It's an excellent sounding game that makes it worth buying that stereo cable once and for all.
The wrestlers themselves are animated well and some of the flashier venues look awesome. Each wrestler has his own unique entrance that reflects his personality and style. The intro that lets you see a wrestler (Goldberg?) being created with a personality of 95% aggression that starts to rage and finally gets loose, running towards the arena, followed by some real footage looks really cool and makes you want to run head-first into the ring and bash it out! The menus look nice indeed and have an animated WCW Mayhem logo rotating in the corners. That logo is one that you will find yourselves looking at a lot during load-screens but more on that later. The layout of the game is very good and makes the game look very ambitious with many things going on during all parts of the game, using stills and photos in the background. Some of the stills are very close to gay though with the championship belt covering the most private parts of a wrestler's body in an embarrassing close close-up. Some of the venues look a bit boring though and the audience surrounding the ring looks terrible! It's just a flat mess of colors. Otherwise the 3d is well made, although there are some graphic related sprite mistakes (for example, as you climb into the ring, the ropes disappear sometimes and as you win a championship belt and hold it up and show it to the audience it's kind of just hanging there magically, out of perspective with your hands. This also shows through as you execute some of the submission moves where body parts merges in some strange way. As you go through the wrestler selecting screen you'll see a 3d model of the fighter who's statistics are currently showing and you are able to rotate him using the L and R buttons. In the creation of your own wrestler you get to customize a lot, including hair, skin-color, body-size and micro-management of your clothes etc. Very cool feature! The only thing I can add on the negative side of things are that the sprite detection system is flawed, meaning that sometimes as you attack, you miss for no apparent reason! All in all the game looks very good despite the graphic layer-bugs and flaws in the sprite collision detection.
The sound is awesomeness personified (or, well, gameified). The themes are all there, comprising of Heavy metal-laden streaks of guitar riffing accompanied by pounding drumbeats and bursting solos working together with laid-back hip hop tunes and some classical music mastery (in some of the entrances), the sound effects serve their purpose more than well! A few thumps, boofs, grunts and the like of which you would expect. The two commentators, I guess they are Tony Schivonne and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, sound incredible and really enhance the experience as they complain about you using the same move over and over or salute you (or your opponent) when you pull off a cool move. I find myself actually trying to impress them! I know they arejust recorded voices, I know, but then again, I'm not really normal. It's an excellent sounding game that makes it worth buying that stereo cable once and for all.
Oddly, this game lacks a little where it really matters. Don't get me wrong, it's an absolute joy to enter the ring and battle it out with one (or two, or three) of the featured wrestlers in one of the many different types of matches available. You can also fully customize the rules and settings of each match. There is a story mode (called "Quest for the best") that lets you choose a wrestler and then go through all the challenges and finally become the greatest wrestler of all! What also adds to the entertainment is the possibility to battle not only outside the ring, but also in the various backstage areas of the venues, where there is an assortment of "weapons" available, like chairs, bats, tasers etc. So far so good, right? Well, the problem with this game is the difficulty of the game and the enemy AI. Starting with difficulty, it's too easy. I went through the complete story mode without losing a single fight on the EASY setting. The MEDIUM setting offers some AI, but it's still way too easy. One good example of the awful AI is when your opponent finally climbs out of the ring (unfortunately, this happens rarely) he invariably gets two chairs and throws them into the fighting area, so you can pick one up and just bash it over his head when he tries to get back in the ring. Very entertaining indeed but… Another example is that every time (invariably, again) you miss a dropkick and land on the mat the enemy kick or punch air as you get up, giving you an opportunity to strike them as you rise. The HARD setting should have let the opponents use cooler and more difficult moves instead of just giving them an advantage in the grappling side of things. The idea of using a momentum meter is cool though and it adds the feeling of an invulnerability to try out different kinds of moves, not having to be afraid of losing health. Unfortunately this system eases the difficulty level even more. On HARD difficulty you actually lose a fight every now and then (especially if you play with the "run-in" mode, which lets a second opponent jump into the action for a while), but it's still too easy. The multiplayer is still very cool though, but the bad AI and easy difficulty drags the percentage down on this one. The most annoying is, as usual with Electronic arts' games, the loading time. Jesus! How long has Electronic arts been developing games for this machine? Still, every time EA releases a game, the loading time would make a grown man cry.
There is A LOT to do in this game, and with over 60 fighters, over 12 venues with accompanied backstage areas and the option to create a wrestler and save it to your memory-card and take it to your buddy's and whip his behind, you'll be playing this for a long time. Also, you'll want to unlock the unlockable fighters through completing the story mode a few times on different difficulty settings using different fighters. Bashing at each other with different chairs and tools are devastatingly enjoyable and this is a game you'll keep coming back to despite the programming related flaws of the AI and difficulty settings. It's an easy game to just pick up and play for a few minutes when you get home from work (or school).
A game that is fun but frustratingly easy with many unlockables and many different kinds of matches and wrestlers to try out, on many different arenas with a stunning audio and very nice visuals.