Review by Psycho Penguin

Reviewed: 01/06/02 | Updated: 01/06/02

DDP would have a FIELD DAY with this game.. "The graphics aren't a bad thing, they're a good thing!"

It's no secret that I am a huge wrestling fan. Despite the fact I have suddenly become disinterested due to the stupid storylines and lack of any sort of continuance, I still enjoy watching wrestling. There has been a sudden explosion of popularity in recent years for the ''sport'', therefore, it comes as no surprise that a ton of wrestling games have been released lately. While each of them have their own qualities and flaws, I think it is safe to say that no wrestling game has ever come as close to being perfect as WWF No Mercy has.

Released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, WWF No Mercy is definitely the pinnacle of THQ's legendary wrestling series that began with WCW/nWo World Tour in 1996. Featuring all of the same qualities that made the games so fun to play, and adding new innovative ideas, there is no question that WWF No Mercy is the greatest wrestling game ever created. Even wuth the flaws, Asmik has made a high quality wrestling title that can be enjoyed by anyone, even those that completely hate wrestling and everything about it. It is definitely a special game.

I will admit that I was a little skeptical about the game at first. Would it be just another disappointment, or would it be the bread and butter of the series? I was not too thrilled with WWF Smackdown! 2, to say the least. Therefore, it was realistic for me to be worried about the quality of the game. When I finally got the game, my qualms and fears were laid to rest in a hurry. Hell, this game slammed all my fears into a little box, locked them up, and threw away the key. I was truly impressed, and still am to this day.

Those of you that watch wrestling know that the show features a lot of unique and interesting storylines with twists. It's almost like watching a soap opera. In fact, many people have compared it to a soap opera in the past. Of course, there is no way that Asmik could have incorporated a storyline into the game. Instead, using the game's story mode, you can make your own storyline, but don't expect a fantastic mode that allows you total freedom. You won't get to make feuds or rivalries on your own. Instead, you choose a character and choose what belt you want to go through.

Your character than has to go through a unique series of events and matches, making your own allies and enemies. It may sound good, but you don't get to control who your allies or enemies are directly. The game chooses a character, and then you can choose if you want them to be an ally or not. Usually, this person is someone like a Shane McMahon. It's a little disappointing, because it would have been truly awesome to be in an in depth story mode that allowed total freedom of your future. Regardless, the mode is still solid, as events go on, you have to do more and more things. For instance, let's say you go against Shane. He'll send DX on you, and you have to beat them 2 on 1 in a handicap match. I think that no matter what path you choose, you always end up in a handicap match.

The cool thing about the story mode is how in depth it is in terms of allowing your character to choose their own path. Through a series of your own decision, you will follow a little path along a chart. At the end of the path, you get whatever the path you choose wants you to get. Usually you end up with the title belt, then you have to defend it once or twice. Each time you open up a new path, you open up a little more of the percentage. Each belt has a percentage, and each time you get a new path opened in the belt's mode, the percentage goes up. This adds a lot to the replay value.

When you win a story mode, you get cash towards the Smackdown Mall. What is the Smackdown Mall? It is simply one of the coolest things ever implemented into a wrestling video game. It acts as a create a wrestler feature, on the side of the actual create a wrestler mode. In the mall, you can use your money towards unlocking outfits, moves, etc. You only get a certain amount of outfits, moves, and weapons to start off with in the CAW mode, but as you unlock more and more, using money you get in the story mode, you can get more and more outfits and moves to make your created wrestler even cooler and stronger. I really loved this element.

The create a wrestler feature is back, and while it is not as in depth as you may like, it is still one of the best, and much improved over the disappointing create a wrestler mode in Wrestlemania 2000. You can make your created wrestler any way you like. You can choose his ring attire, entrance music and video, portrait photo, moves, everything. When you go into the moves section, be prepared to be blown away. each wrestler has a bunch of different move sets, like front grapple, then you can choose between hundreds of moves to make a move set for each grapple type. Each move has a damage meter, and fortunately, you can see what the move is before you choose it, so you don't have to know what a Half Boston Crab is in order to select one, since you can see a preview of it as you highlight it.

