Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 06/09/02 | Genre: Wrestling
There aren't many things better then a body slam. Have a hard day at work? Somebody make you mad? What one thing would solve just about any problem? A good old-fashioned body slam of course. But since you can't just go around and body-slam anybody you want (even though that would be pretty sweet) we have to look to the professionals for that. Now, over the years the debate has raged: Are they athletes? Or are they just actors in a soap opera? Whatever you decide, the fact is that wrestling is truly one of the biggest "sporting" events on TV. And just like the TV shows, the video games are just as popular. Well, this week we take a look at the first WWF errrr I mean WWE title for the Nintendo GameCube.
On March 31, 1985, the legacy of WrestleMania was born at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Prior to the event, WWE (then known as the WWF) had held many events, however, none were as successful as WrestleMania. Seen by more than one million fans via closed-circuit television, WrestleMania proved to be the originator of what would come to be known as the greatest spectacular in sports-entertainment history. The card consisted of a literal Who's Who of professional wrestling at the time. All the top names competed: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ricky Steamboat, and Big John Studd were just a few of the headliners. Alongside WWF's top talent were some of the entertainment world's biggest names.
And so THQ, the makers of WWF Smackdown for the PS2, brings all the big names into the Nintendo GameCube for the first time in WrestleMania X8. Names like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, The Rock, HHH, and even Stone Cold Steve Austin (even though he is too busy beating his wife) along with all the rest of the WWE superstars. So, will this be an easy 1-2-3 or will it be "just another victim?" There is only one way to see.
Over the years one of the most popular features in wrestling games has been the ability to create a wrestler. And if this is one of your favorite features, you will most definitely be delighted. Not only can you create the look and feel of your wrestler but you can also select all of his moves -- not to mention his entrance theme and finisher. The reason I bring this up is, due to the incredible amount of depth in just this one feature, this is where I spend most of my time. Sure, I wrestled a little but it's kind of cool to make your own character (and make him look like ANYONE you want) and see how they do against the big boys like Undertaker and RVD.
Don't think for one second, though, that this is all this game has to offer. WrestleMania X8 offers the Exhibition Mode (where you can get use to the game,) Path of a Champion Mode (where you go after your choice of belts: Heavyweight, IC, European, Hardcore, Lightweight, and of course Tag Team) and Battle for the belts (which is a great two-player game that allows you to create your own title and challenge all your friends.)
In the midst of all of these challenges lies another one of the most important things in today's wrestling and that is the different types of matches. What good would a WWE game be without the good old TLC match (Tables Ladders, and Chairs)? These, along with Hardcore, Cage, Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and of course, the Battle Royal are all in this game. Oh, and there ARE normal matches too. But with this crazy variety of matches you'll keep your favorite wrestler busy for a while.
As for the audio, no announcers are involved in this game so you don't have to worry about repeating commentary. You will hear the occasional break when you get your opponent's foot on the rope. Also, the Wrestler's Best Friend, the 1-2-3, will also be heard. But the great part of the audio is in the entrance themes. If you weren't watching the TV you would think it's Monday night and Raw is on.
What's not so good? There are a few things that aren't perfect. First, the game is no push-over. When playing by yourself the game is, sometimes, just plain hard. It took me two tries to beat Shane O'Mac and that just shouldn't happen! Also, when playing a Cage match and you get to the top, it takes a long time to get over it. And when involved in a triple-threat or Fatal Four Way match, it can just be a little too difficult.
If you own a Nintendo GameCube you should have this game. With the lack of titles for the GC you won't be disappointed. And for a first effort for the GC, this series is going to do nothing but get better and better. It's for one-to-four players and rated T for teen by the ESRB (www.esrb.org) this can make for a truly fun way to spend your free time!