Smell what THQ’s been cookin’…
If you care nothing about wrestling games, never eat meat, adored the show
Dallas and think that Barney the Dinosaur was a “good” influence,
then you will stop reading this review right now.
Since you’re still here, I’ll assume you’re a meat-eating, Barney bashing
roughneck…and a wrestling fan to boot. And boy, does THQ have a surprise for
you. It seems that THQ has taken last year’s hit, WWF
Wrestlemania 2000, opened its mouth wide and packed in a couple fresh cans
of whup-ass for your playing enjoyement. While not a hugely better game than
Wrestlemania, No Mercy does address many of that game’s problems
while bringing with it several refreshing features, giving a violent new spin
to this otherwise familiar game.
For the most part, No Mercy is to Wrestlemania 2000 what George
“Dubbuya” Bush is to his old man. While they both look alike and do essentially
the same (evil) things, No Mercy is much fresher and a lot more polished.
The control and gameplay are identical to Wrestlemania‘s. You still
have the basic attack and grapple buttons, and everything is still executed
in exactly the same fashion as it was before. While there are scores of new
“moves,” they all require the same old button combinations and don’t seem to
affect your enemies differently than the old moves. They’re basically aesthetic
enhancements, and have no solid impact on the game.
The new fighting environments are well done, but not that exciting. Maybe
it’s the fact that Smackdown
had them first. Having said that, some of them flat out rock. My personal favorite
is the Acolyte pool hall, just because you get to smash people through a pool
table. If only there were four or five of ’em…sigh.
Which brings me to the weapons and other props of physical destruction. Most
of the weapons are exactly the same as they were in Wrestlemania 2000.
At first glance it seems as though there are a lot of new weapons. However,
it would be more accurate to say that there are a bunch of new weapon skins,
since practically every weapon in the game is used in the exact same fashion
and does the same amount of damage.
While the effort to make the weapons seem varied is a nice gesture, I wish
they could have actually programmed in some tangible differences as opposed
to copping out. The fact that smashing somebody with the portable stairs yields
the same result as hitting them with a chair seems silly. It completely cheapens
the stairs and the gameplay itself.
Speaking of cheap, you now have the ability to throw weapons. At first it
seems really cool and fun. “Wow, hey, I threw it and it bonked him on the head!
Ooh! Hey, look I can do it again and again and again and there’s nothing he’ll
ever be able to do about it, muahahahahaha.” Yup, the ability to throw weapons
is about as fair as using a Mack truck.
As far as I can tell, there is no defense against a thrown weapon. Computer
opponents who blocked every punch and kick, countered every grapple and reversed
every Irish whip were soundly smote by the flinging of my trusty chair.
new is the ladder match, which brings with it some cool gameplay possibilities,
like climbing the ladder and diving out of the ring, then bashing into some
poor, mulleted fool, who is more than likely already unconscious. I say more
than likely because you can only do half of the cool stuff with the ladder if
your opponent is already thoroughly battered.
Now, do you remember the horrible attempts Wrestlemania 2000 made at
a story line? Well, apparently THQ has fired the kindergartners they had writing
for them and hired some big kids. I think some of the new writers might even
be twelve. Yeah. “Wow,” was what I said, too.
I feel bad telling you the story blows and the writing sucks, because it is
the best yet. However, it does manage to gives significance to the matches beyond
the usual ‘win the fight and get the belt’ crap. Given Wrestlemania‘s
awful attempt at a plotline, the story is even sort of impressive. But it’s
not even close to being as good as WWF writing (gag). Better send in the 8th
The graphics are pretty similar (if not a little better than) those in Wrestlemania
2000. The characters, like last time, are superbly animated, and the violence
is oddly more convincing than the actual wrestling on TV. The sound is pretty
murky, but every N64 owner should be used to that by now.
WWF: No Mercy is a really good wrestling game. However, its superiority
over Wrestlemania 2000 is marginalized due to technical limitations.
Wrestlemania 2000 used nearly all of the N64’s potential, leaving No
Mercy little room to exceed its predecessor. It’s really more of an upgrade
than anything else…but a damn good one.