(or XVIII for Non-Idiots)
Next week sometime World Wrestling Entertainment is coming to Seattle for a "big announcement." This is assumed to be the announcement that next March, Wrestlemania will take place at SafeCo Field in downtown Seattle. This kicks ass. In honor of this event, I have decided to review the video game based on last Wrestlemania: Wrestlemania X8
Yes, that is correct. Ever since Wrestlemania XV, WWE has figured that its average constituent can't understand Roman numerals. So after Wrestlemania XV, there was Wrestlemania 2000, Wrestlemania X7, and then Wrestlemania X8. After Wrestlemania X9 next year, they expect to be able to go back to Roman numerals for Wrestlemania XX, becuase they figure that most people won't think it's porno.
Anyway, I got this game soon after it was released (earlier in the summer). I had gotten WWF: No Mercy for the N64 a couple years ago. Wrestlemania X8 is a big improvement over that last one in several regards. Well, it has a much more accurate roster for one thing, considering that half the people in No Mercy don't wrestle anymore. But other than that, the graphics are a lot better. But really, if a Gamecube game had had worse graphics than an N64 game, I would have been pretty upset. So I won't give them much credit for doing something they're supposed to be doing. Come on, impress me!
Okay, here's the impressive thing: Compared to No Mercy, the hit detection in Wrestlemania X8 is greatly improved. Sometimes to the point of being ridiculous. In No Mercy, if two wrestlers locked up and started doing moves on each other, there was not a force on the planet that could touch them. You could stand right next to them and execute textbook dropkicks directly to their foreheads and they wouldn't even feel it. You could jump off a ladder with a flying elbow, and you would pass harmlessly by them, hurting your elbow on the unforgiving canvas below.
In Wrestlemania X8, however, if two rasslers lock it up, anything you do to them will knock them silly. It's fun to jump off of a ladder and take out three or four guys below you who are even vaguely in your general area. So the physics of this game are much improved.
There are several more types of matches you can have, like Table matches, Hell in a Cell matches, and TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) matches. Ladder matches are still really hard to win, especially if there's more than two rasslers going at it, beacuse if anybody does a move in the general vicinity of a ladder it goes toppling over, and usually you with it. It's also a lot of fun to get on top of the cell in a Hell in a Cell match and toss people around on it until they break through and fall to the ring below. That usually hurts enough to where if you climb down and pin them you'll win.
Unfortunately the one-player aspects of this game are a lot worse than No Mercy. There are no storylines at all, even the half-assed crappy ones in No Mercy that were nevertheless kinda funny. In the "story" mode in Wrestlemania X8 you just have a series of matches until you face the owner of the belt you're after. Beat him and you win the belt. Then, congrats! You have a belt. There's nothing much to do after that. Wrestlemania X8 also has a really weird mode where you battle for fake belts in a series of matches like you would for a real belt. Once you capture it you can name it and set its color and stuff. But why? Its not any more fun than fighting for a real belt. If you know someone else who has the game you can save your custom belts to a save slot, then go over to your friend's house and battle over your custom belt. Do I know anybody else who has this game? Ha!
This lack of story modes really hurts the replay value. I haven't played the game in a couple of months. Kind of a waste of money almost. It's only fun to play against other people, in which case it's a lot of fun.
Which is all well and good, but I don't play wrestling video games so I can pretend to be my favorite real-life wrestler and beat people up. I play wrestling video games because as someone who runs a fake wrestling promotion, the Fools Play Rasslin' League (FPRL), I like to use the "Create a Wrestler" part of the games to make the rasslers in the FPRL! No Mercy had a fantastic Create a Wrestler section, and Mike Tanner of Fools Play and I actually were able to create most of the rasslers from the FPRL pretty accurately.
So I was really looking forward to creating them again with the advanced graphics and gameplay of Wrestlemania X8! Then I realized that the "Create a Wrestler" section of Wrestlemania X8 SUCKS DONKEY ASS. I couldn't create a single one of the FPRL Superstars with any degree of accuracy at all. Why? Well, X8 actually only comes with about half the active roster of the WWE in the game. The Create a Wrestler section is stocked with the body parts and moves of the rest of them. Yes, that's right. If you want to play as the Tough Enough winner Maven, you have to make him out of his spare parts. It seems pretty lame-ass to me. It's like having dozens of secret characters in the game that you have to build yourself. Why not just have them in the game? Does this save space or something? Aggravating! I want to play as The Great Inverter or Dirty Heel or Beekeeper! Not Chuck Palumbo or Billy Kidman!
So if you have a lot of friends that come over all the time and like to play rassling video games with you, get this one, becuase it's like the best one out there. But if you want to play by yourself or make up some wrestlers of your own, tough luck, asshole! It ain't happening! And you can thank THQ for that!
Yeah, take that THQ! Two Rock Bottoms for you! BAM! BAM! 1-2-3!