The 10 Worst-Reviewed Wrestling Games for the PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast, and GameCube

07.03.2023 0 By admin

When the Dreamcast was released in November of 1998, The Rock was winning the WWE title in a tournament final against Mankind at Survivor Series. When the very last PlayStation 2 was produced in Japan in December 2012, CM Punk was in the midst of an epic 434-day championship run, after taking the title from one Alberto Del Rio the previous year.

Fourteen years is a long time in wrestling, and it’s a long time in gaming, too! During this sixth console generation, those who enjoyed combining the two noble pastimes of playing games and watching muscular men pretend to fight had plenty to keep them occupied. Some of the sweaty highlights of the era include WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain, WWE Day of Reckoning, and Def Jam: Vendetta, but we’re not looking at those today.

That’s right, we’re being negative Nancies this time around (or should that be negative Nunzios?), and bringing you the absolute worst examples of wrestling gameplay to darken the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, or Dreamcast. We’re using Metacritic review scores as a guide, and taking the user score into account in the case of a draw. Got all that? Great, then let’s ring the bell and get this thing started.

I’m Ben from TripleJump, and here are the 10 Worst-Reviewed Wrestling Games for the PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast, and GameCube.

10. WWE WrestleMania X8 – GameCube – 64%

WWE WrestleMania X8 was released exclusively for the GameCube in 2002. As the first Yuke’s-developed wrestling game to appear on a Nintendo platform, you’d expect it to have performed a little better in the review stakes, considering Yuke’s would go on to release the highly-acclaimed WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth on the PS2 in the same year. Alas, Nintendo fans weren’t so lucky, and WWE WrestleMania X8 proved to be a decidedly average affair.

The game came with everything you’d expect, including passable grappling gameplay, and various modes where players could challenge for a number of titles. However, nothing about it especially stood out, reviewers labelled it as rushed and dated, and it failed to fill the Great Khali-sized boots of blocky-but-beloved N64 predecessor, WWF No Mercy.

Still, WWE WrestleMania X8 for the GameCube does have one interesting thing about it: In between its development and release, WWE lost a ladder match with some pandas and had to relinquish the “F” from WWF to the World Wildlife Fund. Cover art for later editions of WWE WrestleMania X8 were rebranded to reflect this change, but the old WWF logo can still be seen throughout the game.

Wish I could’ve seen that ladder match, though.

9. Galactic Wrestling Featuring Ultimate Muscle – PS2 – 61%

Truly the black sheep of this list on account of the fact that it isn’t based on real-life wrestling, Galactic Wrestling Featuring Ultimate Muscle for the PS2 is an adaptation of Japanese manga and anime series, Kinnikuman. Kinnikuman tells the story of a prince from a planet of superheroes who must enter a wrestling tournament to prove his worth, and features some decidedly over-the-top character designs. The video game sounds great on paper; a wrestling game where all of the characters are extra-terrestrial superheroes with near-unlimited power, but in practice, it came up a bit short.

Many reviewers appreciated the zany characters and outrageous moves, but the short-lived single player and unremarkable gameplay stopped Galactic Wrestling from winning any titles. Even more maligned was the game’s omission of a couple of features that had long since become wrestling game norms, namely a career mode and the ability to create your own wrestler.

The first was a missed opportunity because it could have informed unfamiliar Western players who the heck all these crazy characters were and why they were fighting. The second was a missed opportunity because … well, just imagine the beautiful monstrosities you could have created.

READ  This ISN'T five nights at freddy's...

Still, if you want to see a man with abnormally large lips battling it out in a ring situated on an outstretched, stone hand, you’re not going to find it anywhere else.

8. Legends of Wrestling II – GameCube – 59%

Legends of Wrestling II was released in 2002, and expanded on the first game in the series by adding a further 25 grapplers for players to get to grips with. These additions include stick-wielding American hero, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Sid Vicious, whose live promo skills are thankfully not put to the test. One roster member from the original game, Rob Van Dam, did disappear though, likely because he’d recently resigned from the WWE.

