Mike Reviews Extreme Warfare Revenge
By Michael Fitzgerald on 9th August 2023
Happy Wednesday Everyone!
I’ve got something a bit different this week, as I’m going to be reviewing a computer game instead of a wrestling show, as I’ll be looking at freeware booking simulator Extreme Warfare Revenge. I originally wrote this piece for the gaming website Gaming Respawn, and as such I took a more general approach when it came to wrestling lingo etc just because I imagined the target audience might not be as au fait with that sort of stuff as regular wrestling fans would be.
Thus there’ll probably be a few bits to this where it’ll feel like I’m explaining how to make Red Leicester to a cheese maker, but that’s for any potential non cheese makers who might have stumbled across the article back in the day.
Extreme Warfare Revenge (EWR) is a game that any fan of sports management sims shouldn’t have too much difficulty wrapping their heads around. Whereas a game like Football Manager is designed around you becoming a manager of a football club and trying to lead it to success, EWR is about taking both the business and creative reigns of a professional wrestling company and trying to make it the most successful wrestling company in the world. Along the way you will have to deal with egos in the locker room, please television companies by maintaining strong ratings for your televised events and also try to ensure your company remains in the black by bringing in money via sponsorship deals and (eventually) pay per view revenue.
Of course the core difference between a game like Football Manager and one like EWR is that you are in control of the results that take place on your show. In some ways this should technically make the job easier, but a lot of similar issues that you might find in a game like FM also rear their ugly head in EWR. For instance, whereas a player who isn’t making it into the team will become unhappy in FM, a wrestler who continually finds themselves left off your events will also start to get upset as well, especially if they are one of the more popular wrestlers near the top of the card. Additionally, even though professional wrestling isn’t a competitive sport as such, it is still a physically demanding pursuit that carries its own set of dangers, so if a wrestler is fatigued then having them continue to wrestle will increase the chance of them getting an injury, just as it would it in FM.
Predominantly your main job in EWR will be to put together (Or “book” as it is known in wrestling parlance) the wrestling events that your company presents, with the goal of creating exciting shows that will enthuse your audience whilst also ideally ensuring all of your wrestlers are happy and constantly gaining in popularity with the baying crowds. The size of the companies in the game range from worldwide viewed “Global” level ones all the way down to “Backyard” companies, who hold their events, quite literally, in back gardens in front of barely double figure sized crowds. The size of your company will not only define how much money you can afford to spend on wages for the wrestlers you bring in to the fold but it will also have an effect on what wrestlers will choose to wrestle for you. For instance, if a wrestler is hugely popular and you only happen to run a “Small” or “Regional” sized promotion, then there’s a good chance they won’t agree to work for you. Even worse, they might agree to work for you but then leave you high and dry once a better offer comes along.
This can be especially annoying if you have been promoting the wrestler in question as one of your top attractions, as it will leave a gaping hole in your cards that you might not be able to fill. This not only mirrors what can happen in the real world of wrestling (Ask ECW fans about Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko jumping ship to WCW in the mid-90’s for instance) but also mirrors a game like FM somewhat as well (As anyone who has had their star player poached by a team in the Premier League on an FM play through can attest to). Should you be lucky enough to be handling things at a “Global” or “National” sized promotion, then you can tie your wrestlers up to long term details so that other companies can’t poach them from you, but that will often mean you having to part with more money than if they were just on an open contract.
The main thing you’ll want to achieve in the game is to either attain some exposure on a television network or ensure any existing show you already have is getting the sort of ratings the television execs expect it to get. In order to get onto television you may need to improve your production values (Meaning a raise in the monthly budget) or you may also need to amend the type of product you present in order to make your company attractive to prospective networks. Every company has its own “Risk” level that you can amend to your own personal tastes. The riskier your product is the more adult themed it will be. Having a high risk product will give you a larger choice of violent specialty matches to choose from and will also allow you to give your wrestlers more specialised adult themed characters. However, a higher risk level will also mean that some sponsors and TV networks won’t want to do business with you, so you will need to cut your cloth accordingly. Having a lower risk level generally means you will have a better chance of attracting more mainstream sponsors and TV networks, but it will also mean that you will have to produce a much safer and generic feeling product, which will sometimes make it harder to put together exciting shows.
Getting onto television will give your promotion greater exposure and will also bring in more revenue at the box office due to you running more shows. Having good shows will see the popularity of your company grow, whilst bad shows will see it deplete. If you start on top as a “Global” level company then your target will be to remain on top as well as seeing off potential challengers, whilst starting lower down the rung will cause you to focus on growing your company in popularity so that you may one day sit atop the mountain. How you utilise the roster you have at your disposal will be important, as some wrestlers will be better at certain things. For instance, a wrestler like Dusty Rhodes will have high charisma stats but not such impressive in ring wrestling skills, so putting him in positions where he can deliver interviews or take place in skits or “Angles” will be the best way to get the crowd engaged in him, whilst a fine in ring technician but light on charisma wrestler like a Brad Armstrong would be better served getting in there and having good matches with other talented “workers”.
Sometimes you might hit the jackpot and get someone who is both great in the ring and on the microphone, like Ric Flair, and these are the sorts of wrestlers that you will ideally want to put in key roles on the show. You have the option to hire writers to help you with the creative process, and the head writer will often make you aware of which wrestlers are the most popular with your audience, as well as letting you know which wrestlers could do with a change of character if their current one isn’t working or is getting stale. Wrestlers with a bad character will lose popularity (Or “overness” in wrestle lingo) so it’s a wise idea to repackage them if the writing team let you know that their popularity is stagnating. As well as writers you will also need to hire other staff like announcers, referees and road agents to ensure you put on the best product possible. Road Agents are essentially people who police the backstage area and ensure that the wrestlers know what they are supposed to do, as well as keeping an eye on the wrestlers to make sure they stay out of trouble. Having a lack of them will often lead to things getting out of hand in the backstage area, especially if you have wrestlers on the roster who don’t get along with one another.
I could go on for even longer as to how labyrinth and deep this game is. For a freeware game created by one person (Adam Ryland), it’s a wonderfully deep experience for a free game and the impressive Edit Mode on offer in the game means that there are lots of different data packs that you can download that cover many eras of professional wrestling, as well as some fantasy scenarios. I’ve lost count of how many EWR games I have on my laptop these days, with save files ranging from 1986 all the way up to the modern day.
The fact that Ryland has moved on to making the even more detailed “Total Extreme Wrestling” series hasn’t stopped people making new Data packs for EWR, and considering the game is free and still very easy to get hold of, I have to strongly recommend that you pick it up. I’ve been playing it for nineteen years now and I still love it. I can lose whole evenings to this game and it’s still wildly engrossing after all these years. If you’re a wrestling fan who has enjoyed the odd game of Football Manager (or whatever the non-soccer equivalent would be) then this game could be right up your street. There’s a very detailed Guide that can be found inside the game and I strongly suggest giving it a read if you’re playing for the first time, as you genuinely will be surprised just how far down the rabbit hole you can go.
Final Rating: ****