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WWF: Betrayal (Game Boy Color) artwork

WWF: Betrayal (Game Boy Color) review

"Hunter trots backstage and discovers that his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley has been taken by The Rock and co. Vince McMahon catches up with him, tells him that if he can rescue Stephanie, then he can have a title shot. Take all of those illogical plots from NES games and combine them with professional wrestling and this is what you get. It's almost ridiculous enough to be an actual WWE storyline, one written by a total mark."

THQ fancied they'd go against the grain. WWF: Betrayal took wrestlers out of the ring and put them on the streets. They thought maybe they could try something different (read: half-assed), and if it sucked they'd still reap the benefits. This has been the THQ way since they snagged the rights for their first license title. However, it's difficult to cash in on a concept with a half-baked game. Brawlers are typically known for an over abundance of testosterone and fighting galore. Coming from WWF/E, that order shouldn't be tough to fill. Rather, WWF: Betrayal game is a flawed and often dull beat 'em up with little to offer in any facet. It calls to question why THQ and WayForward even bothered with the concept.

The roster comes up and never before have I felt so underwhelmed. I am patient with older WWF games and their use of maybe 10-15 wrestlers, and in no way do I expect anything like the games of today with their impressive 30-50 wrestlers. However, a whopping four wrestlers isn't something jump up and down over. You get:

-The Rock, who looks like Milhouse Van Houten with Christie Brinkley's legs.
-Stone Cold Steve Austin, who looks like Popeye's mentally deficient cousin.
-The Undertaker, who looks like he's joined a Mexican street gang.
-Triple H, whose long flowing hair looks like a golden mullet.

Triple H, I choose you!

A cut scene starts. Hunter and Austin stareS at each other in the ring. Perhaps this is a new gimmick match to see who will die of dehydration first. A trashcan hits Hunter and he turns around to see The Rock's grotesquely feminine character model, leaning forward and sticking out his fanny, showing off his girlie legs like he's advertising Nair. The Rock shakes a fist at Hunter and utters some horrid dialogue before slinking off to the back. Triple H turns around and Austin delivers the most awkward Stone Cold Stunner before running off to join The Rock. They send their two toughest cronies to deal with Triple H: a referee and a ring announcer. Instead of going after a whole legion of Kanes, Big Shows, and other mid-carders, you have to fight members of the WWF/E and Titan Sports crew. This means refs, roadies, security guards, women that look like The Godfather's hos, and even receptionists.

Yes, you fight receptionists: tall, supple-breasted women wearing green skirts who stare at their nails. These would be the last people I would expect to see on the receiving end of a pedigree or chokeslam.

Hunter trots backstage and discovers that his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley has been taken by The Rock and co. Vince McMahon catches up with him, tells him that if he can rescue Stephanie, then he can have a title shot. Take all of those illogical plots from NES games and combine them with professional wrestling and this is what you get. It's almost ridiculous enough to be an actual WWE storyline, one written by a total mark.

The first level consists of fighting off legions of security guards and roadies. When I say “legions,” I really mean “one or two at a time.” I suck at brawlers, yet I was able to beat this game in about an hour. You will fight very few enemies at a time. The most that might come at you is three, and even then they're no sweat. All that's required to defeat them is to mash the buttons without any sense of skill or timing. Several kicks turns into a finishing move and that roadie is history. Wash, rinse, repeat from start to finish. The only times where you might deploy a little strategy is fighting a boss, which is just a drawn out fight against one of the other wrestlers you didn't select.

Many of the enemies are rather weak, others are very cheap. Roadies and hos don't take much more than a few hits, especially when you're armed. WayForward tried to balance this by throwing out enemies with cheap attacks. Enter the subways and Hunter will find himself surrounded by latte-sucking suits. These guys come equipped with briefcases that double as SMG's. Take too long in dispatching the yuppie scum and they'll open fire, stunning you in addition to dealing damage. This makes the next flurry impossible to dodge. These guys usually fire until you're on the ground bleeding.

Most enemies are not as opportunistic as they are in other brawlers. They usually stand there with their fists up. Get close and they'll commence punching the air. They won't move any closer, but just sit there shadow boxing as if they're warning you. “I'm gong to punch the space in front of me, and if you happen to walk into that space it'll be your fault.” This allows you to easily swoop in and take command of the situation, especially since all of the wrestlers' punches reach way out in front of them. It makes every enemy predictable and easy to take out.

Their AI malfunctions don't stop there. On the off chance that enemies have gotten some shots in, they usually back off after about two or three hits, commence wandering for a few moments, and then try their hand at killing you again. If they don't wander, then they will just stand there and stare at you. They will pursue you if you run away, but only so quickly. You can easily regroup in this game and get that unfair advantage you need.

Still not easy enough for you? When you're down to the last four bars of health, you'll start to regain some. You'll never regain more than four bars, but that should be enough for you to take on anything. Combine this with the ease with which you can regroup, and every enemy becomes a piece of cake. Because of the unaggressive AI, most enemies will not even be capable of killing you unless you get careless or a miracle happens. It seems only the execs and security guards have the cojones to actually finish you off.

Dealing with the enemies means mashing buttons. There's really no rhyme or reason to how you attack unless you want to execute some flashy moves. However, there's no incentive to do so. You can just as easily mash either button to punch or kick your opponent to death. This builds up a meter above your health that allows you to execute a deadly grapple maneuver that can take out any non-boss opponent with one hit. Hunter, for instance, will deliver his pedigree to anyone he kicks more than three times.

This leaves the combat quite dry. You can't execute different types of punches or kicks. There is no special combo, nothing that you could work into a possible strategy to break the tedium. Just pick an enemy you think looks the ugliest and knock his face in. Repeat the process for those remaining.

It all leaves us wondering why we should play this game when better brawlers and better WWF/E games exist. Just because someone put the two together doesn't make it an interesting idea. It felt like WayForward hadn't played any brawlers since... well, ever. There were ones from the NES era that trump this one easily, and one would have thought that the developers would borrow from those. This leaves the game feeling empty, like it was merely slapped together to make a buck. You're better off sticking with games like Double Dragon 2 or Mighty Final Fight.

WayForward didn't do their homework on brawlers. That made WWF: Betrayal a dull beat 'em up without any consideration for strategy, challenge, or fun factor. There's nothing at all special about the game, nothing that stands out. It's completely forgettable, even for pro-wrestling fans. The only thing positive that can be said about it is that it's at least stable.

I thought back on this game after beating it, and the elements struck me as familiar. It's a brawler that's roughly an hour long where you play as one of a few tough guys off to rescue a girl, battling your way through easy situations that ultimately boil down to mashing buttons. Basically, this is The Bouncer on GBC, and that's definitely not a good thing.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (January 16, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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