Capabilities: Memory Card & Dual Sock Compatible, Multi-Tap Compatible
The Playstation, oh yes, so many people claim its superiority over the N64, how it knocked out the Saturn, and even though is obsolete compared to the power of the N64, more publishers choose to go with the PSX because of the N64 using its cartridge format. The PSX is usually way better than the N64 every single genre of games, but the wrestling genre is one thats usually lacking compared to the quality of the N64 wrestling games. Lets just take a quick look down memory lane. THQ/Inlands trio of WCW games: WCW vs. the World, Nitro, and Thunder. All were complete crap! The first wave of WWF games by Acclaim: Wrestlemania the Arcade Game, and In Your House, were mediocre at best. The next Acclaim games: WWF Warzone, Attitude, and ECW Hardcore Revolution had all the bells and whistles to make it a great series of games, but its confusing game engine made the series take a downfall. Overall the only good wrestling game for the PSX has been WCW Mayhem, which is crap compared to Wrestlemania 2000 on the N64. Now when THQ announced that they had a whole new developer, yukes, lined up for their first WWF game, Smackdown! I heard lots of good things about the Tokusen Retsuden(sp?) wrestling engine that was gonna be used in this game, that it was even better than the engine by that Asmik innovated in the THQ games for N64. Any ways will this game finally prove that a great wrestling game can be done on the PSX? Well, a reviewer whos been growing up watching pro wrestling and playing the games all his life is gonna deliver the truth about this game to you, right here, right now!
Oh, yeah, to really show you how I feel about this game, Im gonna give you little bits of dialogue of me and my friend, lets just call him Rich, playing this game so you know how it was to experience playing this game, and what you expect to experience if you havent played it yet. Any ways lets get onto the review by talking about the....
Well, lets start off with games intro, like most other PSX wrestlers this game uses collection FMV footage of WWF action, with the Smackdown! Television theme blaring in the background, and just like the tv show opening intro, this one too gets you pumped up and ready to play the game. So a nice job on the intro. The game has an easy to navigate menu system with a rotating circular menu with all choices using Smackdown! text and logos. Now heres where Im gonna go into dialogue and start talking about the games main graphics, where me and my friend start off playing our first match withe the entrances:
Rich: Cool my guys titantron entrance is in the
Dale: Awesome, but wheres the arena?
Rich: I dont know
Dale: Man, this looks all screwed up, I see my dude walking, and the titantron video of him in the background, but where the hell is the arena, this looks all screwed up.
Rich: Oh well, its just the entrance lets get onto the match
Dale: Damn these guys look so real, look you can even see their eyes squinting in pain!
Rich: Yeah these guys look just like the real thing!
Dale: Wait a sec, some of these guys look real stupid.
Rich: Like who?
Dale: Look at Test....
Rich: Oh, my....
Dale: Thats nothing like Test at all, that looks like some lumberjack!
Rich: Yeah, theres a couple of other wrestlers that look real dumb too.
Ok, the in-game graphics are pretty good overall. The arena looks great, heck even the mat of the ring is animated when it jumps up and down all the time. The wrestlers look great for the most part you can even see D-Lo wiggling his head, but there are some that look really odd, like Test and Jericho for example. The entrances look great with the FMVs in the background but the minus of the arena during the entrances dont make them look so great in my opinion. But overall a pretty good job on the graphics.
Well, sounds usually the least important part of the game. Playstation can usually pull off some pretty good CD quality sound, and thats the case here. All the entrance themes sound exactly the way they do on tv, but you only get to here a small part of each wrestlers them, like the first 30-40 seconds and thats it because thats how long the entrances are. All the sound effects sound pretty good, most wrestling games usually pull off great sound effects, and the body slams, pin count, punches and what not sound just like the real thing too. I really wish their was some commentary in this game though, because the game seems to be begging for it. Instead of commentary you get some real cheap guitar background music, the crappy stuff from Wrestlemania 2000 sounds way better than these annoying tunes. I really wish one game could put the wrestlers entrance themes in the background while playing the game, then it would sound a whole lot better in my opinion, the only game I knew that did this was Wrestlemania Challenge for the old NES, and man did it make the gaming experience better. So overall sounds pretty decent, with the only flaws being the lack of commentary and crappy background music.
Usually when I talk about the game play category, I usually talk about how the game controls, and thats what Im gonna do here, but heres another neat little dialogue with my friend, when we started playing the game in a tag team co-operative match.
Dale: Alright! The match is underway!
Rich: Tag me in Dale!
Dale: Just wait a couple of minutes
***A few minutes progress***
Rich: Alright, now tag me in
Dale: What button is it to tag?
Rich: I dunno, try it
***Dale rapidly taps all of the L and R and shape buttons, and he finally makes the tag***
Rich: Wohoo, Im in! Now what do I press to run
Dale: Ummm, L2
Rich: Its not L2
Dale: Oh, Ummmm, L1
Rich: Its not L1!
