Smackdown! 2 new video game champ
By BOB KAPUR -- For SLAM! Wrestling
A new heavyweight champion of wrestling videogames has been crowned, and
its name is "WWF Smackdown! 2".
Available now for the Sony Playstation system, "WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your
Role" is the follow-up release to THQ's 1999 best-seller. At the time,
"Smackdown!" was considered to be the best wrestling video game ever made.
Know Your Role takes it to new heights, however, and to paraphrase Spinal Tap, cranks it to 11.
Improvements were made all around, and features have been added to make
playing the game as close of an experience as possible to watching WWF
programming on TV.
Highlights of Know Your
Role include the Ladder match and the Hell in the Cell, both
of which fans have been screaming for for years. To the delight of the
millions... and millions of gamers, these items are actually interactive
rather than just there as an on-screen prop. Players can pick up the
ladder, use it as a weapon, and even perform moves off the top before
climbing it to victory. Similarly, the Hell in the Cell can be broken out
of and climbed on, thereby letting people recreate the infamous Hell in the
Cell of 1998 -- yes, opponents can be thrown off the roof, and even slammed
through the top of the cage!
Add to that a nearly up-to-date and complete WWF roster (what, no Naked
Mideon?), an expanded Create-a-Wrestler feature, and overall improvements
in gameplay, and you're looking at many hours worth of gaming fun.
The Rock renews his rivalry with Kurt Angle.
Or what feels like many hours. The major complaint with the game is the
too frequent stoppages for "Loading" information from the CD. At times, it
feels like you spend more time waiting than you do in the ring -- almost
like the commercials during an episode of Raw. This is especially
aggravating during Season mode when the game loads info for each match,
even if you're not controlling one of the participants.
Another area where the game is lacking is in the sound effects. Like its
predecessor, Know Your Role features no match commentary, nor any actual voiceovers
from WWF personalities. Instead, annoying repetitive guitar riffs are
played constantly. However, this is easily combatted by playing the game
with the sound off and throwing your favourite CD in the stereo instead.
Overall, "Smackdown 2: Know Your Role" is an excellent game. Despite minor
flaws, it has easily surpassed all other wrestling titles currently
available for the Sony Playstation. All hail the new champ!