In the sweeping midst of Hulkamania, Hogan set out three demandments for Hulkamaniacs: to train, say your prayers and eat your vitamins. A fourth was added a few years later in 1990: to believe in yourself. Had Hogan had the foresight to add a fifth — “don't make terrible video games” — we all would have been spared of the tedium of Hulk Hogan's Main Event, the latest — what else? — minigame collection to hit Kinect. Repetitious and uninspired, Main Event somehow manages to make video game wrestling extremely boring.
It's tough to pinpoint where exactly Main Event falls off the rails, but perhaps its biggest flaw is putting brawls on rails in the first place. There is little to no player agency in the strings of minigames that supposedly re-enact a bout as a bizarro 80's comic book Hogan instructs you on what to do and when. Opponents telegraph their moves a la Punch-Out!! but in a less elegant fashion — where less is more for Nintendo's boxing classic that forces quick reactions and thinking on your feet, Main Event holds your hand so much as to make you little else beyond a middle-man puppeteer.
In short, you have zero say in what is happening. Matches, and thus available moves, only focus on one thing at a time: if you're slap fighting then you're not allowed to grapple, and if you're grappling then you're not allowed to bounce your opponent off the ropes, or do anything else for that matter beyond the given task. And where's the fun in video game wrestling if you can't choose when to slap your opponent silly, grapple or bust out a bombastic choke slam? We'll tell you: it's not there.
There's a lot of potential fun to wring out of wrestling, and its narrow focus could be understood, even appreciated, had its challenges been entertaining, but somehow Main Event squeezes no water from a dripping sponge with its series of overly dull and extremely repetitive activities that overstay their welcome every single time.
There's a fairly good character creator that also allows you to record answers to questions to belt out during match introductions, but without the posed questions before each answer is played in-game your recordings make little contextual sense. We found it analogous to the game itself: an irreverent answer blurted to an audience not sure of what all the commotion is about.
It turns out that breaking a wrestling match into a series of strict minigames isn't a dynamite way of making a fun Kinect game. At least, not by making the games go for too long and with such flat bombast to put even the most ardent wrestling fan in an inescapable sleeper hold.