Review by Psycho Penguin
"As Triple H would say,"
Well... wasn't this game hyped enough? Every time I read a magazine I heard about this new WWF game coming out for Playstation, and quite frankly I was excited. How could I not be? I am a huge WWF fan, and the game seemed so cool, what with the nice graphics and the best dang storyline mode ever. So when the fateful day (March 2nd) finally came, I was the first one in line at Target to buy it. When I got home and finally got to play the game I so anxiously awaited, I was excited about how cool the game seemed. It had a ton of modes, and the character entrance videos were worth the game to me right there. But I did notice after a while that the game had its flaws. The game featured a ton of modes, but the gameplay during matches wasn't all there. I much preferred the gameplay in Wrestlemania 2000, because the special finishing moves were easier to pull off. Overall, WWF Smackdown! is everything that I expected, but I couldn't help but feel a little dissapointed.
The graphics in WWF Smackdown! are very good, especially for a wrestling game. They are definetly the best graphics I've ever seen in a Playstation wrestling game, bar none. The character models are superb, almost all of the wrestlers look
exactly like they do on tv, with the exception of Test, who looks like his hair is all braided and stuff. Its too sad since Test is my favorite WWF wrestler, but thats life. Jericho doesn't look too great, either, according to my girlfriend. All the other character models are really good though, ranging from the demonic Undertaker to the Big Red Machine Kane. The ring models are quite good as well, and I prefer the graphics to Attitude because the game does not use motion capture character models. This makes the gameplay move much quicker, and makes the collision detection much better. Now the punches actually look like they hit the guy instead of missing. Finally, the character entrances are unreal. They have them down to a T. X-Pac does his little jump, Kane raises his arm in the air and the fire shoots off, the Big Show raises his hand... its all good. Plus the character entrance videos are the authentic ones, and most of them are the newer ones (like the new Chyna one). Definetly worth the price of admission right there. Overall the graphics are very well done.
The music and sound are top notch which is to be expected from a CD-based console like the Playstation. The character entrances feature authentic theme music, which is absolutely awesome. Everything from ''No Chance'' (Vince and Shane's Music) to ''Red Power'' (Kane's music) is done perfectly captured. The gameplay is a different story, the music is good but there's only about 4 of the 6 tracks that I actually like. The game features no commentary whatsoever, which I actually happen to like, mainly because the commentary in most of the other wrestling games, were, shall we say, lackluster. Especially in Thunder, I still remember ''He kicked out'' Now, if the commentary was similar to that of the commentary of Warzone, only with Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross instead of Vince and JR, I'd be a happy little reviewer. Anyways, like I was saying, there's no commentary, and the music is good. There are no crowd chants but all of the other sound effects are very well done and sound very good. I like the music, the sound effects are good. The only music I really didn't like was the music that plays in story scenes. Just not my cup of tea. Overall though the music and sound effects are top notch.
The gameplay in Smackdown! is rivaled only by WWF Wrestlemania 2000 in the fact that the moves are very easy to pull off. The collision detection is right on and the gameplay moves much faster than any other wrestling game ever seen on Playstation. The game features over 30 WWF wrestlers, but a lot of the wrestlers featured in WWF Wrestlemania 2000 are not in WWF Smackdown! The reason for all of the wrestlers from Wrestlemania 2000 not being in WWF Smackdown! is very simple and understandable: the programmers simply did not have enough space to include everyone's entrance videos, so
they simply left them out instead of just having them enter without a video. This is also the reason that there is no commentary, there wasn't enough space to include commentary due to all the space the character movies took up. It would have been cool to see the full motion video of the Blue Meanie entrance video, but I guess I can wait for the next WWF game to see it.
The gameplay in this game had an unique feature that was so very heralded, and thats the unique story mode. It seemed so cool, until I played it. First off, there's only one show a month. What's up with that? Also, the matches seem a little mixed up and some of the matches seem very poorly thought out (like Road Dogg vs Vince McMahon, wtf?) Also, the story scenes are nothing more than ''So and So seems focused for their match tonight against So and So'' As a matter of fact, in my story mode, I keep on getting the women's matches to be Chyna vs Tori vs Debra for some reason, and the only story scenes Im getting are ''You know, I wonder what the Dudleyz are talking about'', even though I am Test and feuding with Billy Gunn! I shouldn't have to worry about what the Dudley Boyz are talking about. The story mode is cool, but a little on the weird side.
The create a wrestler mode is absolute filth compared to the create a wrestler mode found in other wrestling games. First off, you can only choose from a pre-selected wrestler's body. What's up with that? Also, the create a wrestler is very confusing, I just gave up after a while because there was so much options. The only thing better in Attitude than Smackdown!, in my opinion, is the create a wrestler mode. The create a wrestler mode in Attitude was a lot more user-friendly and it didn't use pre selected bodies and heads and stuff. Oh well, a game can't be perfect, right? The create a wrestler mode is terrible. But it does have its good point in the fact that you can build their attributes over time, and after every match you get more and more attribute points that you can use towards your created wrestler. This is really the only good point, though, of an otherwise pretty rotten create a wrestler mode.
So how does this game compare to other wrestling titles? Well, in my opinion its the third best wrestling game ever made. Only Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF European Rampage for the Amiga are more fun to play, in my opinion. This game I expected to be so cool turned out to be very cool, but not quite what I expected. It absolutely kills Attitude, Warzone, and In Your House, but I enjoy WWF Wrestlemania 2000 a lot more. Oh well, this game is very good and is a reccomended purchase anyways.
Replay Value (High)
Im still playing it, trying to put every belt on the wrestlers I picked. Its taking a while, but it will be cool when I get the Hardcore Belt on Hardcore Holly, the women's belt on Tori, the IC belt on Jericho, the WWF title on Test, and the Tag Titles on Kane and Undertaker. I havent completed my goals yet, but I will be very happy when all of those wrestlers have the selected belts on them at the same time. After I do that, I am going to get all the secret added wrestlers like Blue Meanie. Will the madness ever end? I hope not ^_^
The only challenge really is winning all the belts, trying to create a wrestler, and trying to pick up a weapon/doing your finishing move.
WWF Smackdown! is a very good game, but it was far from what I expected. The create a wrestler was terrible and the story mode was not as good as what I expected. Still, it is the best wrestling game on Playstation, and the character entrance videos are worth the 40 bucks you have to shell out, in my opinion.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 05/03/00, Updated 07/16/01
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