Last week YouTuber Stephan “Archon 1981” Reese revealed that he had bought a previously unreleased and unannounced NES wrestling game from a former Nintendo employee. The news made waves within the worlds of games and wrestling, leaving fans of the long-gone wrestling promotion World Championship Wrestling with many questions about the game. We still don’t know how the deal with WCW came about, why it’s called UWC (which was a short-lived place-holder name used by Ted Turner’s company before they came up with the WCW name for the newly-acquired Jim Crockett Promotions), or why the game was left unreleased despite seemingly being almost completely finished. (Hopefully I’ll have those answers soon.) We do now have another look at the game in action, though, courtesy of Frank Cifaldi of the Video Game History Foundation. Cifaldi has uploaded a video to YouTube that shows a full play-through of the game’s tag team mode on the Master setting. It answers a few questions that people have been asking about the game.
First off, the only playable character whose name was not revealed in Reese’s original video has been confirmed as Stan Lane. Basically the eight characters are grouped together as four distinct teams in the tag team mode. There are the Road Warriors, the Midnight Express, Ric Flair and Barry Windham as a version of the Horsemen, and then the unusual duo of Sting and Jimmy Garvin. Those teams can’t be split up—you can’t have Sting team up with Ric Flair, or the Warriors and the Express trade partners.
Secondly, by watching Cifaldi’s video we can get a feel for how tag matches work in the game. As noted in the original video, each wrestler starts a match with 200 hit points, which obviously go down as their opponent hits them with strikes and moves. In the tag match that health slowly restores itself when a wrestler is tagged out of the match. Cifaldi mentions on Twitter that the computer-controlled wrestlers automatically go to tag out once their health is reduced to 100, and that he feels that cycle seems almost impossible to break without using emulator tricks like slow motion and save states.
Finally, Cifaldi’s team of the Road Warriors wins the UWC World Championship after only two matches. They beat the Midnight Express and the Horsemen, the two heel teams in the game, which now makes me wonder if the game intentionally keeps that kayfabe heel-face dynamic for its match-making. After winning that second match Cifaldi gets a screen declaring “You have got the Championship of UWC.” At that point the credits roll, revealing a handful of developers from the Japanese studio Thinking Rabbit. Cifaldi confirms that this ending is exactly the same for any of the game’s modes. Unfortunately the credits contain no information about any Turner employees who might’ve been involved in the licensing deal that made this game possible.
Watch Cifaldi’s full video below to see (and, unfortunately, hear) UWC in action. Hopefully Paste will have more information on this game soon.