Smack Down! Shut Your Mouth Review PS2

Smack Down! Shut Your Mouth Review PS2

Smack Down! Shut Your Mouth continues in the same tradition as its predecessors, offering many different types of matches. Exhibition mode features the basic single and tag team fights plus, six man tag, handicap, royal rumble, king of the ring, hardcore, special and survival options. The most amusing of these has to be the hardcore matches which take place in a variety of different places such as the locker room, VIP room, parking lot, the rotunda, side walks with cars driving by, subway station with trains, inside the WWE restaurant or in the streets of Times Square. You can choose to start a hardcore match in any of these areas, but one very nice touch is that all of these areas are interconnected with each other. So you can start a fight on the sidewalk and finish a fight in the subway. As well as all of this there is a good supply of weapons available in all of these areas including, steel chairs and fire extinguishers. In the royal rumble mode two players will start the fight and after every 15 seconds an additional wrestler will join the brawl with a maximum of six wrestlers in the ring at one time.

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All of these modes are customisable and can be configured in a number of different ways. For example you can select a survival match and change it into a four, five or six man battle royale. There are some more subtle secondary options for the other types of matches; single match allows you to decide whether you want to walk out with your manager or not. All of this should keep you pretty busy and if you're looking for some different from the norm matches these are also provided.

Speaking of bizarre matches, in the exhibition mode you're able to test your wrestling skills in a number of strange ways, for example, there is a special option called ladder. The object is to grab the wrestling belt that is hanging from the ceiling; you must climb up and grab the belt, climb up and stop you opponent from grabbing the belt or try to knock down the ladders that your opponent is using. If you succeed in knocking down your opponent's ladder he/she may be able to grab and swing from the belt suspended from the ceiling. This really adds to the already tense excitement.

Most of the matches seen in the exhibition mode are featured in the season mode which loosely follows last-years programmes starting with the split of Raw and Smack Down! between Ric Flair and Vince McMahon and all the way through to the showdown between The Rock and Hulk Hogan in WrestleMania X8. When starting the season mode you will have to select one of the WWE wrestlers or a wrestler you have created. If you select a wrestler with a high number of superstar points, such as The Rock you will start wrestling on TV shows and pay-per-view events. On the other hand if you start with a created wrestler you will have to fight with other less popular wrestlers on Heat as you won't have many superstar points. You will not be able to try for a title shot straight away either. As you win matches and gain respect from either Vince or Ric all this will change and you will be on your way to becoming a superstar.

You can monitor how many superstar points you have or demand a title shot by talking to either of the owners in the VIP room which is located in the rotunda. In this room you may also view alternate outfits, special movies and other interesting stuff.

The season is broken down so you usually take part in four matches every month, if your wrestler has enough superstar points you will be able to participate in the pay-per-view events too, one every month. If you win the undisputed championship you will have to take part and jump between Raw and Smack Down, which equates to something like nine matches per month, inc. pay-per-view. Sometimes you may not even wrestle one week, you may be having an interview with Michael Cole and Tazz or visiting fans. Even this isn't safe though as some wrestlers can still ambush you if you have pissed them off in the past. The season unfolds differently depending on whereabouts you are in the wrestler rankings, it can also change depending upon what responses you choose to select when speaking with other wrestlers, announcers or the owners. If you are a fan of WWE you will be amazed when you see events unfold just as they did in the show. One noticeable problem with the season mode is that you will probably wrestle the same opponent many times which can get a bit boring and tiresome. Another slight moan I have is that there are no female WWE wrestlers in the season mode.

Like its predecessors the fighting action and game play is fairly high speed, but there have been quite a few changes made since the last instalment. For example there is more grappling to be done, this involves picking your opponent up off the floor and then locking up with him/her, this is a great new addition as you can control to speed of the fight much more easily, giving you then chance to figure out what you're going to do next. It's also a good safe opener to a match, in stead of opening with a load of kicks and punches as they can easily be countered. The counter system has also been revamped and improved since Just Bring It, now you have to have perfect timing and guess the direction of you opponent's forth coming move. If your opponent throws a punch and you press the reversal button at the correct time you are more than likely to counter the punch, but if your opponent executes a manoeuvre and you press the reversal button the counter will not work as you have to guess the direction that your opponent used to execute that manoeuvre and press in that direction along with the reversal button. This also prevents players from abusing the counter moves as you will not get it correct every single time.

The wrestler's moves and transitions between moves are now much more fluid. Many moves in Shut Your Mouth have been designed so you can smoothly transform from one manoeuvre to another. Some moves are specialized so that they are designed to link with other moves, much like combos in Tekken 4 and Virtua Fighter 4. For example a kick can be used as an opener for just about any move but some characters have specific transitions such as The Rock who uses a special punch to knock down a wrestler and then he will fly in for a body slam or some other moves as soon as his opponent gets up.

Great lengths have been taken to make each wrestler, wrestle like his or her real life counterpart. For example stances are all mimicked as are movements of each individual wrestler, some move around the ring at quite a fast past while others will move more slowly. This has been done before but everything seems to have been nicely polished in Shut Your Mouth.

Submission holds have also been drastically improved and implemented much more effectively. To put a submission hold on your opponent you must first work on a specific area of the body by executing moves that damage that area. You will be able to see the results of this and you'll know when it's time to go for a submission hold, well that is if your wrestler has one, when the opponent starts to walk around in a daze for a few seconds after getting up.

The "create a wrestler mode" is fantastic; this lets you create a wrestler and create animation that you can later select from while creating your wrestler. You can edit quite a lot of physical features including, skin tone, face, facial hair and clothes plus a few more options. You can also create crowd signs for your wrestler, choose a weight classification, either heavyweight or cruiserweight. You can also alter attributes such as power and speed by distributing a limited number of points across the various categories or just select one of the predetermined settings. You are also able to choose moves for your wrestler; you can pick from a generic move set or just edit all the individual moves yourself.

Create an animation mode is pretty good too; it lets you create mad animations for your wrestler. You can edit fighting, running, taunting, walking and winning animations, with each of the categories featuring a number of preset animations. On top of this you can add other preset animations for facial expressions, body, arms and legs. The animation mode is very comprehensive although you don't really need to edit any of the animation because it is all top-notch anyway.

Graphically Shut Your Mouth is very good, the wrestlers models are all very well done as are the wrestlers introductions as they are not just accurate but they feature good facial animation. Environments outside of the ring are just as detailed and they are filled with plenty of interactive objects. The sidewalk area is very good, if the fight spews on to the road the cars will stop and the cars will rumble when wrestlers collide with them. With detail like this and smashing glass the action on the screen keeps the frame rate running nice and high, even with six wrestlers on screen at once.

The commentary is good because its not over the top and in your face all the time. Instead of a blow by blow commentary Jim Ross or Jerry "The King" Lawler will make occasional comments. Some of these comments can seem a bit out of place though. All of the wrestlers apart from a couple have the correct entrance music and there is a rock track that will accompany the action in the ring.

Shut Your Mouth offers everything any wrestling fan could have hoped for and more. It is incredibly comprehensive, so much so that if someone played Shut Your Mouth who didn't know anything about wrestling, they would come out of the experience knowing just about everything about the sport, well entertainment. The game play is probably a little to fast still but with the grappling, submission and counter systems in place, the game is much more balanced than previous instalments. If you're a casual fan of WWE you can't get any better than Smack Down! Shut Your Mouth.

8 out of 10

 

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