History of WWF/E Games Part 29
Time to look at the first WWF game on GameCube.
Wrestlemania X8 had some very big shoes to fill. Despite being made by a different developer (although still published by THQ) many people saw this game as the successor to WWF No Mercy which was released for the Nintendo 64. No Mercy is regarded as one of if not the greatest wrestling game ever made.
Wrestlemania X8 actually has two pretty interesting box art variations. The USA release was made before the WWF became the WWE. So it has a WWF logo on the box. Also Stone Cold Steve Austin is the main cover star. The UK version was not released until September of 2002 and by that time the WWF had become the WWE. So all the logos on the packaging needed to be changed, but nothing in game was.
Also the UK version has The Rock as the main cover star. This was because Stone Cold Steve Austin had a huge falling out with the WWE and left the company. So I guess that the WWE and THQ did not want a wrestler on the box who was no longer with the company. It was a pretty nasty split that the WWE and Steve Austin had. Many people at the time speculated that this could possibly be the last WWE game to have Stone Cold Steve Austin as a playable character.
The character models in Wrestlemania X8 are amazing and I still think that they hold up incredibly well today. Whether or not you think they are better than WWE RAW on the Xbox is really down to personal preference. The moves are really animated very well, but like many wrestling games of this era the way they walk is just plain weird. It’s like they sort of float instead of walk. One thing I really liked was how each wrestler had an alternate attire. There is a great selection of wrestlers for you to choose from. Also this was the first WWE game that had wrestlers from WCW and ECW. So you could play as people like Rob Van Dam, Booker T and Rhyno. Another huge inclusion was Hulk Hogan who had not been in a WWF/E game since 1993’s Royal Rumble on the Sega Mega Drive. He was joined by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to make up the only time the original members of the NWO would all be in a WWF/E game together.
The arenas are really well made. While the crowd may look like cardboard cut outs, the actual arenas themselves are very spectacular. At the time this game was released these were easily the best arenas in any wrestling game. There also was a decent selection of arenas for you to pick from. You really got to see how good they looked during the high quality entrances. One downside is that there is no commentary, but not only that the background music in matches is just god awful, and I highly recommend turning it off.
Wrestlemania X8 is a very simple wrestling game. It always had that big shadow of No Mercy looming over it which I think was really unfair. Taken as its own game from a core game play point of view, Wrestlemania X8 offers a pretty solid arcade style wrestling game. It’s very easy to pull of the various moves, and your wrestlers own finishing moves.
Game modes are really stacked as well. Pretty much every match type you could want in a wrestling game is here. Cage, ladder, tag, tlc and table matches just to name a few. In addition you can do most of these either in one on one matches, or in multiplayer with up to four people.
Wrestlemania X8 does not have a traditional season mode. You get a mode called Path Of A Champion. You pick a championship you want to try and win, and then need to win a series of matches. This is also how you unlock things such as arenas and other wrestlers. Overall the mode is really bland, and there is really nothing special about this. It’s pretty bare bones to be honest, but at the same time I never felt like it was that much of a chore to play through.
Wrestlemania X8 also features a really cool mode that never gets the respect it deserves. That mode is Battle For The Belts, where there are over 50 made up wrestling championships. Some of these fictional belts were modeled after real belts like the ECW Championship. You can challenge the CPU for one of these belts, and if you win it you can rename it and change the colour. Then you can defend it against a buddy in multiplayer. It was a lot of fun to play this with a friend and see who could win the most belts.
Wrestlemania X8 was a really good wrestling game. I got it the same day I got my first GameCube and had no complaints with it from a game play point of view at all. The single player season may be lacking, but I felt the battle for the belts did a great job in making the game not get boring to fast. Wrestlemania X8 may have not aged all that well as it does feel incredibly simple to play, but with that simplicity comes a certain charm that I feel is lacking in some of the more modern wrestling games.
Leave comment below, “like” and share, and be apart of the Gamester81 forums. Click here: