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WWF Smackdown! 2
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Yukes
Publisher:   THQ
Genre:   Wrestling
# of Players:    1-4
Est. Release Date:   November 2000
Posted:   10-24-00

Just eight months since the original release of WWF Smackdown!, THQ is back with the sophomore follow-up titled Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role. Normally I’d be skeptical of a company publishing a sequel in such a short span of time, but THQ’s mindset wasn’t on entirely revamping the Smackdown! license, but rather to polish and modify the existing mold. While the first game was quite good as opposed to other PSX wrestling games, it did have it’s fair share of rough spots and in the end did not match up to the N64’s WrestleMania 2000. No matter, however, since this is the reasoning to why the next installment in the series will be arriving on PlayStation in just a short time. New characters, more modes and a refined engine should prove Smackdown! 2 to be one of the greatest wrestling titles ever, not to mention one of the last great games on the fading PlayStation hardware.

Quite frankly, the most exciting new feature of Smackdown! 2 will be the plethora of new modes. Ranging from a Tables Ladders and Chairs match (TLC), to the gimmicky – yet classic – Casket match, Smackdown! 2 will let the player recreate just about any famous event in WWF history. More importantly, though, are the two additions that fans have been craving for years: ladder and Hell in a Cell matches. Without a doubt these two formats will finally allow us to have our own Hardy Boyz / Edge and Christian famous ladder matches, or a replication of the death-defying Mankind and Undertaker HIAC as well.

But wait, there’s more! On top of the great new modes I mentioned above, Yukes will still include all the past favorites of Smackdown!, such as I Quit Match and Special Referee. If a WWF fan cannot find any enjoyment whatsoever between all of the modes of play, well then… you’re just not a real fan, to put it bluntly.

Backstage brawls are getting a face-lift as well. New areas, which include the VIP room, WWF Superstar locker rooms and even the WWF New York Restaurant, among others, will make their debut in Smackdown! 2. This increased number of venues, not to mention a retouched Career/story mode, should make Know Your Role the most "real" to life WWF game in existence.

One (or rather, two) part of Smackdown! that didn’t totally reek of awesomeness by far was the Create-A-Wrestler feature and Create A Pay Per View. Don’t get me wrong; they weren’t horrible by any great leaps of the mind, but after what we’ve come to expect from THQ it came off as a big disappointment. For starters, the CAW was very, very weak and didn’t even compare to the incredibly deep CAW that the N64’s WrestleMania 2000 claimed home to. It had a laughable number of customization options and in the end didn’t give the player as much control over their CAW’ as it should have. Thankfully, Yukes will not be screwing us fans over a 2nd time, as they are concerned about tooling and reconfiguring this feature piece by piece. More costumes, more moves to chose and even a Create A Taunt is set to arrive in fashion that only the WWF can provide.

On the other hand, the Create-A-PPV will also receive a new paint job as well. While the mode itself may not have been a huge priority to begin with, a few extra items will be added. Date of the event, the arena it’s taking/taken place in and the full titles and content of the matches themselves will be included as the advancements to the Be Your Own Vince McMaho… err, CAPPV mode.

Despite all these new additions, Yukes is still on task to pack in as much current "WWF Attitude" (no relation to the game, mind you) into Smackdown! 2 as they can. A full roster update will see the most recent gimmicks of wrestlers, plus a ton of new faces will be making an appearance as well. Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Tazz, Lita, Too Cool and many more will see their first outing in Smackdown! 2. Yukes has captured nearly all the mannerisms and nuances of our favorite WWF characters down to the T, which vary from a precise replication of Scotty 2 Hotty’s Worm to the Goodfather’s recent dropping of the pimp-daddy outfit and donning the RTC trunks. Greater than this, however, is the differentiation of moves and animations between each fighter. In the first Smackdown! almost all the wrestlers shared half of the same moves, something that WrestleMania avoided by including the individual actions of each wrestler. So, like the good souls they are, Yukes has adapted and spread out the variation a little more. The Hardyz should be a more high-flying team, while bruisers like Albert or Bradshaw should be packing the stiff power moves down to the mat. (And yes, you violence-loving freaks, those damn Dudleyz can give a 3D to a poor opponent strait through a table). Anyway, If THQ and Yukes can live up to keeping a discrepancy between all the grapplers, the replay value and freshness of Smackdown! 2 should go through the roof.

WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role is expected to ship to retailers in a little under a month, so you wrestling marks out there should start saving the cash now. This will be the last WWF game we’ll ever see released on the PlayStation (or so I hope, for technology’s sake), so don’t hesitate in enjoying Yuke’s next grappling masterpiece. IF YA SMELL-la-la-la… oh, screw it.
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