WCW Backstage Assault Makes Even Hardcore Fans Board on the Nintendo 64 – December 12th, 2000 – Today in Video Game History

WCW Backstage Assault Nintendo 64 Video Game

WCW Backstage Assault was an interesting option for wrestling fans. It is no secret that World Championship Wrestling (WCW) had their share of problems. Lack of a deep locker room was not one of them. The biggest problem that WCW faced was themselves. They had no clear vision as to what they wanted to present fans. The revolving door in the executive lounge was not helping either. You would think this would be limited to the television show. You would be wrong. WCW Backstage Assault proves that this lack of understanding the fan base reached far and wide. WCW Backstage Assault was published by Electronic Arts, who apparently didn’t understand what a good wrestling game was either. Wrestling has one iconic item that is shared between EVERY organization in the world. The ring. Too bad Backstage Assault forgot this fundamental requirement.

Throwing out the basic building blocks

You read that right.  WCW Backstage Assault does not feature a wrestling ring.  None.  Nothing at all with ropes or in front of a crowd.  To set the mood for this game you have to remember, it was a different time in life. Extreme Championship Wrestling had just shown WCW and WWF/E how to build a dedicated fan base unlike any other.  They did it with weapons, underhanded tactics and more. The WWF was so impressed that they invested in ECW. This influx of money occurred to the point that the fledgling hardcore company couldn’t pay it back. WWF simply took the company, and many of the contracts of wrestlers, over via some financial wrangling.  WCW was never one to lead the pack. When they did they lost it because they were lost already. Just look at how they handled the popularity of the NWO.

Hardcore only in WCW Backstage Assault

The hardcore idea was growing. EA decided it would be a good idea to make a game all about it. This basically equates to a 3D fighting game that happens to feature wrestlers rather than cartoon characters. EA gave WCW Backstage Assault the greenlight. Man, they probably should have paid more attention to the source material. Hell, why didn’t WCW step in and say no to this use of their license? There was a lot of a Kool-Aid drinking going on here.

Rough around the edges

The graphics are about on par for the period. I mean, of course there were better 3D fighting games out there. None of them featured “Double J” Jeff Jarrett (founder of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling – TNA) and Booker T. Yeah, I don’t see the allure of those guys either, back in the day Booker was a big deal but now, even though he owns Reality of Wrestling out of Texas, he is not “it” with the fans.  Even Jeff Jarrett has never been a headliner outside his own company. He moved onto that disaster known as Global Force Wrestling which was a mess. Sure he is a WWE Hall of Famer, but that has not helped him “put butts in seats”. Sorry, had to borrow a term from AEW’s Tony Schiavone. Who knows who was the original target of that term?

WCW Backstage Assault was a train wreck

WCW Backstage Assault had plenty of problems before it even left the gates. It failed miserably, reportedly only selling 200,000 copies.  TOTAL. That is on PlayStation and Nintendo 64.  That is for both Europe and North America. Talk about a lousy return on your investment. No wonder EA has yet to step back into the world of wrestling games.

If you really want to see how bad WCW Backstage Assault is, or maybe check out some other wrestling games, hit then check out Amazon or eBay but don’t say you weren’t warned. Newer games on platforms like Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have improved greatly. Once you get back in the 16/32-bit days is where it gets hairy.

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This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.

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