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Video Games: July 2004 Update



By: Russ
9 July 2004

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Welcome once again to everyone's favourite update on the world of wrestling games. It's been a surprisingly busy summer on the gaming front, with everything from new titles being released to more news appearing about the promising games of the future. So without further ago, let's examine the news that's been making waves.

The past few weeks have seen the release of the eagerly awaited Legends Of Wrestling: Showdown for PS2 and X Box. The bad news for Acclaim is that there has been a lot of negative vibes around the game from many of the big time magazines and websites. Scores of 5/10 and 50% have been common to find everywhere, which isn't what Acclaim want to hear in the state that they're in (more on that later). Wrestling101's very own Dan has given us his thoughts on the game, and has given the game one of the most positive reviews I've seen around. Dan can always be counted on to deliver a great review, so do yourself a favour and take a gander at his thoughts on LOW:Showdown before making the purchase. The review can be found here.

Now, a bit more on Acclaim. The company which is famous for their Legends Of Wrestling and WWF games, before THQ gained the licence, lost a staggering $56 million in the previous financial year. You don't have to be JBL to realise that these figures don't make comfortable reading for the guys at Acclaim. To add insult to injury, GMAC, a major lender in the American finance market, will no longer be loaning Acclaim any more money. The current state of play is that Acclaim are negotiating with a new lender, and trying to secure a financing deal with them. Acclaim themselves have admitted that if this deal falls through, the future of the company will be very uncertain, and they may need to cease operations.

In my opinion, this is terrible news. Just like the wrestling business, video game companies need rivals to spur them on. If Acclaim hadn't of put a Create A Wrestler mode in WWF Warzone, we might not have had it in Smackdown!, No Mercy, Raw or any game released in the past few years. Competition encourages efficiency and innovation in all walks of life, as businesses try to outdo their rivals. If Acclaim stop producing games, this will be bad news for all parties. The consumers won't get any more Legends Of Wrestling games and rival developers won't have quite the same level of intense competition. All I can do is wish Acclaim well and hope that they can strike a deal to save their organisation.

Now, a bit of unconfirmed news that we all like to hear. On THQ's French website (THQ.fr), there's a little description about all of THQ's upcoming games in French. Thanks to my Rene Dupree sounding translator, I can reveal that one of the modes confirmed by THQ France for Smackdown! Vs Raw is Online play. Is this the news that wrestling game fans have been waiting for? Will we be able to play friends and strangers from the comfort of our own homes at TLC and Hell In A Cell matches? Maybe THQ could even include roster updates and new music/Titantrons to download. Perhaps even new storylines and moves? Well, I'm guilty of getting carried away, but it's a very tasty proposition indeed. Nothing has been confirmed yet, and it may very well just be a mix up between the language barriers, but here's hoping that Smackdown! Vs Raw for PS2 will boast an impressive online mode.

For Gamecube owners, they'll be happy to know that The Day Of Reckoning draws ever closer. Fortunately, it's just THQ's new WWE game called WWE Day Of Reckoning, not the end of the world. Some reports, however, have been going around that the game plays far too fast. Now, DoR is being developed by Yukes, famous for their lightning fast Smackdown! games, so it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. But this won't be pleasant reading for fans of slower, simulation style wrestling games. Another interesting chestnut appears to be that you start career mode outside of WWE, which is quite a bold step for an official World Wrestling Entertainment game. The career mode sees you take your character from working outside of America's biggest promotion before getting into McMahon, if you're successful. It'll be very interesting to see how WWE and THQ portray what they think of other wrestling organisations, when the game hits US stores in late August, and October in the UK.

Rumble Roses, Konami's "adult" wrestling game, has caused a bit of controversy with it's proposed "hands free" mode. Technically, this is just a CPU Vs CPU match, and has been done a million times before. However, due to the racy nature of the game, the title of this mode suggests that a few teenage boys who manage to obtain the game will be thinking of other things while the half naked ladies grapple in front of him. If Konami are trying to get a lot of publicity for this game through making it as saucy as possible, they're doing a great job.

Another news tidbit comes from .400 Software Studios. In a press release, the company announced that Adam Ryland's wrestling promotion simulator series, Total Extreme Warfare, will now be known as Total Extreme Wrestling. This is apparently to "distinguish (the) previous Extreme Warfare Revenge series from the newly designed Total Extreme Warfare series". I couldn't have said it better myself.

Unfortunately, there's not much more news on Def Jam 2, WWE Wrestlemania 21 or WWE Survivor Series for the Gameboy. Hopefully EA and THQ will start releasing more info in the near future.

If you're interested in when the upcoming batch of wrestling games will be out, you've come to the right place. Here's the release dates for the UK.

  • WWE Day Of Reckoning (Gamecube)- 01/10/04
  • Def Jam Vendetta II: Fight For New York (PS2)- 30/10/04
  • WWX: Rumble Rose (PS2)- 23/11/04
  • WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw (PS2)- Late 2004
  • WWE Survivor Series (GBA)- Late 2004
  • WWE Wrestlemania 21 (Xbox)- Early 2005

And if you're looking for a place where you can put in your pre-orders, so that these games arrive on your doorstop on the day of release, then take a look at the Wrestling 101 Video Games Store.

That does us for another month folks. Hopefully by the August Update, Acclaim will have sorted out their money woes and there will be a lot of juicy wrestling game related gossip fresh on your screen. Take care, and try to enjoy the typical British summer weather.

Russ



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