WWE Wrestlemania X8
Developer: Yukes Interactive
Released: June 2002
Capabilities: Memory Card Compatible, Vibration Function
Review Written: June 24, 2002
Wrestlemania X8 is the first World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) licensed game to appear on the Gamecube. This game holds the honor of being the first title to be billed under the new initials of the former World Wrestling Federation (WWF). However, even though the game box and manual have the WWE logos on them, all the in game menus have the old WWF logo. This is probably due to the fact the name change happened just over a month before the game came out, and it was too late to go in and change the code (and why delay a game for a stupid cause like that?).
I wasnt too thrilled with the latest crop of WWE games on the next generation platforms. RAW (X-Box) seemed too rushed, and had too many kinks to work out in the controls. Smackdown: Just Bring It (PS2) had a great amount of bells & whistles, but the arcade type of game play just didnt float my boat. So lets get onto the review and see if we have something better than the other two listed above.
Seems that the average amount of wrestlers in the latest WWE games have dropped lately. No longer do we have the 60+ rosters seen in games like Smackdown 2 (PSX) and No Mercy(N64). The average is now around 45. Including hidden wrestlers, Just Bring It has just 44 wrestlers, and RAW has 47. WMX8 continues this trend with only 42 (six need to be unlocked). It really isnt that low of a number, and most of the key players are here. All the top draws like Steve Austin, The Rock, and Kurt Angle are in here. This is the first game to feature the wrestlers from the old WCW. Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Booker T, and others are in here. Rob Van Dam also makes his debut in a WWE game. There are some certain wrestlers that arent in here, that shouldve been. The omission of current tag team champs (and champs at the time of actual WMX8 venue) Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo is odd. Other famous wrestlers from the old WCW that have been in the WWE for a while arent in here. Some of them are Diamond Dallas Page and Shawn Stasiak. All together, we still have a fine enough roster to satisfy most wrestling fans.
Yukes is the developer for WMX8. They also developed the Smackdown! series of games. I wasnt too fond of publisher, THQ choosing them as the developer. I (and many others) thought theyd stick with AKI for developing the wrestling games on Nintendo consoles. I liked the graphics of Just Bring It, but the character models in WMX8 are just under par, when compared. The costumes look nearly identical to the real thing, but features such as muscle tone, and face textures have a slight simpler look to them. Its odd that Yukes didnt stick with the great models in SD:JBI. Perhaps they didnt want gamers to feel theyre playing the same game on a different system, and this title had to have some uniqueness to it.
The venues are gorgeous. The Wrestlemania X8 arena is detailed to how it looked in real life (complete with three part video wall). The same goes with all the other venues in the game. I think they look better than in RAW and Just Bring It. The entrances also are right on that level. All the wrestlers come down the aisle and pose in the ring exactly as they do on television, complete with pyrotechnics and entrance movies. All the moves in here are animated great. RVDs rolling thunder, and Tajiris wicked kick are detailed to perfection. I love the menu designs, and the loading times for matches are fairly fast (about five seconds). There are a couple of problems. There is no Instant Replay feature to be found. When weapons are in the ring, and you move by them, they seem to move with you. It gets so bad that they may shift to the other side of the screen. The same happens when your wrestler is in the heat of a four player rumble. So dont be surprised if he pops up from one side of the ring to the other in a millisecond.
Most of the sound effects are all right. The basic punching, kicks, and slams all sound well. Some noises such as the low blow and submission sounds have an awkward feel to them. The crowd doesnt seem to chime in during the match as good as in most other wrestling matches. This causes some odd moments. If all you hear is silence after you hit your trademark move, its not a good thing, its a bad thing. The background music is the standard generic guitar riffs that dominate most wrestling games of late. Not the greatest stuff in the world, but certainly not the worst either. There is no commentary in the game, but Im sure no one cares after experiencing the horrible play-by-play in Just Bring It. By now, Im sure you have heard the complaints about certain wrestlers not having their authentic entrance music in the game. Its true, Its true. The following wrestlers have some generic theme in place of their actual one: The nWo (Hall, Nash, & Hogan), Booker T, Matt & Jeff Hardy, Tajiri, and Trish Stratus. I have no clue why Yukes left them out, with the only logical explanation being pure laziness or lack of development time. All entrance themes that feature licensed music from bands such as Limp Bizkit(Undertaker), Breaking Point(RVD), Cypress Hill(Tazz), and Motorhead(HHH) are in here. Never Gonna Stop by Rob Zombie isnt in here for Edge, which is replace by his older theme for some odd reason.
I think Yukes did a fine job on coming up with a decent control scheme with the unique, Gamecube controller. L and R operate as your duck, and block functions (like in No Mercy). Pressing A and a direction on the control stick does a grapple move. B and a direction does a basic kick and punch maneuver. There are some oddball button combinations to do moves. You have to press two buttons simultaneously to do basic moves like an Irish Whip, and picking up weapons. Doing finishing moves is similar as in Just Bring It. You fill up an adrenaline meter, and once its filled up, you press A+B from the proper position to connect with the move. I adjusted to this unique control scheme rather quick, but some friends that were playing only RAW and No Mercy lately just couldnt adapt to the Gamecube controller. Just Bring It operated at a fast arcade like pace, but WMX8 operates just a notch down. Its not as fast, but still noticeably faster than No Mercy. One gripe I have with the game engine is that you cant wrestle backstage, its disappointing that this increasingly popular feature was taken out.
The game has a nice variety of modes, and much more than the lacking RAW. All the basic single, tag, triple threat, and four-way matches are here, but you can add gimmick matches to them. Some of them are the popular Cage, Hell in a Cell, Hardcore, and Table matches. Other popular modes of play in here are the Battle Royal and Royal Rumble modes. The main single player mode of play is Path of a Champion. Its identical to the championship mode in RAW, where all you do is beat several wrestlers in a row to win a belt. Their isnt any fancy storylines or interaction in it like SD:JBI. The only purpose doing this is to unlock wrestlers, and maybe keep up with the current champs in the storylines. It keeps track of title histories much like the way in Just Bring It. To compensate for the crappy championship mode, we get an extra Battle for the Belts mode, where you wrestle one match to win one of over 40 fictitious belts. You can then defend the belt as many times as you want, or unify it by beating another champion. The popular Create-a-Wrestler feature is also in here. So you can create all the popular wrestlers that Yukes left out. A King of the Ring mode is in nearly every WWE game, but one isnt to be found in WMX8.
Seeing as this was the first WWE game on Gamecube, I was thinking the developers were going to pull a RAW on us and not give us the popular modes of play that are in most other wrestling games. Thankfully, they didnt, and all the standard Cage, Royal Rumble, Ladder, and many more modes of play are here. There is a weak championship mode, but in exchange we get an extra single player mode. Up to four people can play at once, and youll be spending lots of timing coming up with your best creations in the Create-a-Wrestler. So theres lots of stuff to keep us playing until the next release.
+: First WWE game to feature wrestlers from the old WCW, Plenty of modes of play,
-: Several authentic entrance themes missing, noticeable skips during game play, weak single player mode
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 7.8
Replay Value: 8.1
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 8
This was a good first WWE game on the Gamecube. It didnt have the insanely fast game play I thought it would, and it wasnt as lacking as I expected either. Im glad it ended up as good as I thought it would be. I enjoy this more than RAW and Just Bring It, but I still prefer No Mercy. Hopefully THQ will wise up and bring back AKI to develop the next game on the Gamecube.
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