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
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
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.