WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game – 1995
Ask anyone to name their first WWE game, and this would most likely be it. Taking a few cues from Mortal Kombat in much the same way that TNA stable Aces and Eights has blatantly ripped off Sons of Anarchy, superstars had all manner of strange attacks, finishers and gimmicks.
Which meant that for once, Doink the clown actually stood a chance in the ring with the Undertaker.
WWF In Your House – 1996
Look, if you’re going to allow Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker to redesign your home with choke-slams and german suplexes, you’ve got to expect some collateral damage to your material possessions. Despite some impressive graphics for the time, and more unique arenas within which to battle, opinions were divided on this title, thanks to some poor gameplay and a sparse roster of superstars.
WWF Warzone – 1998
This was the WWE game that didn’t just break the mold, it gave it a Stone Cold Stunner, poured beer over those remains and then proceeded to take the sister of said mold out for a nice dinner date afterwards.
Wrestlers that were more three-dimensional than their real life counterparts, creation options that set a new benchmark and a multiplayer mode that would have you performing sweet chin music on your buddies resulted in one of the greatest wrestling games of the time.
WWF Wrestlemania 2000 – 1999
With a gameplay engine taken from former rivals WCW, the next WWF game kicked things up a notch in the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. 50 wrestlers, more options to create an in-ring champion or an abomination of Eugene proportions and combat that made reversals a key skill to learn kept the torch burning brightly for the WWF, before that damn panda started litigating the hell out of them.
WWF Attitude – 1999
A direct sequel to the well received Warzone, Acclaim didn’t need to do much to improve on that classic game. More gameplay options, customization, full entrance themes and improved visuals kept the WWF coffers in Million Man Dibiase mode that quarter.
The final WWF game from Acclaim, the franchise was then handed over to THQ that continued until that publishing giant finally went bankrupt last year.
WWF Royal Rumble – 2000
It had been a while since the Royal Rumble had been in the spotlight, and thanks to this latest version of that time-honoured tradition of muscled men knocking the stuffing out of one another, that spotlight would continue to shine one better entrants.
A terrible and limited selection of superstars, even less gameplay modes and visuals that were uglier than Vickie Guerrero’s voice were some of the low-points of this game which went straight over the top rope and into the bargain bin.
WWF No Mercy – 2000
If WWF Warzone was a wake-up call the wrestling genre, then No Mercy was like pedigreed into a flaming table that had been covered in smelling salts.
Streamlined combat, a massive stable of characters to choose from, even more options in the create-a-wrestler mode and story options that really sold the WWF experience resulted in lone game that is still well received to this day.
WWF Smackdown! – 2000
If there’s one thing that The Rock is good for, besides asking you to guess what’s for supper by using only one sense, it’s catch-phrases. The first WWF game from Yukes wasn’t a smash hit thanks to light content and a detachment from the source material, but the solid combat and visuals helped sell it at the end of the day.
WWF Smackdown! Know your Role – 2000
With a sophomore effort that was more of a jobber than the Brooklyn Brawler himself, Yukes stepped up to the plate and knocked out a version of the WWF on consoles that was a definite improvement. With a more comprehensive season mode, storylines and action over some refined gameplay, things were looking up for the WWF franchise at the end of the day.
WWF Smackdown! Just bring it – 2001
The catchphrases just kept on coming, and like sands in the hour glass, so were the Five Star Frog Splashes of our games. Yukes made just such a splash on the PS2 with this game, that features some fast and furious action, as well as a core gameplay experience that didn’t just look good, it was damn fun as well.
WWF Road to Wrestlemania (Gameboy Advance) – 2001
It was the WWF, but once again in your hands, as the franchise returned to Nintendo, debuting on the then-generation Gameboy Advance.
WWF Betrayal (Gameboy) – 2001
But the Gameboy Colour had not been forgotten! The final title to appear on that aging platform, Betrayal kept the action in new territory, by charging players with the rescue of Stephanie McMahon over several side-scrolling stages.
Pity that it stunk worse than Rikishi’s finishing move though.
