Countdown to WWE 2K14: WWF WrestleMania 2000

February 20th 2013 marked the announcement for videogame publisher 2K to make an agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment following THQ’s bankruptcy in December 2012. The first game in the new WWE 2K series will drop on October 30th, 2013.  In the coming weeks most writers are discussing what’s next for wrestling video games, but Culture Crossfire is going to talk about an exciting era in wrestling gaming history, from 1996-2000.

Last time we went over the third and last WCW game in this era: WCW/nWo Revenge. WCW was where the big boys played and were ahead in the Monday night ratings thanks to the revolutionary New World Order lead by former super face turned heel Hollywood Hulk Hogan storyline. The World Wrestling Federation on the other hand wasn’t doing so hot. They had lost two of their biggest New Generation stars in Kevin ‘Diesel’ Nash and Scott ‘Razor Ramon’ Hall to WCW, which sparked the aforementioned nWo storyline. WWF did get some undoubtedly great talent from World Championship Wrestling however, Steve Austin. If you don’t know his story, there are thousands of articles you need to read before this one. WWF wrestling games were in a sort of similar lull. Acclaim held the WWF license for ten years, ’89-99. Later that year THQ was approached by World Wrestling Federation and this partnership continued until 2012.

I owned WWF Warzone (released in 1998) but was bored by the game mechanics. The only bright spot in the game was the first Create-A-Wrestler mode and the voice “acting” including commentary during matches. My favorite line in the game is Jim Ross’ “He’s about as useless as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Another thing worth mentioning is that Bret Hart was in the game, I guess being locked in to the licensing before leaving for WCW.

Not as fun as Acclaim would like you to think.

Not as fun as the TV product.

One year later WWF Attitude was release and I’m guessing the Federation wasn’t too happy with the product because they snatched up THQ and by extension AKI, while WCW went to Electronic Arts to no one’s delight.

Nineteen ninety-nine was an excellent time for the World Wrestling Federation. Several new stars were being cemented to make up for those who jumped ship or broke their backs on caskets. Finally the video game could match the equally great source material.

WrestleMania2k

WWF WrestleMania 2000
Developers: Asmik Ace Entertainment, AKI Corporation
Publisher: THQ
Platform: Nintendo 64
Release Date: October 31, 1999

Per the usual format, we’ll take a look at the intro video first to get us in the nostalgia mood.

This intro skips the storytelling and just jumps straight to some highlight style clips featuring notable wrestlers from all over the card. My favorite part of the intro is Chyna giving Road Dogg a low blow with the caption “GREAT!!”

This game truly came out the best time. The Attitude Era was in full swing and everything was wild and crazy. Gone were the fictional characters and leagues (not sure whose decision that was, possibly WWF’s). Everything was branded as WWF, with scratch logos everywhere. Titan Tower’s first foray with AKI introduced some really great modes, adding to the fairly deep engine we hold so dear.

 

WrestleMania2kJpn

Japanese release, distributed by Asmik Ace

Mechanics

One of the features immediately noticeable is real theme music and animated .gif quality Titantron videos, which really enhances the presentation. To build upon that, have a tag team match, and if the team was programmed in the game, they’ll enter together tag team name and all (including one of the greatest intros of all time, The Brood’s).

The next great addition was a proper Create-A-Wrestler mode to work alongside the existing wrestler editor carried over from Revenge. A review could be written about this feature alone. I had a great time looking up CAW formulae to create wrestlers from WCW and creating my very own, something that carries over into the current series. With the wrestler editor, you could change the costumes of all the WWF Superstars.

The career or campaign mode received a major overhaul, no longer resembling other fighting games’ gauntlet style. The Road To WrestleMania allowed you to select any superstar, created or otherwise and compete for several championships such as the European and Intercontinental championships up to the WWF Championship proper, allowing you to hold all four and defend all four on Pay-Per View. Wrestlers would call you out or perhaps interfere in a match to start a feud with you. You would begin the RAW after WrestleMania XV and make your way through to WM 2000.

Pay Per View would let you book your own events and then play through them, simulate them or watch the CPU simulate them.

Match-wise, the biggest improvements were Royal Rumble matches proper with up to 40 participants, cage match and King of the Ring. All welcome additions.

Mean, Median and Modes

  • Exhibition, Single Match, Tag Match, 3 Way Match, Cage Match
  • Road to WrestleMania
  • King of the Ring
  • Pay Per View
  • Edit, Costume Change, Create-A-Wrestler, Create-A-Belt
  • Royal Rumble

Selectable arenas include: RAW is WAR, Sunday Night Heat, Royal Rumble, King of the Ring, Survivor Series, SummerSlam and of course WrestleMania 2000.

Roster

  • Al Snow
  • Big Boss Man
  • The Big Show
  • The Blue Meanie
  • Bradshaw
  • Brian Christopher
  • Chaz
  • Chris Jericho
  • Christian
  • Chyna
  • Debra
  • D’Lo Brown
  • Droz
  • Faarooq
  • Gangrel
  • Gerald Brisco
  • The Godfather
  • Hardcore Holly
  • Ivory
  • Jacqueline
  • Jeff Hardy
  • Jeff Jarrett
  • Jerry Lawler
  • Jim Ross
  • Kane
  • Ken Shamrock
  • Mankind / Cactus Jack / Dude Love
  • Mark Henry
  • Matt Hardy
  • Meat
  • Michael Hayes
  • Mideon
  • Mr. Ass
  • Pat Patterson
  • Paul Bearer
  • Prince Albert
  • Road Dogg
  • The Rock
  • Scott Taylor
  • Shane McMahon
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Stephanie McMahon
  • Steve Blackman
  • Steve Austin
  • Terri Runnels
  • Test
  • Thrasher
  • Tori
  • Triple H
  • The Undertaker
  • Vince McMahon
  • Viscera
  • X-Pac

Wrap Up

WrestleMania 2000 is a very fun game that struck furiously while the iron was red-hot. Being a pre-teen in love with wrestling at the time, all the right buttons were being pressed simultaneously. A great multiplayer party game, especially Royal Rumble because you can come out as a new wrestler if you get eliminated. A semi-funny anecdote about this game, I remember specifically have to clean the game up by removing all cusswords and unsavory content (renaming Mr. Ass back to Billy Gunn) so I could bring the game to a youth lock-in at church. I spent at least an hour censoring the game. Ended up not touching the game at all that night. It’s been a while since I’ve played WrestleMania 2000, but it remains in the pantheon of awesome wrestling games.

Written by Trevor Dailey

is a father of two, husband of one, enemy of none and is currently known as The Dailey Planet on therealtsm.com forums.

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