Can you smell what the Cube is cookin’? Review

Mike Reilly
WWE Day of Reckoning Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • THQ

Developer

  • Yuke's

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube

rating

Can you smell what the Cube is cookin’?

From the bootleg bloodbaths

of the 70’s
to the plight of superhero

wannabes in the 80’s
to the incendiary rhetoric of today’s pec-powered, thrash-metal,

Days of Our Lives extras, pro wrestling has evolved to keep up with the times…with

some bras & panties scattered in there to keep the casual fans interested.

How far the WWE has come from the Junkyard

Dog
days causes as much wonderment

as spray cheese on Matzo balls, though the foundation of muscle, attitude and

athleticism has remained unchanged.

The same can be said of wrestling games – same deal, different mafia. The

latest installment, WWE:

Day of Reckoning
, follows the family formula to a tee. Over 35 wrestlers

are available, including Triple H, Kane, Rhyno, Ric Flair, The Rock, Y2J, The

Big Show, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio and even unlockable old-school fools like

Andre The Giant and Brutus Beefcake. BEEFCAKE!

A

quick, well-executed Tutorial will get your fingers primed to unleash the

beast. Exhibition Mode comes in Single, Tag Team, three and four man melees,

two versus one, and Royal Rumble formats. Every match type except Royal Rumble

can be played using a number of rule types, such as Hardcore, Ironman, Hell in

a Cell, Steel Cage, Ladder Match, or TLC. If you’re thinking “Tender Loving Care,” it’s

about time you had a Table, Ladder, and Chair swept across the cranium.

Speaking

of which, you can even pit Trish Stratus, Stacy Kiebler, Molly Holly or Victoria

in a shamelessly gratuitous but definitely fun Bra & Panties match. God bless

America, indeed.

A surprisingly deep Create a Wrestler feature lets you choose from loads of

body types, change your bodily proportions and equip hundreds of accessories

and moves to pimp out your style. An hour will fly by before you’ve even gotten

to use the optional paint tool. Once your modern day gladiator is ready to

brawl, you can beef him up and earn cash for unlockable arenas, costumes, and

moves through the game’s strong Story Mode, which takes you through the trials

in WWE Development as you work your way up to Wrestlemania.

After your created superstar runs through the rookies in Development, you will

join either the RAW or Smackdown! roster. This early fork will determine

the rest of the opponents you’ll face along the way to WWE gold. Some matches

occur in a steel cage, during a Royal Rumble, or have you teaming up with a

member of your wrestling faction to go for the Tag Team Belt. To keep it interesting,

certain matches have special conditions for victory, such as working the opponent’s

legs and going for a submission or performing your finishing move at least

twice. All the while, the TV-worthy drama of your faction continues to unfold

as pre-fight locker room beat downs send the message that you are either one

bad hombre or some B-class jobber unworthy of spandex.

While the modes and depth are worthy of praise, the enemy AI is generally on the easy side. The increasing difficulty is mainly a result of more frequent move reversals, which isn’t very realistic and can feel a bit cheap at times. Still, successful countering is rewarding and keeps the game fun.

None of the female wrestlers you create can be imported into the Story Mode,

however, which does limit the single-player replay value. Nevertheless, Day

of Reckoning
has so many customization options, your gaming crew will not throw

elbows as to who gets to rock the lizard’s tail.

The main gameplay engine has not changed much from the earlier Smackdown! games

on the PS2, which itself has not changed much from WCW

vs. NWO
back in the

old N64 days. Fierce or light strikes and grapples focus on tenderizing certain

body parts in order to get a better chance of scoring a submission or pin.

The speed of the matches is faster in Day of Reckoning than

in games past, though,

and your selection of grapples and strikes are paced to save the game from

a button masher’s pinfall.

One major feature has been added to the fray: Momentum Shifts. A momentum meter

changes color depending on how badly you’re taking or dishing out the hurt.

If it’s at its highest level and you’re an inch from a eulogy, you can perform

a Momentum Shift maneuver and swap the meter values. To dodge the cheese factor,

each player can only use this move once per match. In true-to-television fashion, Day

of Reckoning
gives you just the right amount of time in performing counters

to shift the momentum. Every match is exciting and will grab your full attention,

whether you’re on the mat recovering from a People’s Elbow or knocking out the

ref to pull a sledgehammer out from under the ring.

Graphically, Day

of Reckoning
does a great job rendering all the wrestlers’ musculature,

facial expressions, and environments. Lighting effects and stage fireworks deliver

the techno-circus feel of the WWE well. The

physics are tight and the character models interact realistically, although the

player targeting system does need a bit of work. Tapping the C-stick five times

in the same direction to finally target the bogie charging at you gets annoying.

Like the real thing, the game’s music is a mix of metal and rap. There aren’t

many tracks, though, so get used to redundancy. At least the audience reacts

believably to the action, cheering for reversals, oohing and aahing over special

moves, and booing for the garbage can being repeatedly slammed on a bloodied

opponent.

WWE: Day of Reckoning delivers the blood, sweat and tears Gamecube

wrestling fans have been waiting to digest. It might not offer much new to

the wrestling genre, but a win is a win, right?

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating