November 15, 2000 )

WWE Wrestling has become one of the more popular cable shows in recent memory and I must say that even I got hooked to the action too. Wrestling video games have also been very popular and these games have even out sold other over hyped fighting video games during the last few years. In this Game of the Month I'm looking back at the Wrestling trend and one game in particle. WWF No Mercy was not only THQ's last official wrestling for the then dying Nintendo64 but this game is considered by many to be the best wrestling game every made! So why was this game so great to begin with it? No Mercy features an even better list of non linear story line, sharper graphics, backstage areas, and even more options than the previous year's mega hit WWF Wrestlemania 2000, which already had a decent cult following to begin with. No Mercy may be the top wrestling game ever produced and I am going to tell you why:

To get a good idea when WWF No Mercy was released here is the updated roster of new wrestlers over the previous WWF WrestleMania 2000 edition, you get new guys like Olympic hero Kurt Angle, the rapid wolverine Chris Benoit, Moppy's friend Perry Saturn, the men famous for tables the Dudley Boyz, the RTC leader Steven Richards, the late great British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith), and many more. Some of these guys are still in the WWE, others not. Another thing that dates No Mercy is all the DX signs in the audience, who remembers DX anymore? Sure, there are no guys like Brock Lesnar, Hurricane, RVD, or Booker T here but that's what the improved Create a Wrestler is for, more on that later though.

What makes the Aki based wrestling games so accessible to many gamers is the well crafted control system. Since the N64 controller is filled with buttons, players can easily do Irish whips, turn around, and various other moves with relative ease. It only takes about a couple of hours to learn the complete system but once mastered the controls you'll never have to worry about the game's set up ever again. You can forget about the awkward button combinations of other games like Street Fighter or WWF Warzone. "It's so good you'll swear the N64 controller was custom made for wrestling video games!"

WWF No Mercy is not only very easy to get into for players but there are tons of modes to try out for players looking for a quick fight.  The Exhibition mode features many multiple player options here which include all those wacky matches you see on Pay Per Views sometimes. You get many specialties fights like Ladder matches, King of the Ring tournaments, Cage matches, and many more. No Mercy even has new some cool backstage arenas like the bar, lockerroom, parking lot, boiler room, and stage areas plus weapons don't disappear after being hit making No Mercy even more Hardcore then it already is! The Exhibition mode is great for players looking to brush up on their skills.

If you are playing alone then there are two new one player only modes to fight through. First there is the Championship mode: Players can now pick one of seven belts (World, Intercontinental, Tag, European, Hardcore, Light, and Women's Championships) and fight various contests to earn or keep the respective title. Although it only takes about a few matches to finish a Championship mode, you can now decide the path to go down. What do I mean? Sometimes the game will let you advance to the next chapter even if you lost the last fight but the story line will change as the player deals with defeat. A lot of these storylines are actually events that have taking place on WWF/WWE TV during 1999 and 2000. Like many wrestling fans, I loved seeing the heated rivalry between Mick Foley and Triple H on the road to WrestleMania 16 but I always wondered what if Mick Foley didn't lose in the end? Not only can you relive that story and many others all over again but you can also see what happens if things were different the second time around. The choice is yours!

The other one player game here is the brand new Survival mode, here you can eliminate the many computer controlled opponent by pin, knock out, submission, or over the ropes like in a Royal Rumble to earn some extra cash. Be careful though because the computer only needs to eliminate you once then it's game over. Survival is not only a great way to unlock some secret characters like Mae Young and the late great Andre the Giant but you can also make a lot of money here too............... if you're good enough!

What makes the new one player games so fun to play (other than the fighting) is the money you now get as you win! Just go to the new Smackdown Mall shop and the game let you buy new moves, clothes, and other unusual items from the cash you earn from the one player modes. You will have to spend well over one Million dollars to get everything in the shop so don't expect to clean out the place over night. Very interesting idea and it works! With all the items you buy in the shop zone, it can help make better wrestlers. With that being said, let's move on to No Mercy's addictive Create a Wrestler feature. To better understand what you can do in the CAW here are some examples of how I created certain WWF names not in the active roster:

