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WWF No Mercey (N64) Review

Background Info
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 was no doubt the best ever WWF-based videogame released here in the United States when it was released a little over a year ago. THQ has followed up their top selling hit with WWF No Mercy. As expected, the game bascially used the same engine with tweaks.

Presentation/Graphics : 90
Graphically, the game appears very similar to WWF Wrestlemania 2000. While the basic overall graphical feel of the game was carried over, the developers worked to include the minor details of the wrestlers' clothing.

The crowd has a little more depth and is more animated. However, part of the consquences is that the game speed takes a considerable hit with four wrestlers on the screen at once. The game runs fine during single matches but the same could not be said for a royal rumble or during a tag-team match with all 4 wrestlers in at the same time. I could have lived with a downgrade in crowd effects/animations in exchange for constant frame rates.

Presentation/Audio : 40
The audio has never been a strong point in this series. Unfortunately, the tradition carries over from the lack of quality audio in WWF Wrestlemania 2000. There are still no announcers. All you hear during matches are the regular sounds of wrestlers being slammed onto the mat along with the music in the background. At least the game has the proper sound effects whenever someone gets hit with a bell or gets slammed onto a chair.

Interface/Options : 95
For those who thought WWF Wrestlemania 2000 had a lot of game modes, they won't be disappointed with WWF No Mercy. The game contains championship modes for the WWF, WWF Tag Team, Intercontinental, European, Hardcore, Light Heavy Weight, and Women's Belts. Each of the championship modes unlocks hidden wrestlers, managers and valets. A disappointment is the game does not allow for two human players to work their way up to winning the tag-team belts.

The game comes with all of the game modes found in WWF Wrestlemania 2000: single, tag, triple threat, handicap, cage, royal rumble in combinations with guest referee, iron man and an all-new ladder match.

The newest game mode is, of course, the ladder match, where the winner has to climb onto a ladder and snatch a belt 15 feet above the ring. Before climbing aboard the ladder, make sure the ladder is set near the little dark shadow of the belts high above the ring or else your wrestler will be helpless with your opponent likely to knock you off the ladder, which they can do a couple of ways. The ladder could be knocked down when someone runs into it, by a flying weapon or sometimes running attacks might as well.

The game has a nice twist in the Smackdown Mall, which is basically the create-a-wrestler portion of the game. This is where you go to choose your arsenal of moves, although some moves need to be bought with the money earned fighting for the belts, such as the Jackknife Powerbomb.

Gameplay : 85
WWF No Mercy plays like last year's game, WWF Wrestlemania 2000, which is not neccessarily a bad thing at all. The line of games from the developers has been using the same grappling system for over four games now. Why change a tire when it doesn't need to be changed? As usual, most of the real WWF wrestlers and their signature moves are incorporated into the game.

So all moves are still performed through the same grappling system, in which timing plays a vital role in determining the outcome of each grapple. Of course the slowed down frame rates makes it a bit tougher to get the timing down with four players on screen at once.

Special moves are done the same way as always in THQ N64 wrestling games. Once your meter flashes special, you strong-grab your opponent and twirl the analog joystick. You can usually get off at least two specials, sometimes three if you are quick enough. The special moves actually work in grounding an opponent on the mat for a short bit. Also, the game does allow two people to perform the 3-D by simply just tossing an opponent to the ropes and then pressing the appropiate buttons. You do not have to wait till your wrestler gets special for this move.

A new feature to the game is the backstage fighting environments. Each backstage area is not just a big square with no objects. For example, there is a hall way that is long and narrow. Doors are on the side that could take you to different rooms. I really love this aspect of the game. You are no longer just contained to the ring. You might end up fighting in a sports club where you will be able to body slam your opponent right through the pool table. Or you can pick up trash cans and toss them at other wrestlers.

The AI could use improvement though. There will be a lot of instances where you will be amazed at the stupidity of the AI. For instance, during a triple threat ladder match, I was outside the ring battling it out with another wrestler and the computer was in the ring all by himself standing next to the ladder, which I even set up for him in the center of the ring, yet he never tried climbing it one time. And during handicap matches while I was pinning one of the opponents, the other wrestler would walk towards me and just stand there. Sometimes the wrestler would try to knock me off but more often than not he would just stand there. Also another cheap strategy is to set the ladder match in the center of the ring and just walk around it, build up your special by taunting and make sure the ladder is always between your opponent and you. Once you get your special meter up, use it twice and just climb up the ladder. It would have been nicer if the computer was programmed to knock down the ladder if they were taken advantage of.

Replay Value : 90
As mentioned before, the game has seven championship modes, each of which would take at least a few days to complete if you spend a couple of hours a day. That is only the single player aspect of the game. The storyline concept of WWF No Mercy has been improved upon as in certain matches the outcome will vary depending on whether you lose or win the match. I do wish that the storyline was a bit more random though, instead of basically using the same wrestlers and cut scenes. Whenever you try to win the same belt with different wrestlers, you can almost guess exactly what you have to go through. Not only is WWF No Mercy enjoyable single-player, but the game is also a lot of fun with three other people in the same room playing at the same time although the slow framerates does take a little away from it.

Overall : 85
THQ once again has a solid wrestling titles on their hands. With such new additions as the ladder match, more in-depth championship modes, and new wrestlers, WWF No Mercy is definitely a good investment even with some of the AI problems found in the game.

By: James Chheng 2/21/01

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