If you grew up in the last twenty years, the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) probably played a role in your childhood. I'm not saying you enjoyed it, or ever watched it on purpose, but chances are one of your friends did. I had one friend in particular who taped the stuff and watched it repeatedly as I sat there asking him to play NFL Blitz. Thank god he didn't have this game; I'm sure he'd try to make me play it with him.
Wrestlemania features eight characters to choose from, each animated in digitized graphics, a staple for the period. This animation is sharp, and the characters aren't the least bit grainy as you might expect from some digitized fighting games. The ring and surrounding are is very bland, however. I'm not sure you can really blame the game for this, wrestling rings and padded floors are, by their nature, rather dull looking, and crowds of people that attend wrestling matches tend to be an ugly lot. Multiple characters on screen are a frequent occurrence, and luckily it handles it with out any noticeable slow-downs.
Eight characters? That's it? I'm sure there were plenty more active wrestlers during this period that they could have included. To make matters worse you will play against the same character several times in either game mode you can choose from. The two modes are "World Wrestling Federation Title" and "Intercontinental Titles," the second one being the only mode that features any one on one matches, even then it's not even half of the matches. I bring that up because this game is unfair, even for an arcade game; you spend most of the time matched against more then one opponent with punishing AI. Not what I call a fun time.
The game actual controls pretty well, especially considering the 3D movement in the ring. We still have wrestling games today that can't seem to figure it out, yet here is this game way back on the 32X with nothing but a D-pad controlling flawlessly. Combos are decently mapped and hits connect when you want them to. It's nothing special, but there also happens to be nothing wrong with it. The best part about Wrestlemania are the various moves, Midway had a lot of fun taking the over-the-top wrestling moves and making them even more extreme. Some moves even have a supernatural tilt to them, especially now that your character has projectile attacks. Fans of traditional wrestling games may complain that a game like this doesn't take the sport seriously, but Wrestlemania gives arcade fans everything they could want out of a fighting game.
I personally don't play a lot of wrestling games; in fact the two on the Sega 32X are the only ones I own. Regardless of my distaste for the genre I have to admit that this game is functional and decent multiplayer action. If you want to get some old school WWF arcade action this is probably not a terrible place to get it, it's solid. Though, I should tell you that it's also on the Genesis, so you could probably get it there for a penny. Not only is this a great port of a fun (albeit silly) arcade game, but it's also a piece of nostalgia for anybody that remembers like "Doink" and "Bam Bam." Even if you're not a fan of traditional wrestling games, Wrestlemania might be worth checking out.