WWE Road to WrestleMania X8
|WWE Road to WrestleMania X8|
WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 is a video game released on the Game Boy Advance handheld console by THQ in 2002, based on WWE's 2002 pay-per-view WrestleMania X8, their biggest show of the year. The game featured improved gameplay and grappling techniques compared to it predecessors. This game was the Game Boy Advanced successor to WWF Road to WrestleMania from 2001. The game was succeeded by WWE Survivor Series released in 2004. WWE also released WWE WrestleMania X8 for the GameCube in June 2002, making the GBA game in a way the "prequel", despite WrestleMania X8 being published five months prior.
The controls for the game are very limited, as the hand-held Game Boy Advance platform which it is available only has space for very few buttons and devices. Also, very limited external devices can be used to add on to the already existing game features, although it does allow for four player options through direct link cables. WWE Survivor Series and WWF Road to WrestleMania were the only other versions of the WWE games developed by Natsume for the GBA and earned only average reviews from the gaming world. WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 was the most successful out of the three games in regard to both sales and reviews.
With the limited number of buttons on the Game Boy Advance, just "A" and "B". WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 employed a simple approach to simulating wrestling moves. It has been likened to the approach to how Fire Pro Wrestling based the actions on timed button pressing and strategy. The combination of a button push and a direction choice when the two wrestlers lock up would result in different wrestling moves and also allowed for moves to be reversed if the timing was right. In addition character could climb ropes, perform running moves and pick up weapons. The gameplay was seen as an improvement over the "button mashing" approach of its predecessor WWF Road to WrestleMania.
Reviewers did point out that the game lacked a "Create-a-Wrestler" feature, most likely due to the limited memory of the Game Boy Advance. While the gameplay itself was improved, several reviewers noted that the Artificial Intelligence that controlled the computer opponents was easy and predictable. The AI also had problems during multi-man matches, on occasion attacking their own partner during a game.
WWE Road to WresteMania X8 features four different game modes, Exhibition, Championship Mode, pay-per-view mode and Gauntlet mode. The Championship allowed a player to play through a WWE "Season" from the day after WrestleMania X-Seven until WrestleMania X8 to challenge for various WWE championship. The pay-per-view mode allowed the player to create a number of matches for a specific WWE PPV to play through. In the Gauntlet mode the player must survive against a set number of opponents, one match at a time. The game allows players to choose standard match options like one versus one, tag team matches as well as options such as lumberjack matches, with other wrestlers around the ring, Hardcore matches where weapons are allowed and even play a fifteen-man version of the Royal Rumble match as well as playing an eight-man King of the Ring tournament. Multiple players could play together, as many a four players if they all have the game cartridge and connect by using the GameLink cable.
Since the Game Boy Advanced platform has limited memory the roster for the game included only 15 wrestlers: Kurt Angle, Booker T, Edge, Christian, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho, Kane, Kevin Nash. Rob Van Dam, The Rock, Triple H, Test and the Undertaker. Of the 15 wrestlers selected for the game only Kevin Nash had not actually wrestled at WrestleMania X8, but did appear on the show as he accompanied Scott Hall for his match against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Test was not part of the pay-per-view broadcast but did wrestle on the pre-show.
Visual and audio
The gameplay takes place in a "side-to-side" view of the ring from a single, fixed point of view providing a view of the wrestlers themselves and the audience in the background. The digitized sprite character were described as "As a result, the characters look just like their onscreen counterparts." it was also stated that "They also move rather smoothly as well, thanks to an overall increase in animation. "
From an audio standpoint the game featured versions of each wrestler's entrance music and the occasional catch phrase, but no ring commentary during the match. The sound was described as "high-quality as well, with punches, kicks, and slams having a crisp meaty sound that really captures the high-impact world of the WWE. "
The game received "mixed or average" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic, based on a total of ten reviews, four of which were positive and six were mixed. Metatricic's user score was slightly better, listed as "generally favorable" with a score of 7.5. The GameZone review noted that "This game fits the platform very nicely. The game may not do a great job in vertical movement, and you may have a time finding the right line that your opponent is on, but the game does a solid job of emulating WWE wrestling while challenging and entertaining game players." and rated it as "great".
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- "WWE Road to WrestleMania X8". Nintendo Power. 162: 228. November 2002.