Wrestling games of late have been accused of omitting essential features such as cage fights, Hell in a Cell, Ironman match and other match types. WrestleMania on the GameCube attempts to put this right and offers a dazzling array of features that will be enough to excite any wrestling fan. Indeed to list all of the games features would take an age and with other games to review it wouldn't be a good idea. Of course a boat load of options mean nothing if the gameplay isn't up to much so let's take a look at the form of WrestleMania X8.
GameCube fans will be pleased to know that WrestleMania is a more complete wrestling package than WWE Raw, which appeared on the XBOX. The game contains an updated roster for 2002 and nWo superstars such as Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Of course if there isn't a wrestler who you want to fight as, you can create your own with the impressive 'Create a Superstar' feature and pick the look and move set that you want.
The game modes on offer are Exhibition, Path of a Champion and Battle for the Belts. Exhibition mode, as usual, is for you to arrange the kind of match you want, whether that is a tag team match or a colossal Royal Rumble. Exhibition is for one or two players. Path of a Champion is probably the mode that most gamers are going to head for, as it offers the greatest long-term challenge. It is also possible to unlock further wrestlers in the Path of a Champion mode. Battle for the Belts is a two player only mode in which you have to compete to win custom belts. Each player must have a memory card to play this mode.
GameCube owners who would have looked at the screenshots for WWE Raw and wondered if WrestleMania would have been as good graphically will be pleased to know that the visuals in WrestleMania are superb and in my opinion as good as those in WWE Raw. The character movement also seems less wooden than in Raw. Even in the throws of a Royal Rumble or a Battle Royal, the framerate doesn't appear to drop. What is noticeable though is the poor collision detection. Sometimes it is difficult to make contact with your opponent because of this problem. I have also had the referee pass straight through my wrestler, which was not pleasing to see even if it does not affect the gameplay.
The game is not subtitled but it doesn't really have to be. Countdown's are shown visually but the decisions such as rope break etc. are not. There isn't anything that affects the gameplay though and WrestleMania is OK for deaf gamers.
To sum up WrestleMania X8 is a difficult task. It looks great and it plays OK. Despite each wrestler having a copious amount of moves, only a few are actually used in a match which is a bit of a letdown. The collision detection is also disappointing and something we should not be seeing in today's software. Despite the faults though, WrestleMania is a solid if unspectacular game that should appease wrestling fans, for now.
Overall Game Rating: 7.1/10 WrestleMania X8, whilst good, could have been so much better.
Deaf Gamers comment: Countdowns are shown visually but little else is. There is not that much verbal information to be subtitled though.