Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend REVIEW

Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend Review (PC)

In early 2004, I reviewed "Total Extreme Wrestling" from creator Adam Ryland. I put a lot of time into playing the game and ended up believing that "Total Extreme Wrestling" would be better suited for the hardcore wrestling fan as opposed to the casual fan. When Grey Dog Software asked if I would be interested in their latest title, “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend”, I decided to give Adam Ryland’s wrestling vision another shot. Right after installing my license I saw tremendous improvements, which made this game extremely easy to dive right into. The same formula is here, and it's still a text-based simulation, but the largest difference with “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” is that the "extra" graphics were already there; there was no importing, and no trying to figure out how to improve the presentation.

When I started setting up the game, I was happy to see all the little things that Ryland and his crew had added. From the pictures of the wrestlers, to little snapshots of the players doing demonstrations of the different moves; these things made things much easier in determining move sets for your wrestler, or when editing the other wrestlers. Everything is still extremely configurable. Not knowing much about “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend”, I was surprised to see initially how much different it was then "Total Extreme Wrestling". Instead of focusing on developing a wrestling federation or promotion, you completely concentrate on taking your newly created rookie wrestler from the nowhere to the glamorous world of professional entertainment.

After downloading the game, installation was a snap. This is one of the few games that did not install across all the usernames on my main computer. When I wanted to play on one of my other Windows XP usernames I had to go and find the icon to play it. It's a minor issue, but can be an annoyance. Getting the license was quick and painless. I was able to install it to both of my computers quickly and easily. This game is not a system hog by any stretch. The interface from the get-go is easy to use, easily maneuverable, and quick in results. Getting information about the wrestlers or federations is easily obtained. Menus are set up to be self-explanatory, but help text pops up immediately when you're not sure what a button does. I never needed to look at any help files until a few days later - just to see what was there. The help files are very useful, so if you don't want to guess your way through, you can prepare the proper way and read first.

As this is a text wrestling game, the graphics and sounds are going to be minimal. "Minimal" may not be the best word, however. "Pertinent" is a more proper term for the graphics. When some people think of a text game, they think of just what you are seeing here, a bunch of words and some beeps. Well, those people would be wrong in this case. The graphics in “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” are no different than what you'd see in the vast majority of menus of the most popular console games. The backdrops are colorful and easy to read, and the information is placed in easily found places. The sounds in “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” are a very positive highlight in the world of text gaming. From the opening musical theme to the wave files that are used during the matches, the “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” realm tries it's hardest to put you into the world of wrestling and succeeds on almost every attempt. Some of the items will sound repetitive after a while, but in any game, that's bound to occur.

The actual gameplay options are rather straight forward and to the point. Exhibition mode lets you choose any of the wrestlers in the database in numerous types of matches. Only basic matches are available in the initial stages of Exhibition. Once you have played one of the career modes, you'll start unlocking other types of exhibition matches. The next mode is the meat and potatoes of the game. This is Rookie to Legend Mode, where you'll start from scratch. Once you have created a name and some vital statistics, you'll then need to customize the character. This process is time consuming, but well worth it. The choices you make here will set your course towards how you will progress throughout the early stages of your career. These choices are not basic by any means, either. The vitals you've given your wrestler will determine what moves are going to be available to choose from as well as how effective they are going to be.

When I created my character, I chose a “giant” type of character. This limited my move options tremendously. I know quite a bit about the different wrestling moves, so choosing between them was a lot easier then someone who isn't very familiar with the names of the different moves. There are a lot of specialty moves, but with a quick double-click, you will be shown what the move is, how it is performed, and it's effectiveness or ineffectiveness, depending on your character and the situation. This will be extremely helpful for the non-wrestling fan, as the information is good, and easy to interpret.
Once your character has been created you are presented with Sophie. Sophie is your personal assistant and the first person you'll see in your game menu options. Sophie's purpose is to show you your current schedule. Also in this menu are options to see your history, work with your training, see your financial status, get a medical report, and lastly visit your agent. Your agent and assistant will be the two most important people in the early stages of your career. Your agent helps you set up meetings with the various wrestling promoters to try and get either a short term contract, or a shot at trying to earn a contract with the particular wrestling promotion.
Once you have finally hooked up with a wrestling promotion or two you will see on your schedule when the particular event takes place. The time frame in “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” takes place on a daily basis. If you are using the default universe that came with the game, you will see the results of the other promotions you are not involved in, as well. During the daily happenings you'll have the chance to change various items in your daily routine. As an up-and-coming wrestler, the majority of your time is spent trying to improve yourself and hopefully end up making a name for yourself in the wrestling world. The daily routine items that you can change relate to how hard you train, how much you sleep, and what characteristics you're trying to establish. Once you have changed something in your daily routine, there's an option that will show you just what you are going to improve with your character and just how long it will take for this transition to take place.
Once you have finally come upon the time to be involved in an event, you'll see your advancement options change. Instead of skipping the results of the other federations, you will be given the chance to scout your opponents and other characters - or move right into the next segment. Scouting will give you the chance to check out some last-minute information on the other wrestlers, whereas advancing actually brings you to getting involved with some of the other wrestlers. When you finally advance, you are presented with a screen and eight different characters. These characters could be other wrestlers, managers, or even a referee. You have the option to interact with any of them by clicking on the particular person and then choosing from various comments that can be made to them. In the early going of your career, these comments are very basic and miniscule in meaning, but after you have played for a while some of these choices can alter your current career.
Once you have finished talking to the wrestlers of your choosing, you'll move on to your match if one is scheduled. Once you have been brought to the wrestling match screen, you'll see your available options underneath your character's or team's name. These will either be offensive, defensive or counter moves. If you're involved as part of a tag team, you are in control of all your tag team partner’s moves, as well. Losing as a solo wrestler or as a tag wrestler can have the same impact on your career, so don’t take these other wrestlers lightly. The moves are determined by the situation. These can change if your wrestler gets tired, hurt, or his location on the mat changes. Once you have chosen a move, a small box will pop up telling you what effect your decision had. The match progresses until an ending has been determined. After the match, you'll see the results of the other matches in the current event, and head to the main menu to start another day. Everything here sounds repetitive, and it really is, but that feeling wears off to an extent. As you keep playing and going through the same old routine, things start to change, albeit very slowly. The wait is worth it, especially if you are still enjoying the game. These changes can be as simple as new comments prior to events, to new promotions being interested in you. Large contracts start coming your way, and eventually you'll begin to make some money. This process took me on average about five to seven months of "game time" on average.

“Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” is a game that shocked me. After reviewing "Total Extreme Wrestling", I didn’t expect so much out of "Wrestling Spirit", but what I've seen here in “Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” has me anticipating the release of Ryland’s next text wrestling simulation: "Total Extreme Wrestling 2005".

“Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend” delivers the ingredients needed to let your imagination run wild, and immerse you into the career of an up-and-coming wrestler. There are times that you feel like you're stuck in the middle of a re-occurring dream, but with a little bit of patience, you can have a lot of fun with this title. This game is a good time-killer for a quick break from the repetition of work, or something that can be enjoyed for a couple hours at home or on the road. If you enjoy text games, this one is right up your alley - even if you really don’t care for professional wrestling. If you have never given a text game a shot, this is a good place to start. Congratulations to Adam Ryland and Grey Dog Software for delivering a winner.


Wrestling Spirit: Rookie to Legend Score
out of 10