History of WWF/E Games Part 35
WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain
Sony Playstation 2
Time to look at the last game in the original Smackdown series.
Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain was the first game in the series not to have a subtitle that was a catchphrase of The Rock. “Here comes the pain” was a term used by commentator Taz when Brock Lesnar would make his entrance to the ring.
Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain was the third game in the series to grace the Playstation 2 and it would also be the last game in the WWF/E Smackdown series before the games would go on to be called Smackdown vs RAW the following year. Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain is regarded by many as the best game in the Smackdown series and more often than not it comes down to a battle between this and WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64, as to what is the best WWF/E game.
Legends of the WWE were included for the first time in the series. Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were supposed to be in the game, but Ultimate Warrior was left out because of legal reasons and Hulk Hogan and the WWE had yet another falling out that saw him leave the company. This was a real shame as there was going to be multiple versions of Hulk Hogan in the game. For example there would be a 80’s Hogan who would have had different stats than the modern Hogan would have had. In addition to these two Legends, there were a few current WWE wrestlers who were cut last minute; most notably Jeff Hardy. Through hacks some talented people have been able to find character models of the cut wrestlers still on the game disc.
I was full of praise for the last game in the series Shut Your Mouth when it came to the character models. Yet somehow Yukes outdid them selves, and the wrestlers look even better. It’s not so much just the character models that look great, but its the way that they manage to capture there little mannerisms. Goldberg who made his only appearance in the Smackdown series in this game for example is amazing.
The arenas in the game all look great as well and there is a huge selection of them. There are 18 different arenas in the game all the WWE TV shows and pay-per-views (including the UK ones) are included, but what is even cooler is that there are an additional two arenas, where both RAW and Smackdown have an alternate arena. Granted the difference is only really noticeable if you really take the time to look, but its still incredible that this game has that amount of arenas. As well as this, the fans look better this time around. While they still are not highly detailed, they look better than they have done in the past.
The commentary in this game is much improved over Shut Your Mouth, and the reason for this is because there is none. Yep, that’s right, they took out all of the play by play commentary and I for one was not unhappy in the slightest. Yukes always struggled with having good commentary, so in this game decided not to include it.
One huge feature that was added to Here Comes The Pain was the inclusions of Legends in the games roster. Most of us older wrestling fans love the old days, and Here Comes The Pain had some Legends. The Legends in the game would enter the ring in the little carts like they used at the Wrestlemania III pay-per-view in 1987. Sadly they never had there own entrance music, but it was still cool to be able to use some of these older guys with the current roster. Sadly the Legends roster was quite small as Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were excluded as mentioned before.
This is where Here Comes The Pain really shines. The game has not been given a complete overhaul, but there has been some major game play changes that would go onto alter the way the Smackdown vs RAW series of games would be played for years to come. The reversal system is the first big change. Gone is a simple one button reversal system. Now you need to use the L2 button to reverse or block strikes (punches and kicks) and use the R2 button to reverse or counter a grapple. This may not sound like a big deal, but it added so much depth to the game play. As you had to try and anticipate if your opponent was going to try and punch you or go for a grapple move. If you anticipated wrong you could be on the wrong end of a real beating.
In addition, the grapple system was given a kick in the pants. You now could do four times the amount of grapple moves. In the older Smackdown games you would simply hit the grapple button and let’s say left on the d pad to do a move. Well now if you did this in same combination you would enter into a specific grapple that would then lead to being able to hit four different moves. I know I am making this sound complex, but its so incredibly easy and it makes the matches so much more enjoyable.
Another game play change was the inclusion of limb specific damage. On the screen shots I am sure you can see next to the wrestlers name bar there is a body. When you hit certain moves they will damage a specific body part. When that body part turns red it means there has been heavy damage. So if you pick a wrestler who has a leg submission for a finishing move then you will want to damage there legs before hand. There were much more in depth wrestler attributes this time around as well. Stamina, strength and charisma are just a small example of the categories.
As well as all these new game play changes, there was new match types added. For the first time there was the “Elimination Chamber” match. “The Bra and Panties” match was also included for the first time. If you are not a wrestling fan I am sure you are wondering what the hell is a bra and panties match? In it you are able to pick a WWE Diva, and the idea of the match is to strip the other Diva to her bra and panties.
The season mode in Here Comes The Pain was incredibly in depth. You can pick any guy that you want and as you progress you will earn Smackdown Bucks. What are Smackdown Bucks? This is what you use to buy the unlockables in the game. One really cool thing about the season mode is the wrestler attributes. There was a somewhat RPG element to the season mode that would let you level up your wrestlers attributes. Then when you play an exhibition match outside the season mode, you have the option to play as your leveled up wrestler with there greater attributes or just the standard attributes. They have taken away all the first person wandering around that you had to do in Shut Your Mouth, but I think it works out better as it’s much easier to do what you want to do. I loved the way that at the start of a new season you could edit the rosters of RAW and Smackdown. You could leave wrestlers out altogether if you want. Or you could add created wrestlers, and even the Legends into the season mode if you so wish.
I could have wrote another 1000 words and not really done this game justice. There was just so much new stuff that was added. Stuff that we really take for granted in wrestling games today. Here Comes The Pain was a great end to the original Smackdown series and out of Wrestlemania XIX on the GameCube and RAW 2 on the Xbox. Again, just like last year the Playstation 2 had the best wrestling game of the year. Like I mentioned before, I wouldn’t call this the best wrestling game of all time, but Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain is a fantastic wrestling game that would easily make my top ten list of greatest ever wrestling games.
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