Another cool mode, while being recycled from Wrestlemania 2000, is the Create a PPV mode. As someone who loves to creatre feuds and storylines, the create a PPV mode is a godsend, and icing on the cake to an awesome list of modes. you can set up a PPV, everything from the name of the pay per view, to the amount of matches, to what kind of matches. Ever want to see the APA take on Road Dogg in a first blood handicap match? Put it on the card! Want Essa Rios to main event a Wrestlemania? It's possible here! The fun part is running the feuds through the exhibition mode, like having Road Dogg vs. Faarooq and having road Dogg open Faarooq up with a stop sign, drawing a DW, which sets up the handicap first blood match at the PPV. It's rather endless, and quite fun.

There are a bunch of new matches in the game, which really adds to the fun factor. The newest addition is the ladder match. Everyone will love the ladder match, guaranteed. It is simply the most fun match in the game, and it is a great way to end long time feuds and storylines. Despite the fact it runs a bit slower than I expected (when you throw the ladder around, the ladder just kind of skips animation, which is not really that big of a deal), it is still majorly fun. There is a problem, though. Every ladder match can be won the same way, so once you figure out exactly how to win one, you'll just try to do that as quickly as possible, which takes away all of the true fun of the ladder match (like totally anhillating your opponent).

Other matches include steel cage, guest referee, and handicap match, in addition to all the classic matches you've come to expect. An easy way to change the championship belts is by having the champion defend them in an exhibition mode, then defeating them. You will have a ton of fun with all of the different matches and modes in the game, despite the fact that some of the matches are slower than you would expect. In addition to the ladder match, the cage match also suffers from a lot of slowdown and lag time. It's quite disappointing, but you will get over it soon enough.

There are a ton of new matches and wrestlers in the game, which really adds to the replay value. Despite the fact that some wrestlers that should have been in the game aren't, and some of the wrestlers that are in the game shouldn't be (Mae Young, anyone?), this is still one of the most impressive rosters ever assembled for a wrestling game. And chances are anyone will be able to find a wrestler they like. TYhe game definitely has a ton of unique characters to choose from, that's for sure.

Of course, none of this would matter much at all if the game wasn't fun to play, and this is truly fun, as the game engine is an improved version of the classic Wrestlemania 2000/Revenge. Being a huge fan of this engine, I was glad to see it implemented into the game. Grappling is now as easy as ever, hold down A to do a strong grapple, push A once to do a weak grapple. The cool thing is that each grapple position allows you to do 4 moves, by pushing the directional button and A. So, up and A will allow you to do something different than down and A. This leads to a ton of variety in the matches, despite the fact you will probably end up doing the same moves over and over again. That's not the developers fault, though, as they certainly tried hard as possible to make unique and fun matches.

The cool thing about the game engine is how realistic it is. While in some wrestling games, you can pretty much do any move at any time, this game forces you to do certain moves in certain situations. For instance, let's say you are Scotty 2 Hotty and are wrestling Andre the Giant. You won't be able to do much of anything at first, but as you make him weaker, you will soon be able to powerslam and suplex him. While this is unrealistic in the sense that Scotty wouldn't ever be able to suplex Andre in real life, it is certainly more realistic than him being able to suplex Andre at any time he wants. If you try to suplex him too soon, he'll just reverse it. So, there's a reason you won't want to do big moves at first. It definitely increases the challenge of the game a bit.

The weapons system is also particuarly cool. When you go outside of the ring, you can go over to the crowd and press the direction you are facing in's C button to get a weapon. There is a ton of weapons to choose from, from stop signs to sledge hammers. Each weapon does a certain amount of damage, but no weapon will allow you to win a match. This is again a little unrealistic in real life, but in a wrestling game, this was the perfect way to do the weapons system. It's also cool how if you are a heel, you won't get weapons as much as if you werew a babyface.

