominently displayed in that display case. It also updates and keeps track of your status as you progress through the game as well as the status of all the other legends and superstars. It’s a great way to visually keep track of what you have done and what you need to do.
As I mentioned before there is an import feature where you can bring over the roster from the Smackdown! vs. Raw 2009 game. This was a fantastic idea by THQ and should be very exciting for longtime wrestling fans. Gamers can now participate in matches that fans have always wanted to see. You can pit Miz and Morrison against the Hart Foundation, Stone Cold Steve Austin against Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant against the Big Show to see what would happen. These are the types of matches that will never be seen on television but they can be experienced in this game through this great feature. There is, of course, the standard set of create modes where you can create a move set, create a legend, create an entrance and create a tag team. You can also go online on Xbox Live and challenge the world to see if you have what it takes to be called a legend.
Despite all of the great things I have said about this title it does have its share of faults. For one there are some definite graphical glitches that you will notice. Things like one character model walking through another one appear from time to time. It is not game breaking or anything but it can be funny to see. There are some of the more legendary managers in this game as well and they can either help you or hurt you throughout your match. They have their own animations which at times you can’t seem to escape which can be pretty annoying. I had pinned a guy in the middle of the ring during one match and all of sudden I see my opponent’s manager put his leg on the bottom rope to stop the three count. I was pretty annoyed at that as I was in the middle of the ring and there was no way that should have happened. That has only happened once so far in the many hours that I have played the game. Once again it by no means breaks the game it is just a minor annoyance. As I mentioned before this game is very arcade-y. That is by no means a negative thing, however, fans who have become accustomed to the Smackdown! vs. Raw series might need to take a few extra minutes to learn this new control scheme. There are also mini games that take place that you must complete in order to successfully pull off some maneuvers. When you try to perform a finishing move you will have a mini quicktime event where you have to push two buttons as they quickly flash on the screen. If you are successful you will see the animation of your wrestler performing their finisher. If not then you will have to work your way back to the point where you can execute your finisher.
Overall Legends of WrestleMania is a fantastic game. I have been a wrestling fan since 1991 and being able to see and play as some of my favorite legends of the past is a huge thrill. I also really enjoy the fact that you can pit the stars of today against the stars who started it all at WrestleMania 1. The achievements in this game are fairly easy to get, some will just take a little bit of time. THQ did a great job in balancing this game between the hardcore fan base that the WWE has as well as the more casual gamer who might have watched wrestling back in the day but doesn’t watch it today. It can be pretty awesome when in the same exact game you see Hunter Hearts Helmsley as the American blue blood as well as how HHH is portrayed today as “The Game“. If you have ever watched wrestling I definitely recommend giving this game a try. It will bring back memories of when your parents would take you to wrestling events as a child or perhaps of you taking your own children to these events. The videos that the WWE created specifically for this game really nailed the nostalgia factor too. Be sure you don’t miss out on this trip down memory lane.