The Total Recall


Artist touch: Let me get this straight. RVD is good enough to get the cover here but he isn't good enough to hold a World title? Sorry, this is a ranting from a wrestling fan. Good cover that has either Stone Cold or the Rock in the lead. Cover art rating: 6/10
Month it won: July 2005

(THQ/Yukes, 2002)
Special note: This is the first WWF game to be go under the new WWE name once the wrestling promotion loss the rights to use it to the original users the Canadian World Wildlife Fund.

Introduction and Story:

I'm a huge wrestling fan and this WrestleMania X8 game for the Gamecube sure looks great in those screen shots, eh? WrestleMania X8, on paper, has a lot going for it like a updated 2002 roster (unlike WWF Raw for Xbox and WWF Smackdown 3 for PS2) featuring some of the newer WCW/ECW stars like Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and this even has the original 3 NWO guys Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash. The game also has tons of unique matches like Hell in the Cell and Ladder, plus killer graphics and sound custom made for the Gamecube. Sounds good, doesn't it? Don't be fooled, this game has some serious issues!

Since this is a Nintendo Wrestling game many would hope that it play like the WWF No Mercy wrestling game for the Nintendo 64, a game so good that I still play it on a regular basis. But sadly, I guess THQ wanted to save money and opted to go with developer Yukes instead of Asmik/Aki, the makers of No Mercy. Big mistake!

Controls and Game Play: I think I'm gonna Yuke!

Yukes was the maker of the lackluster Smackdown series for PSone and PS2 plus they were also responsible for the forgettable Royal Rumble on Sega Dreamcast in case you didn't know. The main problem with Yuke's wrestling games and sadly that means WrestleMania X8 too is the game play is too quick and arcadey, so this game becomes more of a button masher other than a more of a strategy game like No Mercy was. Another noticeable problem was weak special moves like when I did RVD's finishing move (the Five Star Flog Slash) on my opponent, HE GOT RIGHT BACK UP! I noticed the after each match I won the opponent just stood up like they weren't even injured. Talk about fake looking and I bet the WWE officials don't like me using the 'fake' word, eh?

he WrestleMania X8 roster begins fairly good with 36 wrestlers to start with including big names like Dwayne Johnson, Steve Williams, Paul Wight, and Gregory Helms to pick from. Despite that I noticed quite a few big names missing as well like 3 time WCW World Champion DDP who retained the Euro title at WM 18 PPV, Jazz who also came and left Wrestlemania X8 as the Women's WWF Champ isn't here, and so many others like Billy and his 'panther'Chuck, Spike Dudley, Crash and Hardcore Holly, GolDust, Al Snow, Maven, and many more have been left out. I know that there are secret characters in the game (Mr. McMahon, Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, Rhyno, Stacy Keibler, and Raven) but there is no reason why these wrestlers shouldn't be selectable from the start as well. Don't worry too much about this though, because the game does have a decent Create a player mode like other wrestling games but the only problem with that is that there isn't much there to select from in that mode.

There are loads of modes to try out in both multi player and in single player action as well. The single player can go for one of the six WWE champion belts in 'Path of a Champion' or fight for 40 generic belts in the 'Battle of the Belts'. Both games modes are pretty much the same has you fight random wrestlers (no story lines here) with different rules time like hardcore matches or ladders matches to earn belts (Battle can be played by two players). I enjoyed the one player games up to the super annoying Triple Threat matches. I could never seem to gain a edge in these matches because a simple throw or knockdown could hurt any near by player even if there are not the person being toss around, very cheap! Blocking sucks too because you have to mash the button a lot if you hope to counter anything and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The controls are easy enough to learn but are not set up too well. To do different grabs you have to press the Analog stick in different directions as you press the A button which if you're careful could into trouble since you also have to move with the Analog stick. You can forget about altering your controls too in the options too, you're stuck with them. In a strange and disturbing fact the Cross pad is now used for taunting instead of the other way around like in No Mercy. The controls absolutely pale in comparison to No Mercy controls thanks to added buttons on the old N64 controller.

Graphics and Sounds: What's wrong with Test?

The graphics start out excellent with huge, realistic arenas over looking tens of thousands of fans as the titan trons show flawless FMV of your character which looks just like real TV....... and then your character shows up and ruins everything! Most of the plastic like WWE wrestlers look real enough (upset for Kurt Angle and Test) but some of their entrance animation are jerky and underdeveloped like Triple H's famous water spit routine is just pathetic and pales in comparison to WWF Raw on Xbox. If you want a good laugh just pick Test and see what the programmers did to his face. "I thought Resident Evil was scary!"

Remember that crappy announcing job on SmackDown 3 for the PS2, well Yukes didn't even bother for this game and the matches are basically silent with only tiny background music playing and the wrestlers just grunt. The only saving grace in the sound department was that some (but not all) wrestlers have their complete entrance music like Shane McMahon's 'Here comes the money' by James Johnson and Triple H's 'The Game' by Motorhead. Characters like Booker T, Tajira, The Hardy Boyz, and The NWO bad boys have their music changed perhaps of legal issues or for whatever reason.

The Bottomline: "Just Rent it!"

Man, you can tell this game was rushed to market! The confusing controls, the poor, blocky animation, weak in game music and sound effects. WM 18 just didn't come together. WrestleMania X8 for GameCube maybe a solution for wrestling fans out there but considering there are other wrestling games like Ultimate Muscle and Def Jam Vendatta, WWE X8 looks pretty sad. What's even sadder than that is the ol' Nintendo 64 system and No Mercy game combine are probably cheaper than getting the WM 18 game brand new!

overall rating: 55/100

Find WWE Wrestlemania X8 on eBay here!

For 1 to 4 players
Rated (T) for Teen

graphics: 6/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 6/10
replay: 5/10

(Ryan Genno) 2005

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