WWE WrestleMania XIX
(THQ/Yukes, September 2003)
Encase you haven't seen it yet, Kurt Angle got the game cover for
Wrestlemania XIX the game here. All I can say is all right!" He's one
of my favourite technical wrestlers and I'm glad to see he's getting some
more respect. It's True! As for the game itself, I will give the developer
Yukes a lot of credit for trying hard to improve on previous year's rather
mediocre WWE WrestleMania 18 also on the Game Cube. Some of newer editions
include a brand new story mode, an updated 2003 roster, and a better grappling
system. So how did it do? For all the positives though there are still a lot
of big problems holding this wrestling video game back.
WWE WrestleMania XIX sports a fairly good selection of over 40 popular TV wrestlers from both Monday night Raw and Thursday's Smackdown. With any new wrestling game, you have to wonder who is added to the playable line up, what old favourites are back, and who was left out of the picture? Some of the new guys include the amazingly quick Rey Mysterio, heavy hitter Bill Goldberg, big poppa pump Scott Steiner, Harvard graduate Christopher Lewinski, third generation superstar Randy Orton and many others. You also get other big names like the Rock (complete with his new tattoo and music), Stone Cold Steve Austin, Christian, Rob Van Dam, and many more. So who's missing? Where is the Ultimo Dragon, on a personal note, he is one of the world's top cruiserweights and WWE has really done nothing with him. Other guys who where on the roster at time like Steven Richards, Tommy Dreamer, Kevin Nash, Mark Henry are also absent in this game.
WrestleMania XIX has a good idea for their new story mode. It's your job to get revenge on WWE owner Vince McMahon after he fired you doing what ever you can to stop the upcoming Wrestlemania Pay Per View from even happening until you can get your job back. The story started out great because you're beating up security guards, construction workers, and more in 5 different areas is a good way to break away of the norm. The violent non-ring action reminded me of the awesome arcade classic Double Dragon but this story game quickly became very annoying because not only can your enemies out number you up to three to one but sometimes they also reappear after being defeated which can make doing certain objectives nearly impossible.
There is another serious problem with this game and it happens in regardless of what mode you play. The fact is that you still can't officially 'block' here just like in WrestleMania 18. You can use the top buttons to perform counters but the funny thing with the counter system is that it may work and it may not. There are a few new controls here though. Taking a page out of those famous WCW/WWF wrestling games from the Nintendo 64 you can now perform both weak and strong grapples. It's unoriginal and a bit pathetic that Yukes needs to copy ideas from other games but this system still adds some additional strategy to the standard wrestling game like the Smackdown series.
Moving on the graphics in Wrestlemania XIX, the game has very impressive looking scenery and background in both the Revenge and Expedition mode but the character models move and look noticeably worse then the ones in WWE Raw 2 for the Xbox plus the animation also looks jerky at times. Characters like Rob Van Dam, Stacy Keibler, Christopher Lewinski, and even Matt Hardy have different intro music then what they would usual have in 2003. This is perhaps of legal, royalties, or political reasons but the entire die hard WWE like the Matt Hardy followers will surely be disappointed.
WWE WM 19 could have one of the best wrestling games on the market thanks to all its improvements but Yukes still has a lot to learn it looks like. The animation still doesn't look as smooth as other top Game Cube grapplers like Def Jam and Ultimate Muscle, the game is an absolute pain to play in the many multiple player games, and the new Revenge mode was a great idea to spice up one player action but its short yet insanely evil difficult nearly ruin it. Maybe WWE Day of Reckoning will be the WWF No Mercy killer but this game here sure isn't.