WWF No Mercy
System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Asmik Ace
Capabilities: Controller & Rumble Pak Compatible
No Mercy, the last great, Asmik wrestler
on the N64, notice the different character
select screen above. Picture Credit(nintendosports.com)
WWF No Mercy, the last WWF game on the Nintendo 64. This is the 4th wrestling game on the Nintendo 64 developed by Asmik. The team responsible for making some of the best wrestling games ever. Its 3 previous wrestling titles on the N64 (WCW vs. NWO: World Tour in 1997, WCW/NWO Revenge in 1998, and WWF Wrestlemania 2000) were the games that set the level for all wrestling games, but now a lot of gamers are complaining that the games engine is showing its aging, with just little improvements and additions over the years. Asmik has listened and announced this will be the last wrestling game on the N64. So will the series go out with a blast? Or go down as something over hyped. Lets get onto the review and start discussing what we always first see when we start the game, which is the....
Opening Game Intro
Now if you read my review for Wrestlemania 2000, you remembered me saying how good the opening video got me ready to play the game. Now if you really want a gamer to get into the game, you got to get them reeled in by delivering a mind blowing opening intro. Now due to high development costs, the N64 is a pain to put FMVs in, something the PSX wrestling games easily do. So Asmik, once again, did what they did for all there N64 wrestlers and made the opening intro of the games own game play footage, mixed in with screen shots of WWF wrestlers. Asmik usually has some generic guitar background tunes during the opening intro, but they decided to opt with some semi-rap tune, with the lyrics mostly containing only, The Rock, and Socko! But if fits for the intro, and as you go through it, you get even more motivated to play the game than ever after seeing the many sights of Austin and The Rock gaining vengeance on the McMahons. And the intro ends with the Rocks most famous quote, If you smell, what the Rock, is Cooking! Followed by an explosion, and an announcer saying, WWF No Mercy! And man, was I all hyped up to get into the game.
Now the games graphics has usually been the main weak point of the series. And Asmik is usually up to its sleeves trying to polish them up every year. Usually, the wrestlers look all blocky and the body parts dont even look connected. Well, the same curse goes into effect here, but it really doesnt distract from the game. In single matches, the wrestlers look really polished, and a lot less blocky from the previous games, and for the most part, the costumes look just like the real thing. But, add in a 3rd and 4th wrestler on screen, and the wrestlers tend to lose some of that polish, and look a lot like the wrestlers from Revenge and Wrestlemania 2000. Also, when playing with four players, the game tends to lose a bit of frame rate, which is really noticeable, if any of you remember playing World Tours Battle Royal mode, the slowdown in there is just like this. And it may drive you insane, but after playing with the slow frame rate for a couple of hours, I easily adapted it.
Another thing the game borrowed graphics wise from World Tour, besides the slowdown, is the use of pictures of wrestlers being used to select wrestlers instead of the text bars that Asmik used in its passed two wrestlers. I like this wrestler select menus way better than the older ones, and you can easily tell whos who and makes selecting your wrestler way easier than before. The game has lots of new animations of moves, and more poses that look just as realistic as before, like I was surprised how well Scotty 2 Hottys The Worm dance looked in the game, complete with the 3 Hoo chants from the crowd. The other thing the game added in the visuals are the new backstage areas you battle in. You got several areas like a locker room, bar, parking lot, broiler room, and many other places. In fact, I think they look as better as the arenas! The arenas look great also, with the Famous 5" PPVs all being in here, plus 3 other PPV arenas, and the brand new Smackdown arena (complete with ovaltron), and the updated RAW arena. A total of 10 arenas in all. The only other gripes I have with the visuals is that some of the players hand drawn, textured faces, look nothing like there real life counterparts, like Chris Jericho, for example. Oh, and one major pet peeve I have is that the entrances are trimmed short about 5-10 seconds, where they now just show your entrance way pose, and you walking half way to the ring. No more in the ring poses. Oh, yeah, the crappy titantron movies are back too, more pixilated than ever.
