GAMECUBE REVIEW: WWE: DAY OF RECKONING

More realistic than the real thing, WWE Day of Reckoning, is the latest and greatest wrestling game for the Cube. Brought to you by the people that developed Wrestlemania XIX, this version picks up where this one left off - and also includes what it left out. It's faster, deeper, bloodier and sexier - when you include the Bra & Panties matches.

Aside from a more developed storyline, Day of Reckoning features more sophisticated controls and moves. The game is still user-friendly and has a great tutorial for beginners. It's still challenging to button mash your way through the game and still possible to win but to get to the top you'll eventually have to have more finesse over your character's moves.

Create your own character or take some stock unknown and attempt to take him or her to the top. The options for creating your own character are staggering. Choose from male or female and design the body to your specs right down to the wrinkles under the eye. There's never been anything like it on the Cube.

There are 40 different characters including Legends, Divas and Superstars. You can't use them in the story mode since you must start out as an unknown. Vince McMahon will tell you what to do and if you want to make it to the top you better listen to him. Each completed goal will take you further up the ladder to wrestling superstardom. Unlike the previous wrestling game, most of the action takes place in the ring and not in boiler rooms and parking lots.

WWE fans will get shivers down their spines when their favorite stars make an entrance. Each is accompanied by his or her theme songs, bathed in fireworks and backlit by videos. These characters sure know how to make an entrance. They look great, with rippling muscles and fluid facial expressions. It's too bad that there aren't any voiceovers for the characters. Instead, you'll have to settle for text which takes a bit of wind out of the sails.

Matches are varied and plentiful. Choose from Tag Team, Fatal 4 Way, Hell in a Cell and Bra & Panties - to name a few. The blood will flow and the girls will show.

Moves such as counters, reversals, heavy and light attacks can be triggered by tapping or holding down the buttons. Grappling is more realistic and relatively easy to perform. You can also perform combos, jump off the top rope, throw your opponent out of the ring, continue fighting on the floor and use various weapons such as tables and chairs. The camera work mirrors the televised events with close-ups and sweeping angles that circle the ring. Throughout the dazzling display you never loose sight of your character.

Play one-player, two-player, three and four-player matches in a variety of venues. I heard some grumbling about the lack of characters but at 40, there's really not much to complain about. There's always someone that's going to complain that his or her favorite wrestler is missing but if you're not satisfied with what the game offers, then make your own.

All of the characters are well detailed. You can literally see the sweat dripping off their brows. The animations are great and include some in-game cutscenes that add to the drama. The soundtrack consists of rock and hip hop tunes but the best portion of the audio comes in the form of collisions when limbs and bodies meet. The sound is more brutal than anything you'll hear in a real wrestling match.

Overall, Day of Reckoning, accomplishes what it was set out to do. It may not be the best wrestling videogame ever, but it's certainly the best we've seen on a Nintendo system. You won't even miss an online mode….unless some idiot brings it to your attention.

Preview By Chris

There was a time when the best wrestling games were on a system owned by Nintendo. However, somehow the GC wrestling games have been less than spectacular. The games have been lacking in originality and often poor or rushed without the features found on other systems. Wrestling fans that own a GC have complained about the lack of a create-a-wrestler mode as well as the over-hyped same old game play found in the last few THQ WrestleMania attempts. No one can blame owners for being disappointed with the last few THQ wrestling games.

Yuke's and THQ are going to try and change that with Day Of Reckoning. The game is promising some new features that GC owners have wanted and frankly deserved. In this one players will not just enter a weak story mode and wrestle to victory. The controls have been tweaked and revamped as well as the graphics. The game's camera is also getting a much needed overhaul. Although Yuke's has not shown off the new create mode, they have shown some of the new features in this upcoming title and so far it seems impressive. Gamers will now have a chance to get the real feel of what it takes to make it in the WWE. By using mini games in the beginning that act as training sessions, wrestling fans will start off as a fresh new talent. The goal will be to make it from a lesser-known wrestling organization (The company has not yet been finalized) and will need to gain camera time and grab the big time promoters' attention.

Yuke's announced that this will be done by actually going between the two popular WWE alliances Smackdown and Raw and try and brush up on certain key areas. The key to making it big will be working on your special skills. You can choose what you want to be known for. For example, you can be the type of wrestler who can dominate the ring like the massive Big Show or Kane, or use your speed and agility like those who are known as Cruiserweights like Ray Mysterio, or maybe you want to be known as a stamina wrestler like Triple H who can use several attributes and be known for the ability to be used in key events like an Iron man match. There are other attributes like countering, submission and charisma. It's unknown yet how all these will play in your path to making it big but sure sounds like a deeper and more realistic game than ever offered for GC owners before.

Of course all the top WWE Superstar's will also be included and players can use someone already known. The Divas are also included and will feature the lingerie matches and the popular Bra and Panty matches. The game will also be updated to match the storyline of the current on-going storylines in the WWE and will also have the current matches that will feature the same matches found at this year's WrestleMania. The controls will have new features as well as some new ways of controlling the tempo of the match including a new submission meter as well as new way of seeing the damage and executing finishing moves. The game will also show off a brand new 3D graphics engine and even allow for outside objects to be used in the game. It looks like the game will be the best of the popular Smackdown type of play with a brand new completely overhauled story mode. It looks like at last the GC will have a wrestling game that will show off what the system can do when the developers use all of its potential. Take a look at the early screen shots and see the details for yourself. We are sure to have another look at this one when it's shown off at E3 in May!

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System: GameCube
Dev: Yuke's Media
Pub: THQ
Release: Aug 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dan
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.5