Reviewed by Yoshi-M
As some of you may know, I happen to be a WCW fan. However,
this does not influence my judgment when it comes to wrestling
games. Case in point: Wrestlemania 2000. It was created by THQ,
the same guys who released the great WCW vs. NWO World Tour
and WCW/NWO Revenge. Now that EA has the WCW license and
has botched that up, THQ steps up to the plate to show EA how
wrasslin' is done.
Wrestlemania 2000 takes us into the wrestling world of the
World Wrestling Federation. You choose what wrestler you wish
to be (from a healthy list of characters like Stone Cold Steve
Austin, Undertaker, Mankind, Triple H, and more) and select
from a variety of playing options. You can select Exhibition
which is kind of like a quick fix of wrestling by yourself or with
friends. Other modes include Road to Wrestlemania, where you
select a character and take him (or her) through the weekly shows
and monthly pay per views, earning and defending titles until you
reach Wrestlemania. There is also King of the Ring, where you
choose (or randomly choose) what wrestlers are going to battle
it out elimination style until you get down to 2 wrestlers. There
is even the Royal Rumble, where you have to go through 40
wrestlers (4 at a time including your character) by knocking
them out of the ring, who are then replaced by another wrestler
until there are no more left.
If you have played THQ's other wrestling games for the Nintendo 64,
you will notice the grappling system has returned in Wrestlemania 2K.
The controls are very simple: A is to grapple (grab your opponent),
B is to Punch/Kick, the C buttons control running, jumping over
opponents, and lifting them over your head (when grappled from
behind), and the triggers handle blocking. The analog stick
controls the taunts (which is now selectable by pressing a
direction on the control pad and then moving the stick), and
the wrestlers have their major taunts (Austin flicks people off,
Mr. A.. ahem, Billy Gunn moons people, Mankind pulls Socko out
of his drawers, etc.). A feature that was absent in the WCW
games has finally made its way to W2K: Create A Wrestler! This
very intuitive creation system is easy to use and very thorough.
There are many taunts, faces, hair styles, body styles, outfits,
accessories, fighting styles, music, and videos you can select
from. Your wrestler has 133 moves (give or take) you can
select and tweek via a variety of menus. Not sure what a
hurracanrana looks like? Select it and press C left to watch
your creation perform the move. What's also neat about the
create a wrestler is that many, if not all, of the moves and
taunts from the WCW games are intact in W2K! My friends and I
were able to easily create Goldberg, Hulk Hogan, Chris Benoit,
Bret Hart, Scott Hall, and more, down to their signature moves
and taunts! The characters are then saved on the cartridge itself,
which holds 16 or so player created wrestlers. You can then move
or copy them to memory paks to share with your friends.
W2K, by far, has the most attitude out of all the Nintendo 64 wrestling
games. The ring entrances for major characters include their
theme music and their own video (shown on the jumbo tron
above the entrance). The wrestlers also taunt at the entrance,
walk their own special way to the ring (Austin's swagger, for
example), and then do another taunt when they are in the ring
(Kane raises his arms then drops them, flames spouting from
the ring posts, is one example). The home brewed wrestlers can
also have music and videos(by using WWF character music and
videos), along with a lot of walking styles and taunts to choose from.
Graphics 4 out of 5
Since THQ decided to use the old Revenge engine, the graphics
have not improved. Though the backgrounds, croud, and entrance
graphics look great, and the wrestlers animate beautifully, there
isn't much in the department of soft skinning (as seen in previous
WWF games). At times, you can see through the polygons at the
joints, and the arms look like doll arms (you know, the kind that
look like you can pull off). That aside, the animation is very fluid
and very realistic, which makes the lack of graphic improvement
forgivable. No slow down in this game. A great example of the
animations are the taunts. Blue Meanie's dance is hilarious!
Music and Sound 5 out of 5
"CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN'?" you hear blare
from the stadium speakers as The Rock makes his entrance.
Yes, you hear the theme music of the wrestlers, voice and all.
While it does sound kind of muffled, what's cool is that the music
does sound that way at a real live event. The sounds of impacts
are on the money, with the sound of squeaking boots, the bending
sound of the ropes, and the slams onto the mat. The background
music is okay, and the great feature with that is you can turn it
off! THQ did a very good job bringing the sounds of Sports
Entertainment to the Nintendo 64. The only thing missing out of
W2K and other recent titles is the commentary, but I think that
usually got old after a while anyway.
Game Challenge 4 out of 5
While Exhibition can be somewhat easy, Royal Rumbles, King
of the Ring, and especially the Road to Wrestlemania can be
brutal. Depending on the characters you face, it can go fairly
easy, be a good workout, or be a dragged out slobberknocker.
The Road is a long process, and at times you don't always win.
When there are titles on the line, look out! The computer gets
ruthless. With an adjustable difficulty, this games got enough
challenge to keep you coming back.
Game Play-Fun 5 out of 5
Create a wrestler, tag team matches, weapons and blood,
this game has it all! This is a great game to play by yourself
or with friends (especially with friends). The Create a Wrestler
can get tedious if you start from scratch, but the Clone ability
allows you to clone other wrestlers, and then you can adjust
looks and moves from there.
The computer AI is still not the brightest. Good example: tag team
matches. When you have your CPU controlled opponent pinned, a
chance is given to your partner and the CPU's partner to jump in
the ring. Your CPU partner tends to either stay on the apron or
wander in and not do a thing! Or, when you need to tag out
because you are getting beat on, your CPU buddy is not there
and is busy stalking the other CPU opponent. Argh!
Another frustrating point is that the CPU blocks. A lot. When
you crank up the difficulty, the computer becomes near
impossible to hit due to blocks or constant reversals. I had hoped
THQ would make some things more realistic (like when a person is
drop kicked, a puffed out chest doesn't repel the attack). Basically,
you have to move really quick with weak attacks and grapples to
wear down the computer, and then things will start to go your
way. But, man, it stinks sometimes.
Replayability 5 out of 5
There is a lot of power given to the player here: create a wrestler,
create a Pay Per View event (you name it and the location), create
a belt (name the belt and pick a design for it), and the actual game
itself. Its pretty much never the same game twice, 'cause in
wrestling, anything can happen.
Game Value 5 out of 5
What can I say, its got the grapple system, the ability to create
a lot of characters, belts, and events, what more can you ask for?
Overall 5 out of 5
This is, by far, the best wrestling game available on the Nintendo 64. THQ
has taken all the elements that make wrestling great and managed
to squeeze that into a small piece of plastic. If you are looking for a
good old wrasslin' game, the buck stops here. Period.