The main background tunes during menu navigation and matches is made up of generic guitar tunes they sound pretty good overall, and they are dimmed just right so they dont interfere with game play. Of course, you can just opt to have the background music off to if you want. The annoying ref voices from the past two games are gone, and are replaced with a much deeper voice who does the outside ring counts, pin counts, and calls how the match was won. He sounds a little bit odd at first, but you get use to him in the long run. The game uses digitized entrance themes of the WWF wrestlers again. Though they sound pretty bad, and the quality of them is nothing like the ones found on Smackdown! for PSX. Because the entrance themes sound a little bit muffled, and loop a lot too, though you may not notice the looping in the entrances, you would notice them in the part where you demo the tunes in the create a wrestler. The sound effects are mostly the same from the previous games, except some weapons have their own unique sound effect, like the ladder sounds like a ladder crashing the ground when you nail some one with it.
The game features over 60 WWF superstars. On the character select screen, each tier, or stable in the game, is made up of nine wrestlers. You can swap them around to your pleasing, and even name the stables. Like I arranged it where I got the tag teams their own tier, the light heavyweights their own tier, and so on. The game has just about every imaginable WWF superstar in the game, which is up to date on gimmicks from a few months ago. Like, the Godfather, is now The Goodfather (actually both personas are in the game). But Val Venis is still in his plain white trunks and boots gimmick. You got all the Top Dogs in here like The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, and HHH. You also got all the newcomers like Kurt Angle, Rikishi, Tazz, and The Radicals. The whole mid-card is here too with the likes of D-Lo Brown, Edge, Taka Michinoku, and The Right to Censor. Plus just about all the WWF Tag Teams are in here like the Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, The Acolytes, and Too Cool to name a few. Plus just about all of the WWFs women talent is in here, including the extremely old Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. The game also has some guys in here that havent been seen on WWF tv for several months, like the British Bulldog, Viscera, Marc Henry, and even Ken Shamrock (whos hidden by the way), who hasnt even been on WWF tv for over a year! Oh, and there a couple of other surprises as hidden wrestlers go, but I dont want to ruin anything for you.
The Game Engine
Its exactly like the engine used in all the other Asmik games. Im not gonna describe it here, if you want to know what its like, go and read my Wrestlemania 2000 review. Mostly Ill tell you about the new additions in the game engine. The biggest addition, is the running grapple, where when youre running at an opponent, and if you tap or hold A, youll do a move like a Tornado DDT, or Hurricanrana . You can also sneak up from behind wrestlers and do a bulldogging headlock, or face crusher too. This addition is a nice touch overall, but I found it to interfere with me pulling off some other moves like, where an opponent is outside the ring, and Im running the ropes, and if I want to do my usual baseball slide, or suicide plancha from the ring to the wrestler outside of the ring, he would instead attempt a running grapple against no one. Also, you know where your guy gets up all dizzy, and he taps his head a few times before returning to normal? Well, now when you do a running attack at an opponent, like a clothesline for example, and your opponent runs by you and ducks (by pressing the L button), your wrestler will sit there for 3 seconds, and look around all stupid like, Which way did he go leaving you vulnerable for an attack. Another new favorite of mine, is where you go against super heavyweights (400 pounds+) like Rikishi and if you try to body slam, or back suplex him, your wrestler will try to struggle doing the move to him because of his weight. This surprisingly adds a realistic touch to the game, but it does have a draw back, for example, a friend of mine made this skinny girl wrestler, and put her weight at 425 pounds, so in game play, here I have Triple H, struggling to body slam a girl!