Graphically, this is one of the better looking wrestling games of all time. the characters animate really nicely. When you walk around the ring, they actually move normally, and they don't look like they have constipation problems. The wrestlers all look top notch, even when viewed up close. I was impressed with this, because of the fact that the wrestlers in Wrestlemania 2000 looked pretty crappy when viewed up close. The various game enviornments look wonderful, despite the fact that sometimes things appear a little too dark. Everything is well detailed, even the crowd, and the backstage areas look ten times better than I expected them to.

One disappointment with the graphics were the entrances. I absolutely love the entrances in wrestling games, which is why I was truly disappointed with the entrances here. I expected them to be so much better than they ended up being. Basically, your wrestler comes out of the entrance, walks for about four seconds, then the screen turns white, and they're walking down the ramp, then it turns white again, and they're in the ring. It's a truly disappointing experience, as I expected the entrances to be a whole lot cooler than that. Regardless, entrances aren't the most important thing in the world, so let's move on.

Not only do the lackluster entrances affect the graphics, they also affect the music, which could have been special, but ended up only average. The entrance music is the biggest crime here. I would have loved to hear more of the entrance music in the entrances, but hey, I can hear all the entrance music i want in the create a wrestler mode anyways. So, it's not really that huge of a loss. I am a huge fan of entrance music in wrestling and was so glad to see that all of the entrance music I love is in the game. Of course, the Corporate Ministry theme isn't in the game, but oh well. The rest of the game music is truly disappointing. None of the themes are particuarly good. The music is definitely the low point of an otherwise fantastic game.

Sound effects are about what you'd expect. There is no commentary in the game, due to the lack of memory in a Nintendo 64 cartridge. However, I don't see why everyone complained about this so much. Anyone who has heard the commentary in any game that has commentary, like Smackdown 3 JBI or Attitude, knows how crappy commentary is. Therefore, I am happy that this game has no commentary to speak of. The rest of the sound effects are your basic wrestling game fare. I was a little disappointed with the lack of wrestler taunts and voices, but I will live.

You will definitely want to replay this game a lot, as there is simply so much do to, and the game is truly fun to play. Unlocking all the secrets will take a long time. Unlocking 100 percent in every belt will take a while. Getting every wrestler to win a title will take a while. I always find a new goal for this game, like getting Essa Rios to win every title at one time, that I never get bored. I don't think you will ever get bored, either. This is a truly fun game on all levels, and the amount of replay value in this game is truly amazing.

Sadly, the game does have a bit of a challenge problem, as does pretty much any wrestling game out there on the market. This is to be expected, however, due to the fact that a wrestling game can only be challenging for so long. Any game like this is like that, to be honest with you. Regardless, the game is certainly difficult while it lasts. Soon, however, it becomes easier. Putting it on the more challenging levels of difficulty helps, but even that will soon go away. Handicap matches are always challenging, however, so try those if you get bored.

I was truly blown away with this game, as it combines all these wonderful elements into one sleek package. For every minor fault, there's ten awesome qualities. With a truly wonderful gameplay experience, fun gameplay, awesome controls, a wonderful engine, and some awesome graphics, this is the best wrestling game ever created, and one of the best games ever released, period. Anyone will be able to enjoy this game, and that's probably the best compliment anyone can ever give to this game.

Good Points
-The amount of modes, wrestlers, and matches is truly staggering.
-The game is simply a blast to play.
-The controls and game engine are wonderful.
-The graphics flat out rock.
-The game does NOT feature commentary.
-The story mode means tons of replay value all around.

Not So Good Points
-The game becomes easier by the match.
-The story mode does not allow you to choose your own storyline.
-It really sucks in the music department.
-Test is not the best wrestler in the game.

Best Part of Game
Turning Viscera into King Mabel.

I Run Down The Game... Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - Not Available
Graphics - 9.4/10
Music - 4.8/10
Sound Effects - 6.3/10
Controls - 9.7/10
Gameplay - 9.8/10
Replay Value - Endless
Challenge - Barely Average
Game Length - Limitless
Is This Game Worth A Purchase? - What do you need, a written invitation?
Overall - 9.7/10

The Bottom Line
Since this review is over, go out and get the game. Get the console, too, if you need it. It's worth it to play this incredible game.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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