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|Platform(s)||PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Microsoft Windows|
WCW Nitro is a professional wrestling video game based on the professional wrestling television show WCW Monday Nitro. Released by THQ for the PlayStation game console in 1998, the game featured a large roster of playable WCW wrestlers as well as full motion video clips of the television show. The game was followed by WCW/nWo Thunder, which was based on Nitro's Thursday night counterpart. Ports for Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows were released later in 1998 and 1999 with the updated roster featured in Thunder.
Moves are performed by inputting various button combinations. Each wrestler shares a repertoire of wrestling moves and possesses several of their own signature moves.
Modes of play include singles and tag team matches for one or two players, as well as a one-player tournament mode, where the player must defeat a number of wrestlers to be crowned champion.
There are initially 16 playable characters (each featuring a video introduction), with 48 others that can be unlocked, either by playing through the tournament mode with various wrestlers or by using a cheat code. Some of these secret characters are WCW wrestlers or personalities, while others are fictional characters or THQ staff.
Versions for the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows were released in 1999 and 2000 featuring the updated roster from the game's sequel Thunder. The Nintendo 64 version does not have any full motion video. The Microsoft Windows version has the selection screen videos and an intro video, but no wrestler entrance videos. However, the Microsoft Windows version does support network play via TCP/IP.
Mike Cihak, president of the game's developer, Inland Productions, claimed during development that
We are the first to develop a seamless, closed mesh, fully texture-mapped animation system. What this means is that there are no separations between a character's arms and legs. The entire body is covered with a seamless skin that is texture-mapped with digitized images of the entire wrestler. ... The guys at Shiny Entertainment say they just invented this a few months ago,[note 1] but we've had this technology for over a year and now have the game to prove it.
The game was ready for release by the end of 1997, but publisher THQ delayed it until 1998 because their game WCW vs. the World was still selling well and they did not want to create their own competition.
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Ultimately, WCW Nitro, not unlike actual wrestling, delivers fun, if not terribly sophisticated entertainment."
WCW Nitro received mixed reviews upon its release. It was praised for its dead-on WCW atmosphere, innovative control scheme, and large roster. Some reviewers, though, criticized its tedious controls and sub-par graphics. The N64 port, however, drew the most criticism; the majority of negativity stemmed from the game's lack of new features and enhancements, overly fast pace, and poor controls. Released four months after the original PlayStation version, the N64 version also gained criticism for being simply a rehash of the PS1 version, albeit with Thunder's roster.
Nevertheless, the initial WCW Nitro for PlayStation sold enough copies to merit a re-release under the Greatest Hits banner.
- This is in reference to the graphics technology used in Shiny Entertainment's game Messiah.
- "E3 Showstoppers!". GamePro. No. 108. IDG. September 1997. p. 40.
- "WCW Nitro Release Information for PlayStation". GameFAQs. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
- "WCW Nitro Release Information for Nintendo 64". GameFAQs. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
- "News Briefs". IGN. November 30, 1998. Archived from the original on April 22, 2000. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
First WCW Wrestler Hits PC: "THQ has released the first World Championship Wrestling (WCW) game for the PC, the company said today..."
- "THQ Brings World Championship Wrestling to Personal-Computer Users With WCW Nitro". Business Wire. Berkshire Hathaway. November 30, 1998. Archived from the original on February 24, 1999. Retrieved June 16, 2019 – via Yahoo.com.
- Scary Larry (December 1997). "Of Kingpins and Pin Kings". GamePro. No. 111. IDG. p. 74.
- "WCW Nitro Delayed". GamePro. No. 112. IDG. January 1998. p. 32.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 38. Imagine Media. February 1998. p. 114.