WCW: Backstage Assault Preview
EA has just announced a sequel to their very first WCW title, WCW Mayhem. This will be their second console wrestling title and it is called WCW Backstage Assault. Developed by Kodiak, Backstage Assault is a different kind of wrestling game, nothing like any other game you have played before. EA hopes that the new approach will get them somewhere instead of the gutter. WCW Mayhem was a fairly good game but compared to WWF Smackdown, it was nothing, dust, just a feather. It will take one hell of a game to beat the likes of Smackdown or even Smackdown 2 which will be released later this year. So check out the first screens of this "different" kind of wrestling game.
Backstage Assault will re-use the old Mayhem engine, just as Acclaim did with their WWF games. The character models look a bit rough and not as realistic as they should be, particularly the chests on the wrestlers they pertrude a bit too much giving the characters chest an "enhanced" look (if you know what I mean). What I hope for Kodiak to do is fix the awful clipping that would occur when a move is pulled off. Although with the polygon clipping came exceptional motion capturing that is with no equal. The catch to Backstage Assault is that there is no ring, only brawls in the back such as locker rooms, boiler rooms, bathrooms, etc.
There will be over 50 WCW superstars to pick from so proven is that there will be a wholesome amount of variety. There are 14 backgrounds to fight in most that were in Mayhem are likely to appear. Although the backstage rooms aren't available from the get-go, you have to unlock them by making your way up the tournament mode. Thankfully the environments will be interactive, you can toss your opponent into a stash of boxes or even a pile of tires, best of all you can break something of a wall and use it against your enemy. If you are fighting in the restroom you may notice a puddle of water, don't ignore because it may be the one thing that will greet your face to the concrete floor when you try to pull a move off. Weapons are the other interactive objects that will be scattered throughout the ground for you to pick up and slam over your opponent's head. Just like any other wrestler out there, you can also create your very own custom brawler, with the ability to customize many physical features, 39 to be exact. The modes are the following that are know so far: Tournament (or some sort of career mode), First Blood, Human Torch and a variety of two player games. Human Torch is a mode where when a wrestler is lit on fire he is automatically the looser. Right now Backstage Assault sounds very good on paper, but I have yet to see the graphics engine to decide how nice the visuals look and how much improvement was made. If EA/Kodiak makes the right adjustments to Backstage Assault they can have a great playing wrestler on their hand. No release date has been set, but I predict a November 2000 release.