Still, even with the five-star frog splash, Legends of Wrestling II probably wouldn’t have made much of an impression with reviewers. Improvements to graphics and animation were all well and good, but if your basic gameplay is still lacking, you’re just not going to win over any new fans. Unfortunately, Legends of Wrestling II’s gameplay was the equivalent of a 20-minute headlock. Sweaty, painful, and will eventually send you to sleep.

The GameCube version of the game scored the lowest due to slowdown issues and some missing interview content, but we do have a more interesting factoid regarding version differences. Did you know, that the European versions of the game featured some exclusive UK wrestling stars? These included Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. Forget your Bret Harts and Ricky Steamboats, these guys were proper athletes.

7. TNA iMPACT! – PS2 – 58%

Welcome to the impact zone! Impact Wrestling, or TNA, or Global Force, or whatever itss called nowadays, has had its ups and downs, but there was a time when it was pretty popular, and featured the likes of Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe doing great work at the top of the card. All three were present in TNA iMPACT!, a star-studded wrestling game released for the PS2 in 2008. Alas, such a stellar line-up of grapplers couldn’t save this one from mediocrity.

TNA iMPACT! gave players the opportunity to duke it out in TNA’s infamous six-sided ring, and featured their unique “Ultimate X” match type, in which competitors had to grab a belt suspended on crossed cables above the ring. Despite all this excitement, though, the game failed to win over reviewers, with limited move-sets and dodgy AI working against the decent visuals and animations.

The game was also released on the PS3 and 360 with added online play, which was a bit of a rake to the face of PS2-owning TNA fans. At least they didn’t have to put up with the Wii port, though, which was almost identical to the PS2 version but was crippled by poorly-implemented motion controls. That sort of stuff will definitely have a negative impact.

6. WWE WrestleMania 21 – Xbox – 56%

Back with the WWE now, and the Xbox exclusive WWE WrestleMania 21, released in 2005. While PS2 owners were having a lovely time with the aforementioned SmackDown titles, Xbox owners were yet to be graced with a grappling simulation to really get excited about. Unfortunately, as you’ve no doubt guessed, WWE WrestleMania 21 was not the answer.

The last game to ever be made by Studio Gigante, a Chicago-based developer formed by many individuals who had previously worked on the Mortal Kombat series, WWE WrestleMania 21 was unable to capture that franchise’s flowing, impactful combat. Instead, adopters were treated to impressive graphics that unfortunately could not make up for extremely glitchy and limited gameplay and unresponsive, sluggish AI.

READ  On Gameranx,10 dumb but cool moves in video games

While Xbox-owning grapple fans were hoping for something to make up for the mediocrity of predecessors, WWF Raw and WWE Raw 2, this next bite of the WWE cherry woefully underperformed.

Still, Xbox users eventually got a good wrestling game, right? Well, not really. WWE WrestleMania 2 was the chunky console’s last WWE game, and there wasn’t much else to choose from, either. Basically, if you wanted a decent grappling experience on the original Xbox, we hope you liked Hip Hop.

5. Showdown: Legends of Wrestling – PS2 – 55%

Faring slightly worse than its predecessor in the overall review standings is Showdown: Legends of Wrestling. Released in 2004 for the Xbox and PS2 (a GameCube version of the game was also planned but ultimately cancelled), Showdown: Legends of Wrestling is the third game in the series, and adds yet more revered grapplers and sports entertainers to its roster. The most prominent of these new additions was undoubtedly the colourfully-tasselled wild-man, Ultimate Warrior, but legends like Randy Savage and “Ravishing” Rick Rude would keep wrestling purists happy, too.

Also featuring a tutorial fully narrated by Bret “The Hitman” Hart, there really was a lot to appeal to old-school wrestling fans here. Unfortunately, plodding gameplay, unintuitive controls, and numerous stability issues that saw the game regularly lock-up and crash, all ensured that only the most blindly dedicated fans would be able to find much enjoyment.

It’s a shame, because there was definitely huge potential in the series, and this final iteration had some authentic, old-school presentation, cool, licensed music, an all-time great roster, and some real visual flair.

By that I mean it looks very nice. Ric Flair is not in this game.

4. Legends of Wrestling – GameCube – 50%

Oh dear. When an entire trilogy is in a list of ten worst-reviewed games you know you have problems. The original Legends of Wrestling was released on PS2 and GameCube in 2002, with the PS2 version faring slightly better with reviewers. Before we tell you about what it got wrong, though, let’s briefly talk about the positives.

