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Welcome to the penultimate Wrestling 101 Video Games update for 2004. It’s been a topsy-turvy year for several parties, but I’m sure we can all agree on one thing; we were treated to some funky wrestling games over the past 12 months. But hey, let’s not live in the past. You live in the past, you die in the present. And surely you don’t want to die before you’ve read this update, do you?
To start things off, let’s take a look at the newest addition to the longest running WWE game series that I can think of, Smackdown! Vs Raw. With features like less than 10 wrestlers than last year’s effort, many current superstars not included, and only one unimpressive match mode added, it’s hard not to be unimpressed. I’d even go as far as to say that this year’s Smackdown! game looks to have fewer changes than ever, in comparison to it’s predecessor. I think that a lot of people will buy the game strictly for the online mode, but apparently that is even a bit of a let down, with only two match types to choose from, no way to keep a win/loss record and no compatibility with the headset, so you can only communicate before matches in the lobby via keyboard.
The game was released in America this week, and between voting the wrong man into the White House (Russ in political outrage shocker!), a few people with the game have been quick to tell me that it’s a bit of a disappointment. But hey, we all know that my opinion is more important than theirs, so look out for my review of Smackdown! Vs Raw for the PS2 within the next week or so.
Now, as shocking as it may seem, SD! Vs Raw might actually be the very last WWE game that THQ release. Due to some legal mumbo jumbo that I won’t inflict upon you, my loving audience, WWE are planning to take THQ and Jakks Pacific, who currently handle WWE video games and figures, to court. Essentially, what happened is that some people from the latter parties tried to bribe WWE into doing something, and this has lead to the inevitable court case, where WWE will try to end their contract with THQ and Jakks. What does this mean for the average wrestling game fan? Well, rumour has it that if WWE are successful, EA would be prepared to step in and start creating WWE games. That’s EA, who use the AKI engine for their wrestling games. Y’know, the engine that everyone loves and goes crazy over, that was used to run No Mercy, WCW/nWo Revenge and most recently, the Def Jam series.
Now, there are a few questions still up in the air. How will this affect games like WWE Wrestlemania 21 for X Box, that aren’t due out for another few months? What would happen to the Def Jam series if EA got the WWE rights? Will I still get free review copies of WWE games? As soon as I hear word, you’ll be able to read about it right here at Wrestling 101.
Now, if you’re into girl on girl action…in a wrestling ring, then Rumble Roses might just be the game for you. Running on an engine not too dissimilar from last year’s Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain, Konami are trying their hardest to recreate the family friendly world of women’s wrestling in your living room. Featuring all kinds of perverted gameplay modes like Mud Wrestling and lots and lots of polygons made to look like busty females, it’s obviously a game that anyone from 6 to 60 can pick up and play. Unfortunately for horny British teens, the UK release date has been pushed back to next year some time. Their randy American counterparts will be able to experience the game very soon though, as it hits shelves on the 9th of November. If you’re looking to find a game that’s going to drag you in and keep you addicted for months upon months, this probably won’t be it. If you’re rich, lonely and in need of a quick fix, this might end up being a surprisingly good way to pass the time. Just remember to lock your door when you’re playing it.
If I ran up to you in the street and said “WreSpi”, you’d probably think I had escaped from a mental institution of some kind. That could change, depending on the success of Adam Ryland’s new game, Wrestling Spirit (WreSpi for short, of course). Yes, that’s the same Adam Ryland who designed the Extreme Warfare Revenge and the Total Extreme Warefare/Wrestling games. His new venture sees you taking on the role of a single character, and working your way to the top of the promotion. As well as wrestling all your own matches, you’ll partake in all kinds of crazy backstage doings to help, or if things go bad, maybe even hinder, your chances of being a success. A “Sleep with the boss’ daughter, sit in on booking meetings then squash everyone around you so there are no legitimate title contenders left” feature has not been confirmed yet, but fingers crossed. Expect WreSpi to be released before the end of the year, with a review right here at Wrestling 101 not long after.
Now, if you’re wondering when the games I’ve discussed in this Update will be available to buy, get ready to wonder no more. Here’s the UK release dates for all the wrestling games confirmed right now.
- WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw (PS2)- 12/11/04
- Backyard Wrestling 2 (PS2, X Box)- 19/11/04
- WWE Survivor Series (GBA)- 26/11/04
- WWE Aftershock (N Gage)- January 05
- Rumble Roses (PS2)- Early 2005
- WWE Wrestlemania 21 (X Box)- Early 2005
And if you want to pre-order any of these games, so that they arrive on your doorstop on the day of release, then take a look at the Wrestling 101 Video Games Store.
So, that’s your lot for yet another month. With a plethora (well, 3) games due out in the next month, it’d be a smart move to keep checking the Video Games section of Wrestling 101 for the reviews. And of course, I’ll be back next month, where as well as my usual round up of the latest wrestling game news, I’ll also take a look back at the year that was, reminding everyone of the good, the bad and the ugly games that were released in 2004. So join me then, for the special festive Wrestling 101 December Video Games Update.