WWF SmackDown! review
Spawning the best Wrestling game series ever made

The good:

Easy game to pick up and play
Moves are simple to execute
Best Wrestling game of the time
All the top Wrestlers from the WWF (as it was then) such as 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Undertaker and The Rock

The bad:

Nothing really


This was the game that has spawned one of the most successful Wrestling games series of all time. This game had all the top Wrestlers of the time from the WWF. The gameplay was very easy to pick up and moves were easy to learn. There wasn't that much that was difficult about the game as such, counter attacks, normal moves, special moves are all easy to execute. There are also tons of different matches to do. You can have up to 4 players on the screen and in matches.

Anyone who follows Wrestling will know what this is about. You pick a famous Wrestler from the WWF (as it was then) and try and pin your opponent's shoulders down on the mat for a 3 count. To get them there you can used your fists and various holds and throws. All these moves will cause a bar to build up next to your character name. When it fills all the way a light will light up on your icon. This denotes that you can do your finishing move. This is a signature move that the Wrestler uses on Television and causes more damage than any of your other moves which is usually enough to keep your opponent down long enough to win. Moves generally either knock your opponent down or are submission moves which may randomly win you the match. You stand more chance of a submission move winning you the match if your opponent has taken a lot of damage.

There are various match types such as single match, tag team, cage matches and Battle Royals. The Royal Rumble is also in this which is probably the most famous match. As in the TV shows, weapons such as steel chairs and kendo sticks can be used. In a match type called Hardcore all the players start off with a weapon in hand and you can use them against your opponents. You can swap your weapon by going to the edge of the apron and there you can change it for many of the other weapons commonly used by Wrestlers. The weapons don't do any real damage but they do have a longer range than your punches or kicks so they come in very handy.

In the story mode you fight your way through carded matches. You have your match and the other results are generated randomly, but based on the status of the Wrestler. For example The Undertaker will usually beat someone like Al Snow. Sometimes you will get a title match and if you win that then you become the champion. You can do practice matches of any kind and if you fight a champion you can choose to challenge them for the title.

The Create-a-Wrestler mode in this game was excellent compared to other games at the time. You could choose a face, body, torso and legs as well as height and size of your character. You could choose from either parts from existing Wrestlers or original parts and you could mix and match, so to speak. One of the more hilarious parts was a certain torso which was sort of robotic. When you went to punch, the hand balled up into a large sphere. It did no extra damage but the effect was humorous. You also get to choose all the moves your character can do. Initially you can only choose from weaker moves but more powerful moves become available as you progress through the game. There are some moves that can only be chosen as finishing moves due to their power. Examples are the Stone Cold Stunner and Chokeslam. My first finishing move was a basic suplex because that was all that was available to me at the time. Eventually I chose the Tombstone Piledriver when I unlocked it. Be careful when using a created character to challenge for a belt. If you win the title but then delete your character then you lose the belt as well. While future games safeguarded against this happening, this one didn't and I once deleted as character that held most of the belts and it took me a while to figure out what had happened.

One of the most useful moves in the game is called "Turn Around." (I think) This move turns around anyone who is facing away from you and makes them groggy which enables you to do a finishing move if that's the place you have to do it from. They are also unable to block any moves from this move and I found it invaluable.

As far as downsides to this game go there aren't really any. Everything could be done with extreme simplicity and the game could be played by anyone really. There were three difficulty levels which could be toggled in the options menu. The various match types, diversity of Wrestlers, simplicity of the game and CAW mode made for a very successful and enjoyable game.

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