THQ's Smackdown! a must have
JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Generally, the storylines are pretty good, but after a while, especially if
you keep winning, you'll get caught up in the brand wars and the arrival of
the nWo, which gets very boring very quickly. There could have been a bit
more creative energy put in to new storylines, but then again the real WWE
is having problems with those.
Outside of the season mode, there are dozens of matches you can do. There
are some really sweet options here, including elimination Tornado tag
matches, TLC and Hell in a Cell. It's virtually a guarantee that you will
not get bored with this game.
Being so used to the No Mercy engine, it took a bit of time to adapt to the
engine THQ uses for its PS2 games. Here, there aren't as many grapples; most
of the time you will just go straight into a manoeuvre.
The actual move controls are a bit complicated. For a front grapple, you can
do three levels of manoeuvres, and two levels for back grapples. This is
based on how groggy your opponent is. There are also a variety of other
grapples, including some killer top rope grapples like Lita's hurracanrana
and Hurricane's neckbreaker.
The one part of the controls that is really hard to time is for
out-of-the-ring moves like topes and Asai moonsaults. The controls are at
times hard to pull off, especially in comparison to AKI's engine.
Graphics and Sound
In a word, stellar. The graphics are becoming more and more life-like. With
few exceptions, the faces of the wrestlers look very much like their
real-life counterparts. The environments are beautifully done, as the arenas
look very true to the real sets used at pay-per-views.
The sound is also incredible. The entrance themes are beyond CD-quality, and
the sound effects are pretty cool. There's even some commentary by JR and
Jerry Lawler, though it gets repetitive. It is also worth noting that the
commentary is very true to the TV commentary, including the needless
shilling of WWE's Shopzone website.
The best part of this department, however, is the animation. Virtually every
part of the game is an interactive environment. If, for example, you throw
your opponent into gas tanks in the boiler room, they will explode, sending
your opponent flying. The best part of the animation, however, is in some
scenes, some of the wrestlers have added their voices for their
catchphrases; the animation in these parts is far beyond anything you'd
expect from the game.
I have to give props to THQ and WWE for including some DVD video features.
These can be unlocked through the season mode and feature various montages
of WWE action, along with a special RVD video and a cool credit screen.
I do, however, have a big problem with the selected montages. Yes they are
cool, but why not include some footage that is already over with fans?
Putting in the Kid Rock "Desire" video or a couple of matches that
paralleled the storylines in the game would have been a cool addition.
Shut Your Mouth is one of the better wrestling games on the market right
now. In comparison to No Mercy, long held as the premier North American
console game, the game has its good and bad qualities. The controls aren't
as easy to use, but the game features and play modes are far better. I
would be hard to make a choice between the two, and thankfully you don't
This game is a must-have, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Jon Waldman is a freelance writer in Winnipeg. He can be emailed at email@example.com. You can find his previous reviews, and other game reviews here.