WWF With Authority! – 2001
RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH! Mr Perfect, AKA PC gamers hadn’t received a WWEF game in years, but that all changed with the release of With Authority. Except that is was less sports entertainment, and more collectible card-battling that asked gamers to pay a premium for some of the better cards on offer.
Sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?
WWE Smackdown! Shut your mouth – 2002
Having been successfully forced to tap out in court thanks to a panda wanting people to not be confused about wildlife conservation and men in tights power-bombing one another, came the first wrestling game to be released under the WWE banner. Having got the F out, the latest WWE gamekept the action fast, and the controls smooth.
WWE RAW – 2002
RAW may not have had a decent gameplay mode, varied selection of wrestlers, stages, modes or any real class, but uh…
Oh hell, just count me out already, this game was worse than that time the Big Show tried to stop the Big Boss Man from crashing the funeral for his father.
WWE Wrestlemania X8 – 2002
The 18th Wrestlemania may be one of my all-time favourite events thanks to a Hardcore Championship match that took “falls count anywhere” to ridiculous new heights, but the video game tie-in on the GameCube was less than perfect. Collision detection from hell, characters models that should have been euthanised at birth and some stiff animation made this one wrestling game to avoid.
WWE Road to Wrestlemania X8 – 2002
A fact which was made abundantly clear when the Gameboy Advance version of the game did so with less graphics, input and sound, putting the Gamecube version to shame.
WWE Smackdown! Here comes the pain – 2003
Quite honestly, one of the very best WWE games to ever hit consoles. Capitalising on the monstrous success of Brock Lesnar, Her Comes The Pain brought with it fluid graphics, tight action and gameplay that was more heavenly than being leg-locked by the WWE Divas division.
It would be quite a while until a better champion of a game could wrestle that title away from this gem.
WWE Wrestlemania XIX – 2003
And it wasn’t going to be the Wrestlemania tie-in that would do so. Keeping the core gameplay intact, this latest iteration of the annual event was a decent game on it’s own, and despite the Revenge Mode adding an interesting wrinkle, it still couldn’t even touch Here Comes The Pain when it came to quality.
WWE RAW 2 – 2003
A sequel that no one asked for, RAW 2 was far from a bad game, but the cracks were beginning to creep in on a franchise that was starting to feel tired. Season mode was for once, a highlight, and the detailed quest to become champion helped hide those flaws to newcomers.
WWE Crush Hour – 2003
You think that there are too many zombie games these days? Jon SNow, you know nothin’ and your opinion does not matter according to Hollywood heavyweight champion actor Dwayne Johnson. Carting games were all the rage, with everyone from Crash Bandicoot to Star Wars joining in on the fad.
And the WWE was no different, in this average release of a genre that had quickly overstayed it’s welcome.
WWE Survivor Series (Gameboy Advance) – 2004
Two years in the WWE has the same amount of impact as it does on the internet. With heels becoming faces, good guys going bad and John Cena realizing that he just might be the whitest rapper since Vanilla Ice, out came this brand new Gameboy Advance title, to take advantage of the success that previous portable titles had generated.
And man, it dropped that good will faster than Brian Daniel vs Seamus at Wrestlemania 28 with some of the worst and most archaic gameplay this side of an announce table.
WWE Day of Reckoning – 2004
WWE games had always been about assuming control of a legend and bulldozing a way to victory with steel chairs and snappy promos, but Day of Reckoning twisted the formula by asking players to start their career as a nobody, and work their way up the ranks.
Despite a limited selection of Superstars, a recurring issue with these games, the improved gameplay and visuals were spotted immediately, resulting in Day of Reckoning to be a title that was both fresh and exciting.
WWE Smackdown! vs RAW – 2004
With RAW and Smackdown hating each other more than that time we found the fellas from G3AR stealing our office cake, the time was ripe to create a bold new franchise that asked gamers to question their brand allegiance and settle all differences, preferably through the Spanish commentary table at ringside.
Being able to fight clean or dirty made a world of difference, while some authentic play by play audio, a focus on newer wrestlers and enhanced create-a-wrestler setups started a brand new era for the franchise.[button link=”https://www.criticalhit.net/features/a-brief-history-of-wwe-wrasslin-games/3/”]Read More[/button]
Last Updated: April 5, 2013