News of Ultimate Warrior Jim Hellwig's death left millions of wrestling fans, including myself, in shock. I never knew the man, but I loved the character. His electric entrance, running to the ring full blast and shaking the ropes, was adrenaline personified, while the outfit (multicolored face paint, neon tassels, different colored straps for his title belts) embodied the 90s. Critics often remark that his promos were illogical, but to kids, they made perfect sense. Fill the spaceship with rocket fuel? Trampled by elephants? Might as well be Shakespeare to a nine-year-old.
Much can be said about his iconic hall of fame career. The epic WrestleMania VI battle with Hulk Hogan, the Intercontinental and World Championship title defenses against Rick Rude, and of course, the emotional retirement match at WrestleMania VII with Randy Savage.
Today, I want to point out the Warrior's best video game appearances.
Most hardcore wrestling fans have fond memories playing this classic arcade game. For one, it has one of the best rosters in WWE video game history, filled with icons like Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase and of course, Ultimate Warrior. We happily shoved quarters into the machine for a chance to beat the Legion of Doom in a tag team match, and win the Royal Rumble. It perfectly captured the larger than life persona of the WWE (then WWF), of which, Warrior played such an integral part.
WWF WrestleMania Challenge
Much has been said about the quality of LJN's products, or lack thereof, but I loved this game. Although Ultimate Warrior shares the cover with the likes of Hogan, Savage, Big Boss Man and Andre the Giant, he dominates the intro screen. Play wise, WrestleMania Challenge is quite good. Every wrestler has a finisher of some sort, and theme music changes in-game each time you tag someone in. Crude music, to be fair, but who cared about that in 1990? Warrior has some of the coolest music of all time.
WWE Legends of WrestleMania and WWE All Stars
THQ attempted to capture both the excitement of WWE and arcade games with these titles, both of which feature Ultimate Warrior. Legends of WrestleMania relies more on quick time button sequences, while All Stars plays more like WrestleFest, with insanely over-the-top moves and larger-than-life heroes.
Bottom line, the developers did the Ultimate Warrior character justice with both efforts, complete with all his moves, intense personality and pulse-pounding music. You can't go wrong with either game if you love the Warrior.
WWF Super WrestleMania
No Ultimate Warrior in the Super Nintendo version, which made the Genesis game the one to buy. Not only does it feature him, but it also contains finishing moves, which for some reason the SNES game lacks. At least we kicked the crap out of Papa Shango. WWE did a poor job ending that feud, but in the video game world, Ultimate Warrior won every time.
Finally, there's the most recent WWE game that debuted last fall. It makes the list for two reasons. First, it's a great time, and second, it's symbolic in the sense that it was one of the first signs of Ultimate Warrior patching things up with WWE, which was so awesome considering the rift between him and Vince McMahon deprived us of more Ultimate Warrior, beyond his bizarre stint in WCW. In the meantime, check out these Ultimate Warrior tips for WWE 2K14.
RIP Ultimate Warrior. The legend lives on in all of us.