Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 12/07/00 | Updated: 12/07/00

One of the best wrestling games on the PSX.

WWF SmackDown 2: Know Your Role was released in November of 2000 for the Sony Playstation. It was developed by Yukes (the developers of the original WWF Smackdown and the Touken Retsuden series in Japan.) WWF SD2 was distributed by THQ. This game features many enhancements over the original. Among them are: a Create a Manager mode, a Create a Taunt mode for use in the improver Create a Wrestler mode, a Ladder match (this is the first PSX game to feature one), it also features a Hell in a Cell mode (this is the first game in history to feature one), and a Casket match (again, this is the first game in history to feature one.) This game has a roster of over 50 wrestlers and features more backstage areas than the original game. This game also allows you to execute certain moves on the ringside announce table.

Graphics-8/10- The graphics in SD2 are, for the most part, amazing. The character models are top-notch, they are full of minor details (like Scotty 2 Hotty’s bucket hat.) The facial animations are a nice touch, there are well done and add quite a bit of personality to some of the characters (X-Pac and Chris Jericho especially.) The game’s physics are the best ever in a wrestling game; everything moves like it should, for example, the ropes move when a weapon hits them, and the belt in Ladder matches sways freely in the air. Lighting effects are used well in the game. Even though the game’s backstage areas are enormous, they are still very detailed. The collision detection is the best I've ever seen in a wrestling game, it's very realistic. Not everything about the graphics is great though. The FMV used in the game and character introductions is excellent, it’s crystal clear. Slowdown is very noticable when more that two characters are on-screen..

Pros- Excellent character designs. Nice facial animations. Highly detailed backstage areas. Well-done character models.
Cons- Slowdown.

Sound-8/10- The game’s sound is a bit of a mixed bag. The sound effects, especially those used for the game’s many weapons are perfect, they each fit their weapon. The theme music is also exceptional, every theme song is crystal clear (by the way, the Undertaker now comes out to the Raw is War rap song, his song starts just like it does on TV, and then segues into the Raw theme, it’s very well executed.) The only downside to the sound (and it’s a doozy, it knocks the sound down two points) is the in-game music. Normally, I can tolerate music during wrestling games, but in this game, it’s nothing but generic rock (including one song that sounds like the People’s Court theme.) The sound bite at the beginning of the game by Jim Ross is a nice touch. Here’s some bad news for those who love in-game commentary; there is no commentary in the game, I could care less though, only a few wrestling games have done it well in the past.

Pros- Excellent sound effects. Theme music is clear.
Cons- Generic in-game music.

Gameplay-7/10- There is a lot of stuff to do in this game. Tons of new modes grace this game, from the Ladder match, to the Casket match, it’s all in the game. Here’s a listing of the returning modes: Single, Tag, Hardcore, Anywhere Fall, Handicap, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble, Cage, I Quit, Create A Superstar, Create A PPV, and Special Referee. Some new additions have been made to some of the returning modes; in the Special Referee mode, for example, you can have 2 referees in one match. The Hardcore mode now allows to to have a Time Limit Title match involving 4 wrestlers, if the champion is pinned, he loses his title, the winner has to try to hold on to the the title until the time limit expires. The Create A Superstar mode has been greatly improved, you can now adjust virtually anyhing about your wrestlers, from the thickness of their arms and legs, to the signs that the fans hold up.
There are many new modes in the game as well, here’s a brief description of each of them.
Survivor- It’s you against multiple opponents in a hardcore match.
Casket match- Your goal is to beat your opponent down enough so that you can throw them in a casket and close the lid on them. The casket can be used as a weapon.
Hell in a Cell- You and your opponent square off in a 15 foot high enclosed steel cage. You can exit the cage by throwing your opponent (or yourself for that matter) through one of the four doors located on the cage. You can climb to the top of the cage and throw your opponent through the middle of it. Or you can throw or pummel them enough so that they will fall off of the cage. Yukes did a great job on this mode.
Iron Man- Whoever scores the most falls within a set time limit wins the match.
Ladder- Your goal is to climb a ladder and grab the title belt suspended high above the ring before your opponent does. You can knock your opponent off of the ladder if they attempt to get the belt. You can do moves off of the top of the ladder.
Table- The goal of this match is to put your opponent through a table. Whoever does this first, wins the match.
Slobberknocker- Pin or knockout as many people as you can within a set time limit.
TLC (hidden)- A Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Your goal is identical to a ladder match, except now you can use tables and chairs in the match to destroy your opponent. Another well-done mode.
Create a Taunt- Combine any of the many pre-made animations to make a taunt that you can call your very own. This mode can be tons of fun if you put some effort into it.
Create a Stable- Create a stable of wrestler or edit an existing one. There is a maximum of four wrestlers per stable.
Create a Manager- Create a manager to accompany a wrestler, use an existing wrestler, or one that you’ve made. A manager cannot be shared by wrestlers. There you have it folks, over 20 modes grace the game. Some of them are well done, most notably the Hell in a Cell and Ladder matches, but many of the newer modes, most notably, the Table match, feel kind of tacked on. Thankfully, the well-done modes far outweigh the poorly executed modes. The game engine does most of the newer, action-packed modes (i.e. the Hell in a Cell) justice, but it doesn’t accurately produce the old-school-style modes (mainly the Single, Iron Man and Tag modes) in the game as well as it could, the game engine is far too fast to really have a classic technical wrestling match because of you really can’t build up to an ending in a match, you usually just hit something and hope iit gets the pin, this is a big disappointment in my opinion.

Pros- LOTS of modes. Game engine does most of the newer modes justice.
Cons- Unfortunately, the game engine also screws up the ability to have a slow-paced technical match.

Control-10/10- The controls are virtually identical to the original. New, easy to execute double team moves have been added to this edition of the series (the most notable of which is the 3D.) X acts as your attack button. Circle is your grapple button. Triangle is the run button. L1 allows you to do special moves. R1 grabs weapons The control scheme works out great with this game, the controls are very responsive.

Challenge-7/10- The AI isn't really all that tough, you can usually beat an opponent using a pattern. It's not all bad though, I like how the AI counters moves a lot, it doesn't do it too much, just enough to survive the match without the player completely dominating, I for one, like that, it makes matches more exciting.

Replay Value-10/10- There’s no shortage of replay value in this game. There are so many modes and characters to master that I doubt you’ll ever get bored.

Presentation-5/10- The presentation is lackluster. The game looks and feels like a WWF game. But many of the game’s menus are hard to navigate through because of their sub-par layout that makes things more complicated than they need to be.

Overall-8/10- The graphics and sound are great, the game features a ton of modes, it’s kind of unfortunate that about half of them aren’t as good as they could be. The control is exceptional. The game is, on the whole, excellent, the new modes are done surprisingly well.

PlayStation 2 Enhancements- The textures are smoothed out without any bugs (that I’ve noticed so far anyway.) The game takes advantage of the faster disc speed nicely, the loading times are kind of long when the game is running on a PSX (A.K.A., PS1), by activating the faster disc speed option, the loading times are cut in half.

Final Thought- If you were a fan of the original Smackdown, you'll love this game dearly. Everything from the original has been improved upon. I like how the game uses the PS2 software enhancements, the lack of loading time really helps make the game more fun. If you have WWF No Mercy, you may just want to rent this one.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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