Before Battletoads, there was Wrestlerage; on the SNES, at least. This 1991 side-viewed grapple-fest aimed to capitalise on the success of the two NES wrestling titles previously produced by Rare, but also to break away from the restrictive ring-based play of the licensed games by taking the action out into the streets / parks / fairgrounds / building sites / anywhere else with a bit of free space.
Starring a cast of eight fictitious brawlers ranging from Mr. Mangler through to the Silver Bullet, Wrestlerage was set to transpose the best elements of the popular wrestling game onto a Double Dragon-style scrolling urban background, each of the fighting arenas around three screens in length. The traditional attacks of such games (both unarmed and weapons-based) would be joined by dropkicks, pins, grapples and unique attacks such as carrying your opponents bodily around the screen and even, if the mood took you, bouncing their heads off various pieces of background scenery. A mode of play was even planned where all the contenders jumped into one big on-screen free-for-all rather than slugging it out head-to-head.
But these ambitions were to remain unrealised when, at around 60% complete, the lack of a licence or an already successful version which the marketers could use as a core selling point finally sealed Wrestlerage’s fate. In a tricky period for the console market, with punters becoming more cautious than ever about how their money was spent, the sad fact was that none of the potential distributors were willing to take on board the risk of an original game. And so the way was left clear for the Battletoads conversions instead to become RARE’s first SNES outings… [Source: rareware.com]
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