I grew up a wrestling fan, a fanboy of wrestling games. I preferred WWF/WWE over the other options like WCW, ECW (now owned by WWE) and TNA. I guess I enjoyed the superstars at WWE more, I can talk all day about which is better but other than the live shows, Pay-per-views and actions figures, some of the greatest wrestling games of all time were stamped with the WWF or WWE logo. Below are my top 5 greatest wrestling video games of all time.
5. WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
There’s a reason WWF Smackdown 2 was the best selling combat sports title on a single platform (PlayStation). It was released several months after its predecessor WWF Smackdown in the fall of 2000 during WWF greatest time, the attitude Era. What made Smackdown 2 so great was the ability to unlock superstars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin who was injured that year, and HBK Shawn Micheals who retired two years prior. In the world of today both stars would be paid dlc! You can also unlock special matches such as the classic Casket match. The season mode wasn’t the best however, it did offer up to four player multiplayer in the season mode. In 1999-00 I was 3D’d several times by knuckle heads in 5th grade, that all stopped when Smackdown 2 came out and you can 3D opponents through tables!
As I mentioned earlier, I was not the biggest fan of WCW. Monday Night Raw won the Monday night wars for me but when it came to my N64 WCW/NWO Revenge was one of the best wrestling game experiences for me. Unlike its predecessor World Tour, Revenge included wrestler ring entrances, a larger roster, ringside valets and managers, and WCW referee Mark Curtis, and real TV and pay-per-view arenas. My favorite arena was Halloween Havoc, all I did in this game was steal taunts and play the championship mode.
3. WWE SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain
I skipped school for this game, had it not been for nostalgia Here’s comes The Pain would likely be #1 or #2. This game had necessary hype, for the first time play as new comer Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and long awaited Rey Mysterio! HCTP introduced a more complicated grappling system, while retaining the series standard fast game-play. Also included body damage displays, submission meters as well as the ability to break the submission hold when touching the ropes. This game marks the first time the Elimination Chamber and the Bra and Panties Match would be featured in a wrestling game and both new modes worked very well. Here Comes The Pain was the first SmackDown game, to include legends such as Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and The Undertaker (with his 90’s gimmick), and more. Historical facts HCTP was the last time that Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock would appear in a SmackDown! as non legends. Here Comes the pain was also the first game to depict Kane without his mask.
Here Comes The Pain Season Mode was also a bright spot starting off with the Backlash Pay Per View and fighting your way through the months, ending with WrestleMania. Instead of being able to roam free around the arena, HCTP version of Season Mode had it so that all of your decisions (such as where you wanted to go and what you wanted to do next) were made on a menu screen in your locker room. In the General Manager’s room, you can ask for title shots and brand switches. There are multiple titles to go after depending on if you choose to go to SmackDown or RAW.
2. WWF Wrestlemania 2000
WCW/NWo Revenge owned my Nintendo 64 until Wrestlamania 2000 was released. Wrestlemanina 2000 played perfectly for its time, player likeness, theme songs, the bare bones season mode. The game was limited, but did all the things it can do very well. Create A championship belt and hold a King of the Ring tournament for it. Wrestlemania 2000 was responsible for half my sleepovers. In WM 2000 you can win all titles in the game however because all championships must be defended at pay-per-views you’d have four consecutive matches in one night! You can customize existing characters also create your own but on the downside you were limited to how much you can create. The most used taunts in the game had to be, Stone Cold’s middle finger, Mr. Ass Mooning taunt and X-Pac rapid suck it taunt.
Please Check out Intro Video below Courtesy of Smacktalk
1. WWF No Mercy
No Mercy was a better version of Wrestlemania 2000 and Revenge plus more. No Mercy alone delayed my purchase of PlayStation and PlayStation 2. WWF No Mercy was more polished than Wrestlemania 2000, it featured mods, extensive game-play and story variations, backstage fights (including a bar), The Championship mode is also more extensive. Compared to WrestleMania‘s career/Road to Wrestlemania mode. Each WWF title features a unique story. For the WWF Championship, players can choose any wrestler to reenact the classic feud between Mankind and Triple H that dominated the WWF in early to mid-2000. Other angles include Stone Cold Steve Austin’s feud and The Rock’s temporary alliance with Vince McMahon. After winning a title, the player can replay the story mode and defend the newly acquired belt in a variety of new story-lines. Also, unlike future wrestling games, players are allowed to fight for and defend any championship in the exhibition mode! My cousin cost me my hard earned title to D-Von Dudley in a Exhibition match… and I cried. You were able to purchase other stars like HBK & Cactus Jack with in-game earned currency from the “Smackdown Mall”. No Mercy was so good that the only thing to frown at is the short intros. No Mercy also had probably the best menu soundtrack you can ask for, I bet if you boot the game now, you’ll start humming and beat boxing the theme.
I understand not all will agree on the list above, i’d be shocked if at-least three of the games weren’t on anyone’s top 5 or top 10. Well, unless you are the age of 16 or under than I can probably understand. I could possibly have a slight bias, majority of the games listed were released during the time that I was a wrestling fanatic. Most of these games are a product of the WWE’s attitude era arguably the most entertaining time of the wrestling sport. I can understand if John Cena, Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan fans don’t see the legendary hype behind The Rock, Stone Cold, HBK or Triple H. Like the generation before mine, my elders hated the attitude era because there wasn’t the likes of a Hulk Hogan, Brett Hart or Andre The Giant. When it comes to the new video games specifically the 2K series, something is missing, something that was present in the games above. You can honestly say, only things that held any of those games back was the technology alone and that the consoles that ran these games were extremely limited. Somehow 15 years later they still pack more content and complexity than anything we’ve seen in the last 5 or 6 years.