Review by Menji

"WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw 2006............2006"

JR: OMG it's Smackdown VS. Raw!
King: But that was last year, it's time for the all new Smackdown vs. Raw 2006

SvR follows the normal roots of any wrestling game. But first and foremost, I want to get the bad stuff out of the way. The roster is terribly incomplete, wrestlers are incorrect or in their wrong attire/entrance/music/name, announcers get repetitive, inability to choose superstars voices, names, as your own, inability to take a created belt and actually let someone win it. As for in-ring action, the AI reverses basically everything on Legend and models don't play into where they grab.

But overall, this indeed, is the best Smackdown game to date. With the newly added created entrance and returning created belt you have those extra options of recreating old WWF superstars as well as the missing WWE superstars with help from Create-A-Wrestler. Through CAW, you have the options to fully create a unique superstar and having the full venue of options at your disposal. Add in a custom entrance and you are all set to go. I am a tad disappointed that Create-An-Animation got the ax, as it was a fine tool to use. THQ finally got smart and took out the two cheapest ways to win during a match. First one gone; is the table under the ring in a normal match. You can't set it up in the corner and have your opponent catapult you into it for a quick DQ and you getting the win. The second is that DQ has been automatically turned on in all title matches and triple/fatal 4 way matches so you can't get those easy wins.

A normal match in exhibition usually goes around the lines of you choosing who you want to be and whom you want to fight. You then watch their entrance and then randomly might square off with a staredown or another mini-game for the start of the match advantage. You then do all your moves to try and damage certain parts of your opponent's body in order to execute your finisher to pick up the victory. Each character has a whole lot of moves at their disposal whether they be aerial, submission, flips, slams, punches, kicks, or attacks. Prior to a match, each superstar can either be clean or dirty. Then based on what you do during matches (aerial attacks, taunts, arguing, cheap shots, and weapon attacks) will lower or raise your momentum bar. Unlike previous Smackdown games, you don't build up power and have the ability to store five specials. Now you either can get full momentum and execute your special at full power or store it for later at a lesser power. But, once you have stored one, you can again build up your momentum for two specials. This allows you to execute moves such as; steal finisher, steal taunt, super dirty move, and possum. They do what they say and as for super dirty move, these are big low blows or eye rakes. Possum is an all-new feature that can trick your opponent into thinking you're down but you reverse him into a quick pin. In order, to effectively recreate actual WWE matches, THQ threw in the stamina bar. As you progress through the match, executing moves and running will deplete your bar and you will need to hold down a button just to replenish it. I really believe that this was not needed at all or at least fixed. Running around the outside the ring will replenish it all the way. Surprisingly, they decided to ditch the chop battles and bring in the sleeper system. When you look at the big picture, a whole lot of things (Climbing the cage, exiting the cage door, closing the casket, spanking, sleeper, mini-games, and submissions) are all done while either mashing buttons are filling up a meter to get the desired result. For some this is great, but for others it just doesn't work.

As for new updates, the only new match is the buried-alive one, which is actually done quite well. For some intense tag team action, you can do a 6-Man Tag match in and Elimination Chamber! And for the
On-looker, a new mode known as GM Mode has been created. Here you choose a show, draft superstars and within you budget, create a better show in order to win GM of the year. This is an intense mode were it's much deeper than it sounds. You choose up to six matches a week, set the type, wrestlers and then either watch, skip, or play them. You can promote, bash the other show, send an invasion or just advertise your show.

Season mode, has been fairly re-amped but it's still fun, the first few times. There are numerous storylines that are very enjoyable such as “Undertaker's Urn and Legends Tour” these are completely fictional stories that have never occurred in the WWE so it's nice to see how they unfold. Voice acting is much much better than in the previous ones as just about everyone has their right voice. Of course it would've been real nice if say you wanted to make an updated John Cena and had the ability to use his voice and not one of five already selected voices.

The graphics in this game have really been improved to the limit, these characters really look simply marvelous and bask in the thunderous cheers from the audience who still look like cardboard crap. Really, I hate looking at the crowd. All of them are going crazy and if you look at it for a bit you'll notice there's about six different fan models spread out around the arena and they cheer/getup at the exact same time.

It wasn't until last year's version where they made the switch to putting in real songs and not some custom soundtrack. For the most part they are actually pretty good, except for the song that goes, “Crush, Crush, Kill, Kill, Destroy, Destroy!” Which I can easily change it to what it's really doing, “Crush, Crush, Kill, Kill, Annoy, Annoy!” They even decide to make it so we can't turn on and off the songs we want to listen to and the ones we don't.

This game can easily be beat with one rental, so if your one of those people who like to rush through a game, you'll have no problem beating season mode and getting the challenges done. But if you're one of those who likes to make a whole lot of wrestlers and have fights all the time, this is an absolute buy. You won't be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/29/05, Updated 09/04/07

Game Release: WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 (US, 11/14/05)

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