The fact that this series survived for three games just goes to show how appealing the idea of Legends of Wrestling was. With dignitaries like Jerry Lawler and the Von Erichs tempting older fans who remember the territory days, and the likes of Hulk Hogan and the Legion of Doom holding huge, worldwide name recognition to this day, Legends of Wrestling provided the opportunity for nostalgic wrestling fans to relive the glory days in a way that a WWE licensed game just wouldn’t do.

It’s just a shame that fumbled implementation harpooned such a great idea. The signs were plain to see in this first entry, with reviewers lamenting repetitive gameplay, animations that lacked personality, and load times that were almost as long as an Undertaker entrance.

I’d like to say that Legends of Wrestling found its feet with later iterations, but you’ve seen the rest of the video, so you know the truth.

3. Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home – Xbox – 50%

We’re leaving the ring for this next entry, and going out into the back garden. No sun-bathing or trimming of hedges here, though. Instead, you can expect to see lots of horrible injuries and people jumping off of things onto other things, because it’s time for some backyard wrestling.

The very sensibly-subtitled Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home was released in 2003 for PS2 and Xbox, and, while it shares Legends of Wrestling’s 50% critic score, it fared far worse with users. This is likely because it doesn’t even have nostalgia on its side, because like it or not, people aren’t as nostalgic for Shaggy 2 Dope of the Insane Clown Posse as they are for “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

READ  We've got some news to talk about regarding Wolverine for PSfive

That’s not to say Backyard Wrestling doesn’t have at least one name that will be known to the well-rounded wrestling appreciator, but even Sabu can’t save this one from being a bit of a mess. Sloppy controls and a distinct lack of polish make Backyard Wrestling difficult to have any fun with, and when you consider its premise is throwing people through furniture in gardens, truck stops, slaughterhouses, and strip bars, that’s actually quite the achievement.

Oh, I get it. “Don’t Try This at Home” was referring to the actual game.

2. Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood – Xbox – 43%

Continuing the grand tradition of low brow, garden-based violence, Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood once again brings shame to the dignified sport of professional wrestling. While the game advertised itself as being greatly improved over its predecessor, the reality would suggest otherwise, with many reviewers pointing out that the horrid execution actively denies players any irreverent laughs or dumb fun that the premise might have otherwise allowed.

They did get a few more big names involved this time around. New Jack and Sandman are both monikers that will be familiar to ECW fans, and the likes of Tera Patrick and Sunrise Adams might be known to fans of … other forms of entertainment. Let’s face it, though, getting ECW alumni and “adult film actresses” involved was never going to be enough to save the day, and Backyard Wrestling 2 was held back by its poor controls, limited moves, and buggy gameplay.

If you did end up buying this game you might have found yourself questioning your life choices, but don’t worry, Backyard Wrestling 2 had you covered, as the game included numerous videos of people actually doing this sort of thing in real life.

Phew, I feel much better about myself.

1. ECW Anarchy Rulz – Dreamcast – 38%

None of the few wrestling titles released on the Dreamcast made much of an impact. WWF Royal Rumble, for example, sits on a wholly humdrum 66% Metacritic average. 2000’s ECW Anarchy Rulz stood out at least, but unfortunately it was for all the wrong reasons, as it takes the dubious and unwanted honour of being the worst-reviewed wrestling game of the sixth console generation.

Also released on PS1, ECW Anarchy Rulz was based on the once-popular, hardcore anti-WWE promotion, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and was an opportunity for an intensely violent, alternative wrestling game filled with trademark, ECW attitude.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way. While the game offered players a huge variety of match types, modes, arenas, and options, the gameplay was so rotten that only the most die-hard ECW maniac would ever want to explore them. Clunky controls, dull presentation and some strange sound design make this one feel less like enjoying some “Extreme” wrestling and more like taking multiple chair shots to the head.

Basically, if ECW Anarchy Rulz were a pay-per-view, it would be December to Dismember.

Still, don’t feel too bad, ECW Anarchy Rulz. If being the worst-reviewed wrestling game on the PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast, and GameCube got you a title belt, it would still be more auspicious than the 24/7 Championship.