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Friday, December 18, 2015

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Throwback Friday: WWF Attitude and WWF No Mercy

By Johnthan "Speed on the Beat" Speed (@SpeedontheBeat)

When wrestling was white-hot, everyone was in-tuned to the happenings between The Rock, Stone Cold, DX, Goldberg, RVD, and more. It was a great time to be a wrestling fan. I was, for the most part, open to all three of the major promotions at the time. However, when it came to games, I was usually a WWF man through and through. I mean, the ECW game series was booty juice and I liked giving people the Rock Bottom and Stunners more than Spears and Hogan Boots. Plus, ya know, even though they had some great games, the WCW games kind of sucked at points (WCW Thunder and WCW Backstage Assault, anyone?).

When WWF Attitude dropped, I remember, for some reason, my mom was anti-wrestling. She, as I got older, became more of a mark herself. But, I guess she would've rather me watch Skinemax than Chyna. To be fair, I'd rather watch Skinemax than Chyna, but that's beside the point. I had to hustle up some change to cop a copy of Attitude from a middle school acquaintance and then play covertly. But, me being me, I said "screw that" and told my folks that I liked wrestling and I liked wrestling games. All was solved in that dilemma.

But, again, I digress.

Getting back to Attitude, it was one of the best PS1 WWF games that wasn't named WWF SmackDown!. It featured just about everything that was great about WWF at the time. On top of that, we got First Blood matches, "I Quit" matches, "Create-a-PPV" modes, updated abilities to create wrestlers out of thin air, and a career/"Challenge" mode that predates WWE 2K's MyCareer mode by about 15 years. Gameplay was solid and it felt like, for what it was, a real WWF experience. We even got competent announcing that, in some ways, sounds more realistic than WWE games out now. Everything was well in the world.

Then No Mercy dropped, and everybody had to step their game up.

While No Mercy was the last N64 WWF game, it made its mark. Taking what made games such as Attitude classic and adding in more realism (including the ability to create women's wrestlers), the ability to create an almost-infinite army of wrestlers, and more, No Mercy set the bar high for other wrestling games.

I remember playing No Mercy and saying to myself "holy crap. This is in-depth." If you lost a match in Career Mode, it wasn't game over. It wasn't "oh, hey. Repeat this match and a winner will be you." If you lost, you got an entirely different storyline path.

In fact, you had to lose matches in order to complete the game at 100% (if you were a perfectionist like me). And the actual wrestling in it? Man! It's probably because of the Virtual Pro Wrestling engine that AKI used for this game--and many after it--but it wasn't just a complete "beat-'em-up" as some wrestling games were/have become. If I had to say where WWE 2K16 got some of its influence, I'd have to say they went back and played through No Mercy and reworked the engine accordingly. That's how amazing the game was. I mean, people are still modding it to this day to reflect WWE's changes. Now, that's longevity.

...but, as awesome as Attitude and No Mercy are...they're no SmackDown. We'll get into that later, though. If you've got a PS1, N64, or an emulator, check both of these games out. While graphically they're obviously old-school, the gameplay in both is legendary.


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