Rey Mysterio

"Who's that jumping out the sky?!" Rey Rey is one of the most incredible high flyers to ever step in a ring and fortunately you can easily make him by using the new 'Clone a Wrestler' feature and copy fellow Mexican risk taker Essa Rios. Make a few design changes and that should be that. Trust me, the Clone a Wrestler can save a player tons of hours starting from scratch.
Stacy Keibler
the WrestleMania 2000 N64 game had a great make a wrestler feature but there was one huge problem with it though, YOU COULD NOT MAKE WOMEN!! That really ticked me off but thankfully No Mercy fixed this over sight and now we can have the option to add some extra Divas to the line up like the leggy Stacy Keibler. This may seem strange but I recommend cloning Billy Gunn to help get you started on Stacy. Billy has a lot of fun taunts that work perfectly for Stacy, just be sure to change the gender of course.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan
who could forget the Hulkster? Heck, the big guy is still going strong in the WWE from time to time! "Brother!" If anybody remembers WCW/NWO World Tour and WCW/NWO Revenge, they should know that Hogan was one of the most popular characters in the two games. Although Hogan is not officially part of the roster in No Mercy, Aki decided to leave in many of his trademark taunts like his famous flexing poses and pointing even though he's not in the game. You'll be surprise how many moves and taunts were left in from the WCW games so you can make other legends like Sting, Kevin Nash, Raven, Scott Steiner (who just recently made a comeback......... but I don't know why because his Royal Rumble title match sucked) and lots more!
Perhaps the most difficult character to create because his moves are so original and even with the huge list of 1,000 moves at your wake making the Japanese buzzsaw is a challenge. You can't add trademark attacks like his flipping springboard elbow, the illegal tarantula lock, and his single super kick finisher here. I bring this up for a reason: the CAW is great although there is always room for improvement.
Katie Vick
Last and most certainly least, my Miss Vick character is proof that gamers can make anybody they want. If you have no idea who Katie Vick is then there is no harm done I guess, but for those that do know who this women is, well let's just she's not very active in the WWE anymore and I apologize in advance. If you are crazy enough to make her then clone the Undertaker and then alter the gender.
The No Mercy cartridge can even hold up to an impressive 18 edited characters right to the Pak. If you want to go beyond that then you can easily insert any Memory pak so you can make as many wrestlers as you want. There are barely any limits to what you can do!

Aki has also has improved the already great graphics with smoother textures and less flickers all around then 1999's wrestling game. Now the character models look a little less blocky this time, just compare the blocky bald head of Stone Cold Steve Austin in WWF 2000 to the much rounder hairless mug of the Texas Rattlesnake now. Another minor but useful feature to the game is having the actual wrestlers names now on those Attitude bars, I hated guessing on who's who especially in the heat of battle, so this a very welcome edition. The graphics are by no means perfect though because there is still tons of that annoying clipping during certain grapples and just look at the many of the women's unrealistic arms; they sometimes hang out of their sockets. The Nintendo 64 can't compete with the power of the X box and Game cube but despite that No Mercy is still one of the slickest looking wrestling game on the market thanks to the realistic character animation.

The No Mercy sounds are improved but still very familiar. There is no play by play commentary, the characters do not have any unique voice samples or grunts, and the background music during fights is nothing too special either. I'm glad that lousy soft rock is gone from the WWF 2000 though and many super stars have their own entrance themes so it's not all that bad.

Conclusion: Video:
As good as this game is No Mercy isn't perfect. First there are the slowdown issues on the Survival game, 4 player or any other Multi-player games especially when compared to WrestleMania 2000 and WCW/NWO Revenge. It's no big deal once you get use to it, but it can get a little annoying. Another problem with the game is the lack special matches when compared to WWF SmackDown 2, there are no over the top matches like the Hell in the Cell, Tables, and Casket bouts found here and that has to hurt some Foley fans out there. Despite that though, I still wouldn't touch that Playstation game with a 50ft pole after playing through it, the Smackdown games were just too sloppy. Finally, where's the Big Show, he was still signed with the WWF at the time but the giant was no where to be found here!? I don't get it.

Despite some very minor problems WWF No Mercy is a very addictive game and an awesome edition to Aki's long running series. Win money, unlock secrets, relive or even rewrite famous story lines all on one little black cartridge! With all these key things going for it, WWF No Mercy is without a doubt my favourite wrestling game of all time and I've sure played a lot of them over the years and that includes all these newer WWE wrestling games like Raw, WrestleMania X8, and the Smackdown series. "No Mercy is an absolute must for wrestling fans!"



* Battery back game
*Rumble Pak compatible
*Gamepak compatible

overall rating: 97/100

Find WWF No Mercy on eBay here!

For 1 to 4 players
Rated (T) for Teen

graphics: 8/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 10/10
replay: 10/10

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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