History of WWF/E Games Part 22
WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role
Time to look at the last WWF game on Playstation 1.
You may have expected this review to be WWF No Mercy as in the USA I have heard that No Mercy was released just before Smackdown 2, however here in the UK we got Smackdown 2 first. So that is why I have chosen this order.
It’s kind of crazy that THQ had the balls to release a sequel to a game they brought out less than a year earlier, but they did. Back in 2000-2001 many fans say that this is a time when the WWF was at its peak. So this is one of the reasons they got away with releasing a sequel so fast. The other reason is that while this was a quick release it is far from a cash in. This game is huge, and it features a ton of stuff over its predecessor.
This may only relate to the UK release, but on the back of the box you can see Undertaker is in his ministry of darkness attire which does not appear in the game. Also you can see Ken Shamrock’s name bar who was not in the game. Also something interesting is that the Platinum version of this game has WWE logos on the box art as well as in the manual. It also changed the actual Smackdown logo. There was no changes in the actual game, but I always found this change interesting.
Its really hard to say exactly what makes this game better, but to me it just looks a little more clear. Of course with such a quick release after the first game, the graphics are not largely improved. The arenas and the wrestlers just have a little more polish to them. The roster is huge, and it features many first time appearances for numerous wrestlers.
There still was no commentary in the game, but there is a couple of voice samples. Of the top of my head I can only remember The Rock saying something, and that was all. The season mode has a ton of little cut scenes. In theory these were really cool, and they did a great job of making the season mode worth while to play though. There was one huge problem. Load times as many people know some of the games on the original Playstation had brutal load times, and this one was no different. It could be really frustrating to sit through a 30 second or more load time to see a 3 second cut scene of a wrestler arriving at the arena. These cut scenes were a great idea, but sadly they were let down by the hardware.
The create a wrestler mode in this game was amazing. It was even better than what Acclaim did in WWF Attitude. You could easily make wrestlers to fit in with the current roster or you could make some legends as well. One really cool thing that Yukes who were the developers did was to include move sets from wrestlers who were in other organisations such as WCW. So you could make dream matches like Steve Austin vs Goldberg, or The New Age Outlaws vs The Outsiders.
Smackdown 2 played juts like the first game. It was fast arcade style action that anyone can pick up and play. To be honest the game play had not been changed at all, but to be fair the game was a solid fun wrestling game so I am not sure really what they could have done with such a short development time.
Smackdown 2 also featured some really cool new match types. Casket match was really fun, and crazy. In this setting you would need to throw your opponent into the casket to beat them. What was crazy was the way you could pick the casket up to use as a weapon. T he wrestlers would hold the casket as if it was just the same weight as a chair. Also there was “Hell in a Cell” mode which to be honest was not that much different from cage other than the fact you can now climb on top of the cell to fight, and even drop people through. There was also a ladder match included which offered just as much mayhem as the casket match. Here you would need to beat your opponent enough so you could climb the ladder and get the belt. Table and TLC matches were also added. So as you can see as far as match types go this game was stacked.
“Slobberknocker” was my favourite of the new match types, and it is a mode that I would love to see brought back in future WWE games. This mode is straight up arcade action. You can pick a wrestler, and then take on opponent after opponent until you would eventually lose. This mode was a whole lot of fun, and one of my favourite things to do was save up five special moves, and quickly eliminate five guys in a row.
Smackdown 2 also featured a very ambitious season mode. Like I mentioned before this season mode suffered from horrendous load times. After a while this mode really became a chore to play. Not because of the actual cut scenes themselves, but because of all the constant load times. I would sometime be scared to press the X button because I did not want to trigger another cut scene. This season mode was also the way you would unlock numerous things like new arenas and wrestlers. So you had no choice to play through it if you wanted all the wrestlers. One really strange thing was that Steve Austin was a character that had to be unlocked. To be fair he had been injured while this game was in development, but it is very crazy to think that he was not on the character select screen when you first boot up the game.
Smackdown 2 was and still is a great game. This to me is a great sequel it kept most of what made the original a great game, but added a ton of new stuff that made it a very worthwhile purchase. It’s really hard to imagine a wrestling fan that has not had the pleasure of playing this game. It was released at a great time when fans would argue over if the WWF games on the Playstation were best or if the ones on Nintendo 64 were. I really do miss the days when we would get different wrestling games on all the consoles instead of the same game on all platforms like we get now.