The weapons system of the game got a big overhaul. To get weapons from the crowd, you now use the left C button, instead of the usual top C. Also weapons lay on the ground now, instead of disappearing like the usually did. And besides from just a normal jab, or running swing with a weapon, you can now throw a weapon by using the left C button. The weapons are now interactive too, like besides just using a ladder to attack, you can also climb on it, and either dive from the top of it onto other wrestlers, or grab the briefcase/belt to win a ladder match. And the ring steps you use to step into the ring, can also be used as a weapon. In total, 6 weapons can be used at once, including the two sets of steel steps found on the opposite corners of the ring. Oh, theres now a DQ winning system, before, if you had No DQ on in previous Asmik wrestling games, this would allow you to pin outside the ring. That option is now replaced with the Hardcore option under the count out rule. Theres now a DQ rule where, if on, a wrestler uses a weapon, or someone interferes on someones behalf, that wrestler is awarded a DQ victory. If it isnt on, feel free to bash your opponent as many times with as many weapons as you want.
The Ultimate Creations
Yes, the games edit options are back in the brand new Smackdown Mall mode, where you either choose to shop, or create, or edit a superstar. By creating a wrestler, you choose there physical appearance, ring attire, entrance music, portrait photo, set of moves (which takes a lot of time to fully complete). Slab him in a stable and hes good to go. This years edit mode, has way more costumes and parts to choose from before, most which need to bought from the Smackdown mall, from earning cash in the games Championship mode. The Smackdown mall, is generally a cheat store, where you buy hidden characters, arenas, moves, and costume parts. This whole cheat store concept has really caught on since its incarnation in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The prices of everything is really high, and youll be playing Championship mode forever to earn enough money to buy everything. Or if youre like me, you can use a Game Shark and just unlock everything right off the bat. And just like last year, you can create your own PPVs too, by adding as many matches as you want and playing it through, my favorites are recreating some classic PPVs.
Multi Player Game Modes of Play
Yes, No Mercy has loads of ways to play in Multi Player, and so you can understand them, Ill group then in there general categories, now if youre not much for game modes, you might want to skip this next section of the review:
Exhibition contains the games five basic modes: 1-on-1, Tag Team, Handicap, Triple Threat, and Cage matches. All of which are just about self explanatory. Triple Threat is just 3 wrestlers going at it at once, where whoever gets the pin is the winner. Handicap is a 2-on-1 encounter which pits one wrestler against the other. Cage match is the same like last years (except with a different fence design) where who gets out of the cage first is the winner.
Do the famous Royal Rumble battle royal, and by tinkering with the rules (like by setting that eliminations can occur by only pins, submissions, TKOs, and count outs, instead of the usual over the top rope elimination), you can make a fatal 4 way elimination match, or make the usual Royal Rumble rules by having up to 40 wrestlers compete in it, all for all! And just like last year, you can do team battle rumbles, where up to 4 teams which can consist as many wrestlers as you like go at it against each other trying to eliminate each other. Eliminated teams last wrestlers remain outside of the ring and can interfere in outside ring action until the match is over.
King of the Ring
This mode is slightly altered from last years game. In last years game only up to 16 wrestlers or tag teams could compete in just only regular one-on-one, or tag team matches, in an elimination style tournament. Now besides doing just regular singles and tag matches, you can also have Cage matches, and single or Tag Ladder matches in King of the Ring tournament matches.
The game mode made famous from Smackdown! makes its way to the N64, where a human controls a ref, and they can do fast counts, call submissions etc. at whatever speed they want against the computer or actual human players, but only in just standard single, triple threat, or handicap matches. To spice up the bout, try adding a belt on the line with a biased ref. Another drawback is that you cant have the Computer control the ref like in Smackdown!, and that only human players can control refs.
The Ladder match makes its official debut in a wrestling game, stateside, in this game. Its rules are simple, and just like a real ladder match, where the ladder is placed outside the ring, and you gotta bring the ladder to the ring, place it in the middle of the ring, climb to the top of it, then tap the A and B buttons simultaneously (like you do in the Cage match) to grab the briefcase (or belt if youre putting one on the line) from the ceiling to win the match. To knock the opponent off you can try strong attacking the ladder (by holding the B button) or try to grab him off with by pressing the A button by him, or throw a weapon at the ladder to knock it over, and yes, two wrestlers can climb the ladder at once! Besides regular ladder matches, you can also do tag team ladder matches, which adds for more of a challenge of winning with up to four players in the ring at once.
