Review by Psycho Penguin

"Someone at THQ better make sure Steven Richards didn't get his hands on this game.."

I seriously mean that. Because I can see it now. Some random worker at THQ is just minding their own business when suddenly out of nowhere, Steven Richards says ''this wrestling game is immoral. It promotes violence and scanitly clad women and that is simply not acceptable!''. Why do I say this? Because generally speaking, this is one of the most disappointing video games I have ever played. It was well hyped, and for good reason, but the final result was a lot worse than I expected.

Of course, I expected a lot out of this game. How could I not expect a lot? I enjoyed the original WWF Smackdown a lot, to the point I did a full guide for it. It was a fun game despite the fact it did have its flaws. I can go on for hours about the amount of flaws the game had. The story mode was bland and non descriptive, a lot of the videos were outdated, new characters were not added, etc. But the game still had a certain charm to it. It just was fun to play, and I did not get annoyed with it three hours into game play.

That is not to say WWF Smackdown 2 is a horrible game, because it isn't. In all honesty, I was actually kind of impressed with the quality of the game. It had a lot of good points, however three main things made the game turn into the clusterfrick I consider it as. Those three things are slowdown, loading times, and memory card problems. This is where Steven Richards comes into play, I say. I say he busted into THQ headquarters one night, and this is probably what he did..

Steven Richards: ''This game is immoral and will not be tolerated!''

Bull Buchanan: -random jibberish that no one can understand-

Steven Richards: ''That's right! We must fight the good fight and save the fans of this show from the violence and sexuality it promotes!''

Goodfather: ''I got a great idea, Steven! Let's make the game so it takes four years to get through a show in season mode! Then let's add all sorts of slowdown issues to some of the matches! Them, I got the perfect idea! Let's have it so the game erases files sometimes, even on brand new memory cards! When people get a hold of these errors, they aren't going to want to play it!''

Steven Richards: ''That's genius! Round the troops up! We will fight the good fight by censoring this game and it is for their own good!''

Well, they were right, and they were wrong. The fact that the game erased my file four times, with three different copies of the game, two brand new memory cards, and two Playstations, kind of annoyed me. It annoyed mt to the point where I may never play another season mode again, because my last four erased on me. I was able to unlock all the secret characters and other options, like the TLC Match, so I think I can review this game and give it my honest opinion now that I have played every match with every wrestler.

The story line of the game.. well it's different every time you play it. See, think of this game as an actual World Wrestling Federation television show. Different angles with different characters occur all the time on the television show, and it happens in this game, as well. So, I cannot really sit here and comment on an actual story line set in stone for this game, because quite honestly, there is not one. However, I can comment on the angles that the game uses, and to say I was not impressed would be a serious understatement.

One of the things I disliked most about the original WWF Smackdown was the fact the season mode featured incredibly boring and bland story line angles. This game is just as bad. For one thing, the hyped ''matches during shows lead to match at pay per view'' feature does not hold true. For instance, Buh Buh Ray Dudley was feuding with Road Dogg and X-Pac for a while. At the pay per view, I expected Buh Buh Ray Dudley to be involved in a match with either Road Dogg and X-Pac, or maybe both. So, what do I get? Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs. Kane in a falls count anywhere match! How in the hell does that happen? They didn't give a damn about each other during the series of shows in the month. Why are they fighting now? It is pointless, and I was definitely disappointed with that aspect.

Another thing that was kind of hyped about this game was the new scenes it would provide. But what new scenes were there, really? All of the exciting stuff only happens when you get a new wrestler to unlock. Like when the Mean Street Posse is hired by Shane McMahon to take out Steve Blackman, or when Shawn Michaels announces himself as the special referee for Judgement Day. Those are about the only types of scenes that are really any interesting, as the rest of the stuff is pure garbage. Some of the story scenes in the game are interesting and fit in well with the flow of the game. But some of the story scenes in the game just do not make any sense, whatsoever!

For instance, the camera is following Undertaker as he walks along. Suddenly he walks behind a wall, and the camera fails to follow. Loud noises occur, cameraman runs, Undertaker is down. Next match, then the following scene (after two long loading screens, featuring your not so favorite wrestlers), which is basically him saying ''I think my ankle is hurt''. WOW. What a damn doctor he is. ''Some guy just whacked my ankle with a metal rod 20 times, hmmm I think my ankle is hurt''. Gee whiz, I wish I had the Undertaker as a doctor, I doubt I would have the stomach problems I have today! Personally, I would go up to Undertaker and beat the crap out of him with a waffle iron instead of listening to him cry about his ankle, but the game doesn't let you do that, because that would actually be enjoyable.

Finally, the ''interviews'', which is basically ''let the wrestler say two lines, pause for 10 seconds, leaves and mumbling more stuff, as Michael Cole shrugs his shoulders to the cameraman.'' The same thing happens every time! I swear it is one of the most annoying aspects of the game. I will literally be bored to sleep as The Rock says such electfrying things as ''You may have won tonight, (insert wrestler name here) but it is not over yet!''. Then there are the two most wonderful scenes ever: ''(insert wrestler) is here!'' and ''(insert wrestler) is satisfied with the victory.''. The first one is plain dumb, as you better hope every wrestler is there, so why does one wrestler make a difference? Am I supposed to be excited that The Rock is here when I am Tazz and feuding with Kane? And the second one.. I would be satisfied with any win, so the thing makes no sense and is a waste of space.

This ends my ranting on the ''story scenes'' and other story aspects of the game.

Now, I will talk about the graphics in the game. These are not the best graphics I have ever seen, but I have definitely seen worse. The thing that irritated me most about these graphics was the slowdown that plagued almost every kind of match in the game. I got sick of having to watch my guy slowly do a move off the top rope in a ladder match, for instance. It got annoying very quickly because I have never been a fan of slowdown, at all, especially when it is unwarranted for. Did this game need to feature slowdown? Nope, not at all. Did it feature slowdown? Yes! I am definitely disappointed in THQ.

The rest of the graphics, besides the problem with slowdown, are actually pretty good. Let me talk about the character designs in the game first. One of the main problems I had with the original Smackdown when it came to graphics was the fact that the character designs did not look particularly realistic, especially when compared to their television counterparts. Especially Test, my favorite wrestler at the time, he looked like some 1980’s punk rock band with his short tights and braided blonde hair.. what the hell? Fortunately, he looks much more up to date and realistic in this game, as do the rest of the character designs.

The ring models and other scenes look all right, but I was definitely disappointed by the look of some of the story scenes of the game. They looked okay, if you did not have the ability to see clipping and other polygon-related problems. Simply put, I was disgusted with how some of the story scenes in the game looked. Let’s say, for example, The Undertaker is talking to Michael Cole about a recent match. The background is okay, but the characters look awful. Undertaker’s entire face will look messed up, and his body will slow signs of extreme tearing. It’s sort of like his leg is being eaten by parasites or something. I was definitely disappointed with the graphics featured in the story scenes of the game.

One of the things I liked most about the original Smackdown was the entrance videos featured in the game. While most wrestling games at the time had the wrestler come out to their entrance music (with the exception of WCW/nWo Thunder, which no one has played in a year, anyway), THQ decided to have wrestlers come out to their actual entrance videos. Yep, they would walk out in front of a ten to fifteen second clip of their entrance video, and it definitely was awesome. Well, I am pleased to say that not only did THQ decide to revitalize this aspect, they actually improved on it, as well. The entrance videos have been updated to their current status (besides The Rock, Billy Gunn, Ivory, The Undertaker, Triple H, and Rikishi), and they actually run longer.

All of the ring entrances are here too, despite the fact the ring is not shown. The Rock puts his hand up in all four corners, Chyna shoots off her little gun, etc. They definitely look awesome, and I also liked how the ring entrance name for the wrestlers would have a different design, depending on the show they were wrestling in, just like the actual television show. That was awesome! The ring entrances were definitely much improved over the original WWF Smackdown, and I loved them to death in that game, too! I am definitely a fan of the entrance videos and ring entrances featured in this game, to say the absolute least.

