Backflips off of second-story construction sites, weed wackers wielded as weapons, and a roster full of underground wrestling celebrities... These are just a few of the things you'll see and do when playing Eidos' Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood, the sequel to 2003's Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This at Home. We've spent some time beating up our opponents with household implements, and we've gotten a good feel for the gameplay features found in this over-the-top beat-'em up.
Fans of the this brutal form of sports entertainment should be pleased with the roster, which features more than 20 fighters to choose from, including actual independent extreme grapplers New Jack, Vic Grimes, Sandman, and Sick Nick Mondo. Of course, you'll also find the ever-present Insane Clown Posse duo Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope and a host of unlockable Backyard Wrestling brawlers. Let's not forget the ladies, because performers Tylene Buck, Sunrise Adams, and Tera Patrick all lend their fine female forms to the game, too. Finally, the inclusion of rock-and-roll oddity Andrew WK rounds out an impressive, if eccentric, cast of characters.
The main game features two modes: exhibition and career. In exhibition mode, you'll set your grapplers of choice loose in any one of a number of different match locales, from the traditional backyard or trailer park arena, to more bizarre settings such as a restaurant, brewery, or mini golf course. As was the case in the previous version of Backyard Wrestling 2, each locale contains plenty of opportunities to both deal destruction to the combat arena and mete out punishment to your opponent. Many of the objects found in the game--like tables, sheds, and barbecue grills, for example--are simply there to be destroyed and subsequently wielded as deadly weapons. This is in addition to objects that are already lying on the ground when a match begins, like golf clubs, power drills, sledgehammers, and chain saws. Nearly everything you see can be used to draw "the juice" from your rival.
Backyard Wrestling 2's career mode will likely be where most gamers will spend the majority of their time with the game. Your first step in career mode will be to create a wrestler from scratch by using the game's create-a-wrestler tool. After choosing a name for your extreme alter ego, you'll find a number of appearance options to modify, including a number of body, face, and hairstyle choices. Multiple outfits for the upper body, lower body, and feet are also available, as is a custom logo creator. You can choose from more than 120 different tattoo-style logos that you can place anywhere on your character's face or body, and you also have the option of changing the size, color, and rotation of your chosen brand. As you progress through the game's career mode, you'll also be able to spend the money you earn from match victories on accessories to further customize your wrestler. Hats, pipes, bandoliers, and much more are all available for the purchasing. You can tailor your character's move set in this mode as well, right down to the specific types of grappling, jump, dash, and ground attacks used in any given match situation. Don't forget to choose your supermove as well, since you'll have 25 of these punishing finishing moves to choose from.
Get Your Bloody Satisfaction
The object of Backyard Wrestling 2's career mode is to win the Backyard Wrestling Championship and the $1 million check that comes with it. When you initially start the career mode, you'll take on a series of generic Backyard Wrestling foes in a number of different settings, and you'll have the option of learning the ropes through a series of missions designed to teach you the finer points of BYW's controls. Each mission has a goal associated with it that must be completed before a match is complete. To move on to the next mission, you must successfully complete the challenge and win the match. Examples of these mission types include executing three blocks in a match or performing three grapple reversals. Once you have completed these missions, you can participate in a number of challenges for each locale. Challenges are more involved and can involve things like dealing with a "run-in" opponent while locked in battle with your original foe or engaging in a survival-style series of matches that you must win to complete.
For BYW2, the developers have included a number of new grappling wrinkles that should add some depth to the actual matches. The basic controls are easy to grasp. There are two buttons for punching and kicking, and there's one grapple button. Once you've got your opponent locked up, you can choose to perform a number of elaborate throws or submission holds by hitting a subsequent face button on the controller. These throws can range from simple slams to spine-crushing, multiple-story neck-breakers (when executed near ledges). BYW2 also features throws that are location- and prop-specific. Perform one of these "enviro-mental" throws (as they're referred to in the game) near the back of a parked car, for example, and you'll toss your opponent into the trunk of the car, and you'll even be able to slam his head with the hood a few times for good measure. A similar throw near the side of a trailer wall might find you performing a Matrix-style walk-up/backflip combination.
Weapons play a big role in your success in BYW2 matches. Barbed-wire bats, chain saws, and stray 2x4s are just a few examples of the kinds of bloodletting equipment at your disposal. You can also use the bloodthirsty crowd that's watching your match to your advantage. Toss your opponent into the crowd and there's a good chance its members will grab him and hold him still, thus giving you a perfect opportunity to take advantage of his immobility so that you can wale away on him.
Each competitor in a match has a turbo meter that slowly fills up as a match progresses. You can use the turbo gauge in several ways: to quickly dash around the match arena, to execute various hold reversals, and to perform your special supermove. You can only use this finishing move once your turbo meter is completely filled, so you'll want to use your sprints and counters judiciously.
Backyard Wrestling 2 features the sort of extreme mayhem and grisly thrills fans of the series have come to expect. The game's pick-up-and-play control style and over-the-top attitude are two of its strongest features. Stay tuned for more coverage of BYW2 as we lead up to its mid-November release date.