Game Review: WWE Wrestlemania X8

Geek Specs:

Title: WWE Wrestlemania X8
Platform: GameCube
Genre: Fighting/Sports
Developer: Yuke's
Publisher: THQ
Release: June 11, 2002

Introduction: It's finally here! The very first WWE game for the Nintendo Gamecube has arrived. Wait, now, don't get too excited yet. While this game is the first to include the stars of the Invasion angle, there are some flaws that major wrestling/gaming fans won't appreciate too much.

Review: We'll split the review into the pro's and con's of the game. First, the pro's. There's a wide variety of game modes to choose from in WM X8. They range from Exhibition, to Create-A-Wrestler, to Battle for the Belts, where you can win customized belts. The match types range from the good old fashioned normal pin or submit match to the more extreme Hell In A Cell. Other matches include Battle Royal, Hardcore, Tag Team, Cage, Ladder, Table, and the ever-popular TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) Match. Besides all the exhibition matches, there's also a Championship mode, in which you fight your way through the ranks to unlock hidden characters, and win different titles. It's pretty exciting.....for a while.

Speaking of characters, one thing that WMX8 can boast about is being the first wrestling game to include the WCW/ECW stars of old. The lineup is huge, with new stars such as The nWo, RVD, Booker T, and the Hurricane, as well as some old faces like The Rock, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Kane. There are also 6 hidden characters, which you can unlock by winning the six titles in championship mode. Dozens of the moves you see on TV make their video game debut in WMX8. A short list includes RVD's Rolling Thunder and Step Over Heel Kick, Booker T's Spineroonie and Book End, the Hurricane's Eye Of The Hurricane, and Scott Hall's Razor's Edge. There's also multiple team attacks, such as the double chokeslam, performed by Kane and the Undertaker as pictured.

While the screenshots may not do the game any justice, Wrestlemania X8 is probably the most graphically impressive wrestling game to date. The wrestlers look amazing, the animation is smooth, and the entrance videos are crystal clear. The game begins with a great video of the most memorable moments from Wrestlemania X8, which will wow any player of the game, wrestling fan or not. The character's bodies, costumes, and faces are right on the money. A few interesting little details are the change in facial expressions as the match progresses, and the signs that fans hold up for each wrestler.

You may consider this a plus or a minus, but Wrestlemania X8's control scheme is almost identical to that of the Smackdown series. Fans of the Nintendo 64 WWE games were most likely looking forward to another one button grappling system, similar to the one used in WM2K and No Mercy. However, THQ decided to try out something new. It takes a while to get used to it, especially with the GC's oddly shaped controller, but a good gamer will have it mastered after a few matches.

Now, on to the negative features of the game. While the character designs may be flawless, they move like robots, and pretty much none of the animation in the game is realistic. The hit detection is terrible. In some instances, you can throw a punch and hit someone half a ring away, and in others, you may try to hit someone right in front of you and mysteriously miss. The recovery time for most wrestlers is painstakingly slow. You can mash all the buttons you want, but a simple snapmare could keep someone down for longer than it should. Speaking of slow, the cage matches are unbearable. Unless your meter is flashing red, you climb out of the cage at an excruciatingly slow rate. This may become frustrating after a few matches.

An obvious flaw is that the story mode is not as in depth as that of Smackdown! or No Mercy, most likely because it contains no story. You just fight match after match until you earn your title shot. The Create-A-Wrestler option could have been better than it is. You'll find yourself wondering what happened to the rest of the choices after discovering the extremely limited amount of attires and accessories.

The sound in this game is horrible. True WWE fans will quickly notice the absence of some of the greatest theme songs in the business, such as the Hardy'z, Booker T's, and the nWo's, all of which are replaced by original tunes that would probably never be considered WWE themes. As for those theme songs that are included in the game, it sounds as if you're hearing them through a speaker with a blanket thrown over it. The crowd may get irritating, and the in-ring music is plain boring.

Conclusion: Altogether, this is an average start for Gamecube's wrestling series. There is quite a bit of room for improvement, but that can always be handled in sequels. If you are a true fan of the WWE, or you just like the feeling of dropping the People's Elbow over and over again, this is the game for you. Non-wrestling fans may not want to try it out.

Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)

Gameplay: 4.0 Graphics: 4.0
The amount of matches alone earns WMX8 a decent rating, but the controls may be frustrating. The wrestler images are fantasticly smooth, but the movement isn't realistic enough. Great set designs too.

Sound: 2.5 Overall: 3.5
With bad entrance music, and worse in-ring music, this game doesn't have much to offer sound-wise. A decent first-time Gamecube wrestling title overall. Non-wrestling fans won't find it very interesting, though.

Written by Eggy


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