Nothing really special here, either do a single, tag, triple threat, or handicap match, and the wrestler(s) who get the most wins within a time limit is the winner of the match.
Single Player Modes of Play
No Mercy only has two modes designed for one player only. The simpler one is Survival, which is basically a 100 man Royal Rumble, where you can eliminate by over the top rope eliminations, or by pin, submission and TKO. The objective of this mode is to see how many guys you can eliminate, and you earn more cash for the smackdown mall, for the more eliminations you get, the other single player mode of play is....
Remember Revenges championship mode? Where you could pick to go for any of WCWs titles? Well, thats basically the way it is here, but with lots of storylines. You can pick to go for either the WWFs World, Intercontinental, European, Hardcore, Light Heavyweight, Tag Team, or Womens Title. Each championship has several different matches, or chapters for your quest for the title. Major titles like the World and Tag titles involve 10 chapters, lesser titles like the Light Heavyweight title only involve 7 chapters. Your quest can continue weather you win or lose, like if you have a winning career, you go through a few matches to become #1 contender for that title, then you get the title, and have to defend it for the rest of the time. But if you notice on the championship select screen, only a fraction of that mode is complete because you didnt go through all of the games storylines. Like if you start losing, people like the APA can offer you protection and help you win a match, or you can turn heel, and help Shane McMahon win matches by being an evil guest referee. The storylines are great, way better than Smackdowns and way above my expectations. The only problem I have with the storyline is that in World Title championship, Im tired of my character talking like The Rock all the time in the 3rd Person. For example hed say: The Dale is gonna whoop kick your pansy-*** all over the ring! Once you complete a championship, you get cash for the Smackdown mall.
Can you say... Replay Value?, and lots of it!
My gosh, this game is just loaded with modes, youll be playing forever by yourself just trying to beat all the championship modes 100% and trying to unlock everything. Dont worry about the games battery going haywire either and losing all your created guys, because you can save copies of them on your controller pak. The standard Rumble Pak compatibility is here as well. And with all the multi player modes, especially the new Ladder match, youll be playing for eons, In Fact your friends would be wondering why youre playing the N64 for so long in the year 2032 when the Playstation 14 is out already.
The Final Ratings Rundown
Graphics (Animation, Visuals)
Graphics has both its ups and downs. The ups being the great arenas and backstage areas to battle in, the awesome animation, and spectacular presentation; the downs being the suffering frame rate, poor entrance movies and shortened entrances.
Graphics Score: 8.1
Sound (Audio, Sound Effects)
While the entrance themes may not be CD quality, they seem appropriate and are better than nothing, the sound effects are pretty average and are usually what you expect from any wrestling game. The background music isnt bad either.
Sound Score: 8.5
Game play (Control, Game Mechanics)
One of the easiest to learn grappling engines ever. Some nice new additions like the Running Grapple, and realistic weight advantages are welcomed, but have certain drawbacks. Creating a wrestler has the most realistic move sets ever. The Smackdown Mall is another innovative feature used for unlocking stuff in the game. The new game modes like Ladder and Iron Man play well also.
Game play Score: 9.8
Replay Value (Extras, multi player stuff, Secrets)
This game has so much depth for a wrestling game, all the multi player modes, the Smackdown Mall, and trying to get 100% in all 7 championship modes will give you enough replay value to last forever.
Replay Value Score: 9.9
Overall: 9.0 (Surprisingly the exact same score IGN64 gave it)
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
This game is virtual wrestling heaven. I usually clock in about 5-8 hours of a game before I review it, well, I clocked in about 20 hours before I finally got a chance to sit down and type this review which took me 3 hours! And while the game has some drawbacks in sound and graphics, you wont even give a damn because the game is just so fun to play. Heck, even if you have WM2000, you should get this game just for the Championship mode. I would give this game an overall 10 as an personal score, but my overall average weighed it down to a 9, which makes me want to take a look at my WM2000 scores now. Any ways, this is the better game, go buy now!