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     " I don't know if everyone in wrestling just develops rickets at some point, or what… "

      Title: WWF RAW by THQ

      Format: X-Box Wrestling game

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: The WWF makes a crashing, chair shot of a debut onto the X-Box. THQ, progenitors of the Smack Down line bring their own brand of wrestling hilarity to this newest of the consoles. Now, while I apply a figure four leg lock to my willing assistant, you read this review. Just remember, your time will come…

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The graphics for this game are beautiful, generally. They get a few of the faces wrong, by quite a wide margin too. The ones they get right though are just right. The attention to detail for graphics definitely shows through. Wrestlers sweat as they exert themselves and looking at the mat after a hard fought match shows it with little water splotches everywhere. The crowd looks decent. Someday we'll actually get a crowd that looks like a bunch of people and not a bunch of extras from a cardboard factory. The "Create a Wrestler" options are pretty well versed, graphically. Allowing a decent mix of real life and bizarre, in THQ's classic style. The one major problem I have with character models is the way they walk. Mostly because it looks like they've been delivering letters for the Pony Express for the last for weeks. To say that they walk bowlegged doesn't really do justice the situation. I don't know if everyone in wrestling just develops rickets at some point, or what… 4 out of 5

      Sound: All the appropriate thwacks and thumps are here. There are some nice hard hitting sounds that'll get your blood pumping when you're laying the smack down on your hated foes. The genero-rock in the background isn't likely to move or dissuade you either way. The crowd sounds are decent; it's always nice to hear a roaring crowd when you pull off a good move or two. The ring announcer is about the only voicework in the game, unless you want to count an occasional grunt of pain. I don't and it's my review. 3.5 out of 5

      Playability: Here's where the game takes a bit of a downward slide. I don't know about you folks, but my idea of fun is not playing around with a bunch of geriatrics posing as my favorite wrestling stars. We'll start from the beginning. Essentially THQ ported over their Smackdown control scheme, changed approximately six things and left it at that. That's to the good, as it makes the controls familiar to anyone who's played those games. Unfortunately, they decided to implement a few other design changes that didn't work so well. First off is the stamina bar. I'm not sure who ever thought to themselves "I know what gamers want, to get tired! And quickly!" With this wonderful new system, after throwing two punches, you get tired. And then you get to watch your wrestler stumble about while he catches his breath. Heaven forbid he gets knocked down though. First he'll take thirty seconds to fall to a position where you can affect him. Then he'll take another fifty seconds getting back up. You can't touch an opponent when they're falling or getting up, so that's just time you get to stand there flexing your muscles. And don't think that just because they take forever getting back up that if you pull them up they'll be stunned. Oh definitely not. You pull them up and they're ready to go fighting again. The game has a system of counters based on guessing what button to push. If you push the same button as the opponent is using, then you counter the move. The computer is of course infinitely better than you at this little game and goes out of its way to teach you such. Even putting the general controllability aside, this game just does not offer enough in the way of match types. You essentially get to choose between one on one matches and tag matches. That's about it. There's no ladder match, a barely recognizable hardcore match, no cage matches. None of the matches that make the WWF (or WWE, if you keep up to date) great. Even though they have title runs, that's it. And it's really more of an arcadey set up. You just run through a series of one on one fights. I think the best thing about this game is the fact that you can interfere in another wrestlers entrance. And when being able to run up the ramp is the best thing about a game, that's pretty sad. 2 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: The Multiplayer aspect of this game isn't particularly promising. With the lack of match types and the inefficient characters, bringing friends into the mix just isn't as appealing. There isn't even a royal rumble match. Once you've beaten all of the title runs, you'll have unlocked every character (including the obligatory Fred Durst). After that, the only thing to do is go through the arduous duty of picking up every single item. To be honest, that's way more trouble than it's worth. This title will quickly hit the shelf. That's all there is to it. 2 out of 5

      Story/Dramatics: There is no story mode. No career mode. No nothing. Listen, Wrestling is a lot like a soap opera with ass kickings. Without stories, we don't feel anything for the wrestler. We don't care one way or another. Combat is all well and good, but I've got fighting games for that, all right. 0 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       THQ has done better and they need to get back to that. This particular outing is not one to go into the hall of fame. The pretty pictures just do not make up for the completely lackluster gameplay. 2.5 out of 5

      The Good: Awesome graphics of most of your favorite wrestlers

      The Bad: If I wanted to play an old man, I'd make a Ric Flair wrestler. Work on controllability

      The Overall Ugly: Not a winner here folks. Just let it go.

      What it's Worth: $10.00

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