Hey all! I never followed pro wrestling much, but I was wondering from wrestling fans, what your favorite pro wrestling video games of all time.
I know it doesn't hold up at all, but Capcom's Saturday Night Slam Masters was my childhood.
Any of the AKI games on N64 were great.
Don't bother with anything after that outside of WWE All Stars. The WWE 2K series is too focused on trying to simulate pro wrestling, and they don't realize that that's not any fun to play.
Smackdown Shut Your Mouth and Here Comes The Pain are my favs from the THQ era, which is really not saying a whole lot as most of those games are bad, WWE All Stars is really good. For nostalgia, WCW Vs The World for PS1 is something that I remember playing a lot of as a kid, but would not go back as it would ruin my memories of it.
I also very much enjoyed Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth and Here Comes the Pain. It's when the THQ/Yukes games were still achieving that good balance of the arcade style fighting and "realistic" feel of wrestling. I remember the creation stuff being pretty robust for the times, too, but my memory might not be the most accurate.
I think WWE All Stars is the closest thing we've ever had to a legitimately great wrestling video game. Pretty much every one of the other games is "this part was cool, but this other stuff was broken af."
That said, here's a hill I'm fully prepared to be the only one defending. RAW 2 on the original Xbox was probably the next closest to a wrestling game that actually captured what's interesting about pro wrestling. It controls better than any of its contemporaries, looked better, had customization options that are still considered deep by today's standards, and a bevy of options, modes, match types, and wrestlers. Also, two player career.
But what was fascinating about that game was how it handled its weird fluid career mode. It wasn't a written story, but rather a series of procedural events that took place based on how you perform in your matches. Feuds would materialize and backstage shenanigans would ensue. It was like a weird turn based RPG where you decided what you would do each event. You could call out a rival to the ring and request a match. You could chat with other wrestlers in the back. You could attack somebody in the back. You could set traps. It ended up playing out without much written narrative, but one that you sort of constructed in your head. It was less of a WWE game and more of a WWE simulator.
These days, something like that doesn't sound too impressive, but back then the amount of control you had over the events was pretty unique. Of course, going back to my earlier statement about wrestling games, this all came along with some issues. The AI didn't always by play the rules of the WWE when making their own stories, so often times feuds would flip flop in a way that didn't make any sense. Titles would go around like an STD. And attempting to build a narrative over something more meaningful than dropping boxes on people wasn't really much of a possibility. For better or worse, matches would often be punctuated with absurd interactions between AI. Oh, Brock Lesnar decided to drop a box on Trish Stratus. Weird. There was some magic there.
Wrestlemania 2000 is my all-time favorite, but I've grown quite fond of WWE '13. Mind you, I don't play a ton of rasslin' games, so I'm hardly a connoisseur.
I also have to recommend Wrestling MPire. If the name "MDickie" means anything to you, you know that this is partially an ironic recommendation and partially sincere. It's freeware, runs on a toaster... I won't spoil it for you. Just play it. And then dig deep into MDickie's catalog. It's... amazing.
Fire Pro Wrestling for the GBA. Being able to play Fire Pro Wrestling on the go was, and probably still is, the greatest thing ever. All those crazy tournaments I've had on long cross-country train and bus rides. Nothing even comes close, although I've had plenty of fun with WCW/nWO Revenge, WWE RAW 2 and DoR 2 as party games.
Day of Reckoning 2
That games is GREAT! I don't know why people don't mention it more often, especially since it's simmilar to No Mercy, it might even be done by the same people, I'm not sure.
Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy came around when my love of WWF was at an all-time high, so those games in particular hold a special place in my heart. I've since played a fair amount of WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and have grown to enjoy both of those as well.
I wouldn't call myself a wrestling fan, especially these days, but during the early 2000s I spent numerous hours with Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium which to me has been the pinnacle of wrestling game experiences. Especially loved designing and creating new characters though I quickly fell in love with the gameplay as well.
The other great wrestling game experience has been the already-mentioned WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain at my friend's house during that same time period. Again, creating unique, and this time even downright bizarre, wrestlers while laughing hysterically on the couch were the highlights, though I do remember enjoying the gameplay.
The Yuke's series was actually pretty great for a while there if you ask me. Smackdown 2, 3, 4, 5 are all great fun if you want to create wrestlers and have fun with as a party games.
Then there is Spike with Fire Pro and King of Colosseum. Mostly Japanese stuff.
Then there is Aki with No Mercy.
As actual competitive games there are no good wrestling games afaik.
No Mercy on the N64 was my jam back in the day. The story mode was and is (sadly) better than the piss-poor creative direction they are heading now. I also loved the creation mode, which was pretty deep for the time. It was also such an awesome feeling stealing your opponents finisher by rotating the controller counter-clockwise. I spent way too much time on that thing, which is a testament to what a great wrestling game it was, it is, and it always will be. WOOO!!
I don't play Wrestling games anymore, but I like Wrestlemania 2000 on N64, and relatively recently, I played No Mercy on N64. I knew of the game, but didn't know it was the sequel to Wrestlemania, but an earlier title. The other N64 wrestling games aren't good to me. The last wrestling game I played, and have, as well as enjoyed, was WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain on PS2. I've also played and have SNES wrestling games, but I don't care for them. I only kind of liked wrestling back in 1999/2000, when I was in fourth/fifth grade. I think the games are better than real wrestling, and more 'realistic'. Hitting dudes in the games are more believable than what's seen on TV. That's just goofy.
Love No Mercy, love Fire Pro Returns, but WWE All Stars is my favorite, no question.
What makes All Stars so great is that not only does it use the AKI method of strong and weak grapples but it does something that few wrestling games have attempted to do, and that's separate the characters into classes requiring different tactics to be successful and then further varying the move sets of each in those classes to broaden the game play. There are even hybrid class characters who will be predominately one class such as "Brawler" but will have combos that transitions into a grapple chain, or another character will pull off surprise rope rebound attacks more commonly associated with the "High Flyer" class.
Honestly, game play-wise this was the biggest leap a wrestling based title had seen since the Playstation era, but unfortunately it was crapped on by folks raised on the Smackdown series given its lack of create modes and ultra-restricted create-a-character option without realizing the game's main draw was learning each and every character as you would a fighting game. Something that is such a foreign concept in wrestling titles thanks to hundred person rosters where everyone controls exactly the same. Little did they realize how deep All Stars' game play actually was under all the "nonsense and flash."
Also, despite a horrible matchmaking system and the nagging issue of everyone getting booted from a match when someone would quit, All Stars had some of the smoothest online game play I've ever encountered on a console. You could tell it, unlike the Smackdown legacy titles, was for the most part balanced for competitive play. There were very few exploitable moves, and one of the reasons they wouldn't allow selecting signature moves one by one for created characters was to keep that balance in check.
It's a shame whoever now has the Marvel rights couldn't get their hands on that engine, and much like EA did with AKI's for Def Jam Vendetta make something different out of it. Replace the arena with city streets and eliminate the more technical wrestling holds you would never see in an actual street fight and not only would you have yourself a pretty fun brawler but something that would set it apart from the standard side perspective super hero fighters we've become accustomed to as of late.
But yeah, it's a super fun game that everyone should try out if you haven't already. Shame online is no more, because like I said it was really great. Hell, even the 3DS version is surprisingly decent for a handheld port despite some collision issues that spring up once in awhile.
Oh, and you could do cool stuff like this...
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