WWF WrestleMania 2000
WWF fans, can you smell what THQ and Asmik/AKI are cooking? Yup, it's the second World Wrestling Federation title for the N64 this year. Oh, the joys of license swapping. Wrestlemania 2000 employs a modified version of developer Asmik/AKI's excellent WCW Revenge engine. The two games look and play almost identically; however, Wrestlemania 2000 has a number of cool new additions.
Foremost among these is a brand-new Create-A-Wrestler Mode. While both WWF War Zone and WWF Attitude both had similar modes, Wrestlemania 2000 adds a whole new dimension to this key feature; not only can you customize your wrestler's appearance and move set, you can also pick his or her own unique taunts, mannerisms and temperament. (See sidebar.)
The game includes another feature WWF fans have come to expect: cage matches. As in War Zone and Attitude, your objective in Wrestlemania 2000's cage matches is to escape the hellish cell before your opponent. While this mode isn't far enough along to report exactly how this play mechanic will work, it's highly likely that it will be similar to the cage matches found in War Zone and Attitude's cages. If you tried to escape prematurely in those two games, your foe would rattle the cage, causing you to plummet to the mat. Accordingly, you had to beat him until he was virtually unconscious before making your fateful climb. Asmik/AKI has made one key change to the Hell-in-a-Cell Matches; they opted to make the foreground section of the cage transparent rather than raising the camera perspective--a good strategy, in our opinion.
Also included in the game are two other trademark WWF match types: First Blood and Triangle. In a First-Blood Match, as the name implies, the first wrestler to bleed loses. In a Triangle Match, the first grappler to score a pinfall, submission or TKO over either opponent wins. In other words, it's not a last-man-standing situation, so you've got to beat the others to the punch. According to THQ, the finished game will include more than 50 WWF Superstars, including an entire (albeit small) Women's Division. Don't count on seeing Sable, however; Rena Mero's (a.k.a. Sable's) much-publicized lawsuit against Titan Sports makes any appearance by the silicon-enhanced femme fatale a serious no-no. Each wrestler boasts enhanced digital skins, greatly reducing the polygon tearing seen in WCW Revenge. (While it wasn't terribly severe, the tearing was a minor distraction.)
Improved animation allows the wrestlers to move about the ring in a more realistic manner, particularly when walking laterally or backward. Instead of sliding about like Gumby or "moonwalking" like Michael Jackson, they now take actual sidesteps and backward steps. Asmik/AKI also added a whole slew of new reversals, grapples, top-rope maneuvers and team-up moves, including assisted piledrivers. For rather inexplicable reasons, the developer also changed the way wrestlers haul their opponents off the canvas. While this used to be accomplished with a touch of the R Button, you now have to tap the button twice. A single tap will put your opponent in a seated or down-on-all-fours position, from which you can perform a number of submission-type moves, such as chin locks or camel clutches. While this really doesn't affect gameplay, it does illustrate Asmik/AKI's nearly absurd attention to detail.
Like Acclaim, THQ has managed to squeeze digitized versions of each Superstar's ring music into the game. Although a bit scratchy sounding, the digitized music is still preferable to the synthesized MIDI versions heard in previous wrestling games. Wrestlemania 2000 also includes the WWF's trademark Titantron video screen, which simulates each wrestler's entrance videos by cleverly alternating still images. (Apparently, compressing the actual clips would have taken up too much space.) While they're REALLY pixelated and blurry, they do add to the game's arena atmosphere.
Speaking of arenas, the game has the sets from the WWF's two weekly television programs, Raw is War and Sunday Night Heat, in addition to five pay-per-view arenas: Royal Rumble, King of the Ring, Survivor Series, Summer Slam and the grandaddy of them all--Wrestlemania. Even though Acclaim produced scores of great World Wrestling Federation titles throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wrestlemania 200 demonstrates that THQ is well-equipped to take the world's strongest wrestling license well into the next century.
Download WWF WrestleMania 2000
Here they are--the first shots of THQ's debut WWF title for the N64, WWF Wrestlemania (working title). If you've played the WCW/nWo games from THQ, you know what to expect, as this is being done by the same developers (Asmik/AKI), and uses an enhanced version of the Revenge engine. THQ is promising lots of cool stuff, including PPV and wrestler creation, wrestler intros and more. WWF is due out Q4 '99.
The Hard Pay
Reckon those WWF script writers don't know a wristlock from a wrist watch? Ever watched Wrestlemania and thought you could do a better job? Then the pay-per-view mode is for you I This option allows you to come up with your own line-up for a huge grappling extravaganza. You can put any of the dozens of wrestlers in matches with any of the other wrestlers, including cage, tag or three- way bouts. You and some mates can take control of each of the grapplers or, should you just want to put your feet up, you can watch the CPU characters going at it
Acclaim's recent WWF Attitude finally managed to prove that wrestling games are more than just dodgy, second-rate beat- 'em-ups featuring fat blokes in pants. With its fantastic selection of grapplers, lush visuals, ace create-a-player mode and huge range of single and multiplayer options. Attitude immediately became the definitive canvas-slammer.
Wrestle mania 2000 is not its follow- up. though, but the first WWF game from new licence-holders THQ, who previously furnished the N64 with a range of technically woeful, but nonetheless sturdy WCW titles.
As you'd expect from any rasslin' game worth its lycra, there are tonnes of different modes on offer. Alongside the standard single and tag matches, there are also three-way and cage bouts - with a huge number of options to fiddle with - as well as nail-biting knockout tournaments and all-for-all Royal Rumbles, which give you the chance to indulge in some over- the-top-rope battle elimination action.
Easily the best of the single player modes, though, is the Road to Wrestlemania, where you start life as a lower-tier squash-boy and then work your way up to headlining Wrestlemania. You never know what's in store for you next; a cage match on Raw or a tag match at a house show.
There are seven different arenas to fight in - from those of the TV shows Raw is War and Sunday Night Heat, to the huge events such as Summerslam or the Survivor Series - and, although they have no real effect on the matches themselves, other than offering you a slightly different environment to grapple in, the choice on offer is staggering.
The characters are pleasingly sizeable and, although this doesn't quite have the edge on Attitude's hi-res capering, the brilliantly individual and, unlike many grappling games, where the characters look like they've been shaped from pipe cleaners, you really do get a feel for the oversized nature of the WWF 'superstars'. And there's a lot of them. All the various factions, such as the Ministry and The Brood are included, while virtually every WWF character you care to mention is featured at one point or another (and there are a stack of secrets to uncover, too). These range from headliners Such as The Rock, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and The Undertaker down to lesser mortals such as Viscera, Mark Henry and the Blue Meanie.
Attitude's beat-'em-up style combos have been dropped in favour of a more simple tap of the action button and analogue pad, but this simplistic approach does provide hardcore fans with a more satisfying fight. It's certainly not the most intuitive control system ever devised and it doesn't prevent the uninitiated from ending up performing plenty of random pad-pounding, but it does provide a top wrestling 'feel'. Not least because the moves are actually more wrestling-based than those in Attitude. As opposed to an emphasis on kicking and punching, WWF provides the opportunity to perform suplexes, inside cradles and a couple of hundred other famed rasslin' manoeuvres.
It's still not really possible to have much of a tactical battle, though. Each wrestler's energy meter recovers so quickly that nothing short of some all-out frenzied wrestling GBH is enough to ensure that your opponent stays down for the three- count. It's amazingly hard work to inflict any significant damage against another wrestler. If your opponent manages to seize even a minor respite they will quickly return to virtually full strength again. While this may accurately mirror the miraculous comebacks that are possible in the unpredictable world of 'sports- entertainment', it can make matches very long-winded affairs. This is a particular problem in multiplayer games, which can wrestler. If your opponent manages to seize even a minor respite they will quickly return to virtually full strength again. While this may accurately mirror the miraculous comebacks that are possible in the unpredictable world of 'sports- entertainment', it can make matches very long-winded affairs. This is a particular problem in multiplayer games, which can last for several hours unless one player is considerably better than the other.
But WWF Wrestlemania 2000 is still one of the best wrestling games yet, rivalled only by Attitude for its sheer amount of features and options. Admittedly it doesn't really have anything to offer that we haven't seen before (which means there's certainly room for improvement next time round), but if you're gagging for a new wrestling fix, WWF Wrestlemania 2000 will fit the bill just nicely. Highly recommended.
No rasslin' title is complete these days without the ubiquitous create-a-freak mode, and Wrestlemania is no exception. It's possible to either start with a blank 'template' or customise an already-existing grapple-merchant Not only can you alter a character's appearance, you can also choose their entrance music and video as well as fiddling with their moves and fighting style. This includes such peculiar features as ring entry, where you can pick 'jump', 'leap frog' and 'women' (I?), and bleeding, for which you are able to choose 'rarely', 'normal' or 'often'. Nice. You can also pick accessories for your character to enter the ring with such as a tongfar, a head or a pet bottle. True!
After a hugely successful run with the WCW license, THQ has scored a major deal that'll take the WWF into the new millennium--starting with WWF Wrestlemania 2000. Boasting more features than there are jabronis in the stands, Wrestlemania 2000 is looking to pack in all your wrestling favorites, such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H. and others--each with their own signature moves to do battle in every type of match. Wrestling crazies will be treated to such fisticuffing forays as King of the Ring, First Blood, 3-Way, and Cage matches. And that's just for starters.
Aki (the developer) is also looking to include numerous extras, including a create-a-wrestler feature that enables you to assemble your own phenom: You'll adjust facial and body features, add tattoos, choose clothing, and much more. Plus, you'll be able to tweak your wrestler's attributes, such as their strength, speed, stamina, and so forth; assign their moves; choose who they'll feud with, and so on. Whether you're down with the Corporation, or just one of the millions of roody-poohs, you're going to want to watch for more on this sure-to-be-hot tide in future issues of GamePro.