Now, I will discuss the music and sound effects featured in the game. To say I was disappointed with the music in this game would be a bit of an understatement. I remember the original Smackdown music to this day, as it had a nice beat to it and sounded pretty neat. But this game decided to go an opposite route in the story scenes and play this rock beat type music. The result is some of the worst sounding music I have heard, because it just didn’t fit any of the scenes particularly well. I really did not like any of the music featured in any of the story scenes, at all, and I was disappointed by that fact, because I expected to like the music in the game. The music during actual game play was all right, and I definitely did not have to put the game on mute in order to enjoy it, but I was a little disappointed nevertheless, and felt the music could have been done better.

The sound effects in the game are all right but could have been better. One thing I remember reading about in a magazine preview of this game a while back was that the wrestlers actually had voice acting clips, well some of them did. So, of course, I expected them to be featured in the actual game play, matches, etc. Well, it turns out that this is not like WWF Attitude, where the voice acting clips are heard during the match. Nope, instead you only hear stuff like ''And that’s the bottom line, because Stone Cold said so!'' and ''If ya smelllllll la la what the Rock is cookin’!'' only occasionally during the rare cool cut scene. That’s it, so I was disappointed. The only sound effect you hear during the match is the sound of the bell ringing and the sound of you smashing through the cage or something. And the sound effect that plays when you want to choose a wrestler and go back and forth, ugh, it is so annoying!

Now, I will discuss the control of the game. It is pretty easy to control your characters in the game, as you do not have to type in insane button combinations just to do simple moves like a Pile Driver. Think of it as being just like the original Smackdown in terms of control and you will have a basic feel of what the control in this game is like when it comes to being able to pull off moves. It is easy to move your character around, although I had a bit of trouble at first with the Hell in a Cell and Tables matches. See, I did not know how to put your opponent or to go outside of the cage, so I was waiting for a while, trying to get out. I finally learned how to, and I have had no problems getting out of the cage ever since. The control in this game is just awesome!

The biggest portion of the game I expected to like was, of course, the game play. Let me talk about the variety of wrestlers you can choose from in this game. And let me tell you, if there was a wrestler in the federation at the time of this game, then chances are that wrestler is in the game. About the only wrestlers featured on television now that are not in this game are William Regal, Mideon, K-Kiwk, Molly Holly, and Just Joe. That’s it. The rest of them, for the most part, are in this game. Even guys like Rodney and Gerald Brisco are in this game. I loved how I was able to make tag teams too, as I made teams like Dean Malenko and Essa Rios (Team Lightweight!) and the team of Edge and Jeff Hardy! Test and D-Lo Brown was an option, but I decided to keep them as a singles competitors, since they are always mired in tag teams, anyway.

Let me discuss how to make tag teams and stables real quick. Out of the many modes in the game, the one I enjoyed most was the Create a Stable mode. In this mode, you can modify existing stables and tag teams, and create new ones. A stable can have anywhere from 2-5 wrestlers, so you can make a stable, or tag team, and put anyone you want in there. Ever want to see Edge, Christian, and the Hardy Boyz kiss and make up (remember they were friends back in late 1999 around Survivor Series?)?. Well you can put them in their own stable, and have Gangrel or someone be their leader! The possibilities are endless, and I really enjoyed that particular mode featured in the game.

There are a lot of other modes in the game to choose from, as well. Not only does the game feature Create-A-Wrestler and Create-A-PPV modes, it also features a Create-A-Taunt mode, which allows you to basically make your own taunt. There is a lot of different options in this mode, which almost makes it like RPG Maker in terms of complexity. It is definitely fun, however. I remember everyone hated the original WWF Smackdown’s Create a Wrestler mode, because you had to choose existing wrestler’s body parts to make your own wrestler. Well, I am pleased to say THQ listened and fixed the flaws found in the original’s Create a Wrestler mode. Now, it is just like WWF Attitude in terms of how you can modify your wrestler. The amount of options and body parts you can choose from is simply staggering. I really enjoyed this mode, as well.

