TNA are currently the closest thing that the WWE has to competition. At the very least whether you are a fan or not they at least provide a different option for your weekly pro wrestling fix. Here in the UK they are actually pretty popular as they are on a free TV channel that everyone gets.
A video game based on TNA had been rumored since around 2003 and many names such as EA, and the one that seemed to get mentioned most Rockstar, were rumored to be involved. However in 2005 it would be Midway who would get the rights to make games based on TNA. It would take a few years for their first game to make it to the stores. The game sold well enough with over a million copies sold, but the financial problems at Midway put a stop to a sequel.
The character models in this game look amazing. The roster is pretty small, but the wrestlers that are here look great. I think that the faces of the wrestlers in particular are much better than what the WWE games were offering at the time. Booker T I think still looks better in this game than he does in the current WWE one. Now to be fair the wrestlers in the WWE games have facial animations where as the ones in TNA iMPACT! do not, but I think they look all the better for not having the animations.
There are not a great deal of arenas in the game, but the main one being the TNA iMPACT! zone really does look great as does the TNA six sided ring which is what they used at the time. I think the arenas do have a kind of small town feel to them which I actually really liked. The games sound is great and the story mode in particular features some really amazing voice acting. All of the wrestlers sound just like they do on TV and none of them sound like they are just phoning it in, which is the case for some of the wrestlers in the WWE games.
To say that this game was in development, there really is not a great deal to the game play at all. This is an arcade style wrestling game and if you can get over that, you will have much more fun with this game. If you go into it expecting the kind of depth that the WWE games have then you are going to be very disappointed. The game moves at a really fast pace, but sadly the wrestlers have really small move sets so you will be seeing the same moves over and over again.
You can wrestle outside of the ring, but there is only one weapon; a steel chair. WWF RAW on the 16-bit consoles back in 1994 at least had two weapons outside of the ring. Speaking of outside of the ring, making your wrestler run into the steps that are located at the side of the ring really is funny as hell. The game play is actually quite fun in TNA iMPACT! and I just wish that there was more moves and that the wrestlers felt different from each other than they do.
As far as the game modes go there is not a great deal on offer here. You have your singles, tag team and fatal four way matches as well as submission and falls count anywhere. One of TNA’s flagship matches Ultimate X is included. This is where a large X is hanging above the ring and you need to climb the ring posts and move along the wire to grab it. This is a really fun game mode and by far my favorite. Sadly this is all there is in terms of game modes. There is no non rules matches, table matches, ladder matches or even King Of The Mountain or Six Sides Of Steel which are two of TNA’s most famous match types.
The single player mode is really fun and it sees you playing the role of a fictional wrestler called “Suicide”. You get beaten up one night and find yourself in Mexico with no clue of how to get back, so you give yourself a new persona using the very limited create a wrestler mode and try and make your way back to TNA. It is pretty well written and has some great voice acting, but the AI in this mode can be cheap as hell and seems to reverse your moves a great deal. TNA on TV actually really played this mode up and even had a wrestler on TV called Suicide which was pretty funny.
TNA iMPACT! may have been lacking in content, but this is a game that for at least a few weeks I had a great deal of fun with. I would like to say that if it had some more development time it would have been even better, but it took Midway long enough to release it in this state. As this game can be picked up dirt cheap I would say that if you are a wrestling fan it offers a nice alternative to the WWE games, but do not expect a great deal of replay value.
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