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WWF In Your House (PC) artwork

WWF In Your House (PC) review


"As if 1995's WrestleMania: The Arcade Game wasn't enough Mortal Kombat style 'fun' in the guise of the World Wrestling Federation superstars, Acclaim came back the following year! "



As if 1995's WrestleMania: The Arcade Game wasn't enough Mortal Kombat style 'fun' in the guise of the World Wrestling Federation superstars, Acclaim came back the following year!

This time Acclaim didn't even have the excuse of saying they were trying to make a quick buck by porting an arcade game; this one, unsuprisingly given the previous year's effort, wasn't even out in the arcades. It was developed solely as a PC and PlayStation product, and that doesn't bode well given the problems with WrestleMania's fatal lack of staying power. Still, you'd think that Acclaim would learn from their mistakes, surely?

Incorrect.

In Your House provides yet more absurd fighting - again, very little even coming close to wrestling - as ten of the top World Wrestling Federation superstars from the late 1996 release date. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Ahmed Johnson, and Goldust are among the names making their video game debut in In Your House.

As the title of the game betrays, your bouts don't take place in a bustling sports arena, instead in the 'home' of each respective wrestler. Play as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and you'll be battling in a quaint mansion complete with library and fireplace, the ring lined with servants; Select The Undertaker, and you'll be in a dark, gloomy crypt. Does what it says on the tin fairly competently, and every venue depicts the gimmick of each given superstar well.

Sadly the concept of gameplay remains virtually identical to that of WrestleMania. You are constantly fighting a two-out-of-three falls match. Moves revolve around hopelessly tricky combinations, and often result in you getting clobbered with moves you have very little idea of executing yourself. Superstars still 'bleed' items representing their gimmick, such as Helmsley shedding bowties, and Bret Hart losing hearts. You keep mashing the keyboard until your opponent's energy has been completely sapped, at which point you jump on him and score the win immediately. Repeat again, and again, and again. This means that it will very quickly begin to feel identical to WrestleMania, which is in no way a good thing.

If you believed the arsenals of the superstars couldn't get any more goofy and outlandish than in WrestleMania, you were wrong. Acclaim apparently decided not to bother with depth and just went for even more exaggeration and twee repertoires. If you thought Razor Ramon's arm becoming a razor in the last game was overdoing it, this time you will see The Undertaker hurling ghosts at his opponent, The Ultimate Warrior throwing bolts of electricity in a similar fashion, and The British Bulldog turning into a half-man-half-bulldog beast and viciously biting his prey! Each superstar, of course, has these overly wacky abilities, and make some of the more wacky attacks from the last game seem relatively sane.

To try and spice the flow of gameplay up, there have been some additions made - from time to time, a 'WWF' powerup will trickle into the ring from either side, coloured white or red. Basically, white is good, red is bad - side effects can be causing your opponent to go 'groggy', or result in you emptying your COMBO meter depending on which you happen to step on. There can be a number of these in the ring at any one time, making avoiding the red ones while also trying to fend off your opponent difficult. It's recommended that you do all you can to try and fetch the white ones, however, as it certainly shortens the agony, especially given the fact that energy seems to go down about half as quickly as in the previous game. Aside from this, there's also the option to remove the clock and blocking in the option screen. Hardly ground-breaking changes.

Like WrestleMania, there are the same game modes to choose from, with 'Intercontinental Championship' and 'WWF Championship' working in essentially the same way as the predecessor. There's also a new addition labelled 'WWF Season', which, from what I've seen, appears to be just a series of matches against every superstar on the game. It may evolve a bit more, but I've not put myself through sticking with it long enough for it to show itself. Like the previous game, the only hope In Your House has of being remotely fun or enduring to play is if you're playing with or against friends; a noted improvement in this department is that now up to four can play instead of just two from before, offering a two-on-two Elimination Tornado Tag style match.

Some of this might have even been forgivable if there was a significant increase with regards the graphics. While the locations are designed very nicely, with obvious attention to detail and relevance to the characters, the superstars themselves appear worse than the previous release. They look considerably blockier and low resolution than in WrestleMania. That said, there does appear to have been more care taken with the presentation of the game in other areas, with increased use of video - including cutscenes in which certain grapplers insult the player, or superstar career highlights. Though offering these as a reward for conquering the main feature of the game doesn't really feel rewarding at all and, along with the Mortal Kombat visuals, makes the game look dated, even for 1996.

Sound is one of the few positives of the game and shows a definite build on the year before. Each superstar has a number of smack talk phrases uttered after victory - sometimes during battle - and Vince McMahon and Mr. Perfect's commentary is definitely one of the high points in the game, despite Perfect seeming to say very little other than 'See ya, and I wouldn't wanna be ya'. McMahon is also a frequent presence throughout the menu screens, guiding you through rather over-enthusiastically, constantly yelling at you about the 'new' generation of the World Wrestling Federation.

But this game feels anything but new. Its few additions chucked into the gameplay prove to be nothing more than frustrations, and it was annoying enough as it was. Released going into 1997, this game would have almost immediately felt unquestionably out of date in a wrestling promotion which was evolving from the image portrayed here, and its complete lack of redeeming features means it has just as much playability as its parent game: none.

If you enjoy playing WrestleMania, this one might be worth a look. If not, stay well away.

Rating: 2/10

Louisutton's avatar
Community review by Louisutton (August 22, 2010)

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Leroux posted August 28, 2010:

Nice review. This game has one of the more interesting casts of superstars in my opinion, before rosters started to get bloated on the PSX and N64. I'm curious what Vader and Goldust's arenas look like if you remember.

A minor point: a prequel isn't a release before a game, but a release after a game that pre-dates the first in terms of timeline and story. So WrestleMania is a predecessor but not a prequel.
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Louisutton posted September 01, 2010:

Thanks for the feedback! I agree RE the roster, the prospect of Shawn Michaels, Ultimate Warrior, HHH AND Goldust in one game was what made me buy this. Shame about the game itself though.

And just to say that Vader's 'house' was a truckyard I believe, and Goldust the lobby of a cinema.
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erickdgamer posted September 05, 2010:

Im still watching this show until now. Nice review BTW...

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