The season mode in the game was supposed to be improved over the original’s season mode, and for the most part is was, but I could not help but be disappointed in it. You now have the ability to go through years of season, but it takes longer this time. Because this time you do not get one show per month (something I never really understood about the original), but instead you get four shows and a pay per view per month. It is still not as much as real television, but come on now, if you had to go through eight shows and a pay per view per month, you would be burned out by the end of the first year. Especially with all the loading times that plagues the season mode and makes it almost unplayable, it just kills the mode basically. Well, I would probably still be playing through it (because you can unlock secret characters and matches in this mode) had the game not erased my damn file four times!

There is simply a staggering amount of matches you can choose from, as well. You can do single matches, which is basically one on one matches (with the ability to include or not include managers for the wrestlers participating in the match), tag team matches, hardcore matches, and anywhere fall matches (they take place in the backstage area, and you can go back and forth between areas, like the kitchen and stuff, it’s rather fun). Also, there are handicap matches (two on one or three on one matches, definitely fun stuff), king of the ring (fight your way through three rounds to become king of the ring), royal rumble (basically like a battle royal but you throw your opponent out over the ropes only and a new superstar enters every 60 seconds), Survivor (Triple Threat, Fatal Four Way, or Battle Royal), and Special.

The amount of Special matches in this game is awesome. You can choose from the TLC match, which basically is a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. You have to unlock this match, and the point of the match is to put your opponent through a table, but you can use ladders and chairs in the process. You can choose a Casket match, where the object is basically to put your opponent in a casket then shut the door of the casket. Or you can do a Cage match, where you and your opponent are surrounded by a steel cage, and the only way to win is to climb out of it. Try your hand in the Hell in a Cell match, which is like a steel cage match, only it has a ceiling. You can climb out of it and head to the top of the Hell in a Cell, which is awesome. Then there is the I Quit match, where the only way to win is to get your opponent to say they quit. There is the Iron Man match, which makes you pin your opponent more times than they pin you in a certain time limit.

Ladder matches are the specialty of the Hardy Boyz, the way to win is to climb a ladder and reach the item found hanging above the ring. You can use the ladder as a weapon during the match, which adds an element of excitement to the match. There is a special referee match, which basically allows you to screw one of your most hated superstars by throwing him in a match and then having his opponent pin him for the quick 3 count, which you count, by the way. Then there is the infamous Tables match, specialty match of those damn Dudleyz. Basically, first team to put their opponents through the tables wins. Finally, there is a slobberknocker match, which basically is like a Gauntlet match of sorts. Your goal is to eliminate as any opponents as you can by either a KO or pin. However, you need to do it before the time runs out, or before you are eliminated!

Overall, I can see why everyone else loved this game, but I am not being persuaded by the evil of THQ. Just look at this mess. The graphics could have been better, the music could have been better, everything could have been better! I loved how easy it was to do moves, and I loved the actual matches, but the season mode suffered greatly because of the slowdown, loading times, and memory card problems that plague this game. It is a fun game, but it is not as fun as everyone else claims, in my opinion. It is still worth at least a rental though, especially if you are a WWF fan.

Good Points
-The actual game itself is very fun to play, as the match speed is nice and fast.
-There is a nice variety of wrestlers to choose from.
-The Create-A-Wrestler mode is much improved.
-There is an awesome amount of modes and options to choose from.
-The control is great, as the moves are easy enough to pull off.

Not So Good Points
-The music and sound effects in the game are not that great.
-The graphics could have been improved.
-The season mode suffers from long loading times.
-The story scenes in the game suck and are generally boring.
-I hated how long it took to go through one show in season mode.
-My file erased four times! And it happened to my friend, too! With three different memory cards, three different copies of the game, and two different Playstations!

I Run Down The Ratings.. DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line – 3.1/10
Graphics – 7.1/10
Music – 6.8/10
Sound Effects – 6.3/10
Control – 7.1/10
Game Play – 6.3/10
Replay Value – Average
Challenge – Above Average (Mike Sanders)
Is this game worth a purchase? - Yeah.
Overall - 6.4/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 12/29/00, Updated 07/16/01

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