By: Joe Rolfe
position THQ is in. In just a handful of years, the publisher
went from a moderately average company with a decent title
here and there to a huge mainstream player in the business,
releasing strong title after strong title. Of course, most of
this probably wouldn’t have happened had they not secured
the lucrative WWF license two years ago. Along with titles on
the N64, THQ managed to squeeze two WWF games out of the aging
PSone hardware, under the name WWF Smackdown. While
they games may have turned off more hardcore purists of
wrestling with it’s light, up-tempo gameplay, it’s
plethora of modes and wrestlers still had the game as a top
ten seller for months on end. THQ and developer Yukes are back
in action with the third gem in the series, WWF Smackdown!
Just Bring It. JBI may not look like a huge overhaul of
the first game, but that’s not such a bad thing considering
how the game is shaping up so far.
It will play nearly identical to its two predecessors. If you’re
used to the same fighting-game style tap-tap-tap gameplay of
Smackdown 2, then you’ll feel right at home. Returning again
is the fast, quick paced ‘rasslin from the PSone
incarnations, featuring over 1,000 separate moves to
win your wrestler the WWF Championship Belt. New counters and
reversals are being implemented too. The game’s animation
quality has increased as well, so thanks in part to the
powerful PS2 hardware, the movements of each wrestler should
look much, much smoother and realistic than the somewhat jumpy
and choppy animation of the first two games.
will also present the fans with a staggering 70 modes of play.
Of course, most of them are slight alterations and mixes of
amounts of wrestlers in the ring, but even the thought of a
near endless combination of matches is a wrestling fan’s wet
dream. Hell In a Cell, Cage, TLC – you name it, Just Bring
It has it. On top of this, JBI will contain an improved career
mode that is set to have even more dramatics to replicate the
soap opera storyline seen every week on TV. More backstage
altercations and environments are in the cards as well.
JBI is a mixed bag. While by no means is it ugly, JBI still
leaves a little bit to be desired. The polygon count in each
wrestler doesn’t really appear to have been upped a lot. The
textures have been smoothed out and look much better than the
original Smackdown!, but compared to the Xbox’s Raw Is
War, they pail in comparison. Still, Just Bring It does
have a few aces up its sleeve, featuring some incredible new
lighting and shadowing in all aspects of the game. The game
has the best entrances I’ve ever seen in a wrestling game.
The camera angles, mannerisms and music are all done to
perfection. From Stone Cold’s strut to the ring to The Rock
closing his eyes and "smelling" the intensity on top
of the ring post, JBI gets down and dirty with each entrance
real huge addition or noticeable improvement, WWF Smackdown!
Just Bring it is on track to be one of the year’s hottest
titles. The series has always needed just a little bit of
extra polish, and JBI appears to be just that. Be ready to
Bring It come the game’s release.