Dale: Dude, you are pressing L1
Rich: No, Im not
Dale: Yes you are, just look
This happened the whole night, it took us ages to get all the controls down for running, doing moves, grapples and what not. Lets just face this simple fact. The playstation controller wasnt made for wrestling games! Its as easy as that. I still make errors all the time while playing this game by pressing the wrong L and R buttons all the time. But eventually you will get the controls down for this game, I just hope you dont go insane by then.
The roster is pretty good for the game, although it may not have a lot of wrestlers in it like Wrestlemania 2000, all your favorites are here like The Rock, Undertaker, Shamrock, Jericho, Austin, The Hardy Boyz, The Acolytes, HHH, my favorite mid-carder, Steve Blackman, and D-Lo Brown, and about 25 other guys including a little womens division in their with Stephanie McMahon, Debra, and Jacquelyn. So overall, theres a good size roster in here; Ill forgive them this time for not including Taka and Funaki in the game, but if their not in the sequel.....
The game does have lots of modes to choose from. One of my favorites were the anywhere matches, where you battled all over the arena, ala Mayhem, where you could fight in the Broiler Room, Concession Area, hall ways, the entrance ramp, and basically every where else. What was even cooler was if you threw your opponent against a certain part of the area youre in, a weapon would fall out of it for extra bashing. Another great, innovative, mode in here is the special referee match where you can pick any superstar and have him make all the calls for your match. Heck, even you can control him too and decide how fast, or slow, or weather you want to or not make the pin count or the outside ring count. The computer AI for being the special ref is pretty fun too, which brings up this funny moment when me and my friend were bashing each other with a special ref:
Rich: Hey, watch this
***Rich gives a blatant clothesline to the ref, Steve Austin***
Dale: Now hes gonna screw you over
Rich: No, hes not
***Me and Rich battle for a minute, when the ref gets back up he jumps on Rich and pounds him to death***
Dale: I told ya
***Dale gives a schoolboy roll up to rich soon there after and Austin gives a fast count for the win*** Dale: Wohoo!
So the computer AI, is pretty good in here overall. Theres just a couple more modes of play Id like to describe. The cage match, was really odd, you can just climb up and go over the top right from the start f the match, no need to wait till your opponent is really weak. The create-a-ppv was really cool, youd get tv ratings for all the matches, and get hot lists and all. The game has all the other stuff thats in most other games like singles matches, tag matches, king of the ring tournament, create-a-wrestler, etc. But the games main one player mode is really unique. Theres season mode, but to get to do season mode, you must complete a preseason. Just like in all other games story lines you must move up the ranks and win all the titles, plus there are little storylines in the game, but its nothing special at all, which is mostly youll see 2 wrestlers jabbering in a backstage area with the accompanied text: I wonder what so and so are talking about. And later theyd do a run in and all. But the season modes are pretty good overall, and youd be spending lots of time in their to unlock cheats, costumes, and whatnot.
Well, the game can be played with up to 4 players, so you and all your buddies can be playing that for a long time against each other. Plus theres lots of ways to play against each other with all those game modes. The season and king of the ring modes will be the main modes for when youre playing on your own, and the season mode has lots of depth to it because you can unlock costumes and attributes for all your created wrestlers.
+: The wrestlers look amazing for a playstation game, lots of ways to play, plenty of extras
-: Cage mode disappointing, hard-to-learn controls, some of the wrestlers look really odd
The Final Ratings Rundown
Overall the graphics for the game were really good for a playstation game, most of the wrestlers look great, and so does the arena, and I like all the FMVs in their too, but there are some down sides to it too like the entrances look really odd, and some of those wrestlers, look plain weird, so there are some definite room for improvements.
Graphics Score: 7.6
Sounds another part of the game well done in the game, great CD quality sound, the entrance themes sound spectacular, and the sound effects well done. A great job on the sound overall, except for that really annoying background music which drops the score a lot.
Sound Score: 8.3
Well, the games loaded with game modes, a nice size roster and everything else, but the cage match seems pointless to play, and the controls for the game(controls are usually the most vital part of any game out there) are really hard to pick up. So there is lots of confusion going on all the time here, and expect angry friends whore use to the easy-to-learn system in THQs n64 wrestlers.
Game play Score: 6.4
Up to 4 players can play, plus theres lots of game play modes, and season mode will keep you playing for a long time. But for multi player parties, Id be playing WM 2000 over this any time, especially considering how most PSX gamers dont even own that multi-tap.
Replay Value Score: 7.0
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
Overall, this is a pretty good wrestling game for the Playstation, but there are some serious flaws, like the controls really do need to be improved. The game is a blast to play, but is not the greatest wrestling game out there by a long shot, heck I like WCW Mayhem better than this! But out of the whole library of Playstation wrestling games, this is the best WWF one out of all of them. But if youre in the need for a wrestling game for your PSX right now, Id suggest getting Mayhem instead, but if youre a die hard WWF fan, Id say wait for the sequel of this game instead, which I hope will have some big improvements. But overall a good, not great, first WWF game from THQ.