The ultimate slobberknocker.
In all honesty, wrestling provided me with some of the best memories of my life. The now dubbed ‘sports entertainment’ reached its pinnacle through the late 90’s and early 00’s and thankfully I was there to experience every jaw dropping, heart stopping, high flying, death defying moment.
The World Wrestling Federation had it all. The story-lines were always engaging and unpredictable. The superstars’ personas were executed with incredible charisma and personality. It’s easy to see how the WWF quickly established itself as one of the most popular franchises in the world. The WWF captured the hearts of many, some more than others…
Understandably, I spent countless nights watching the pay-per-views into the early morning hours, stumbling into school exhausted as if I’d lost a gruelling Hell in the Cell match. I spent my weekends perfecting the People’s Eyebrow to the delight of the girls in my class, mastering figure four leg-locks, suplexing friends through boxes and the rest of the time, living my dreams through the impeccable and unmatched WWF No Mercy.
Oh You Didn’t Know?
Forget the Smackdown series; it DOESN’T MATTER if it was more popular! Developer AKI’s unbelievably, deep and satisfying gameplay was the cornerstone of easily one of the best wrestling games to ever grace a console including the stellar WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, WCW/NWO Revenge and Wrestlemania 2000. WWF No Mercy was unfortunately the last title from the golden era of wrestling games on the N64.
Stone Cold Stunning
WWF No Mercy had it all. Unmatched visuals, back stage brawls, an in-depth career mode that was representative of the show, 52 superstars, divas, a variety of gameplay modes, unlockable characters and one of the best ‘create-a-wrestler’ modes available.
Entrance scenes, licensed music, titantron displays; even today I get goose bumps when Triple H spits water into the crowd. I actually remember practising this signature entrance piece in my parent’s bathroom, drenching the room and unsurprisingly, getting thoroughly scolded.
Tables, Ladders And Chairs! Oh My!
Ever wanted to Rock Bottom someone through an announcer’s table? Go ahead. Fancy giving someone a Pedigree on a chair? Feel free. Perform the worm? Do it. Take on countless superstars in an epic Royal Rumble, using your own rules? Knock yourself out. Screw over your friend as the guest referee? Why not! Hardcore matches, Ladder matches, King-of-the-Ring, Iron man, Cage matches; if you’d seen it on the television, you could recreate it here.
The People’s Champion
Unlike its rivals, WWF No Mercy’s gameplay was unsurpassed. The speed of the game was more methodical, attacks had more weight and signature moves felt as devastating as their real life counterparts. Boasting hundreds of recognisable moves, finishers, signature taunts and context sensitive actions; WWF No Mercy gave players unprecedented control for laying the Smackdown.
Unlike its rivals, WWF No Mercy’s gameplay was unsurpassed.
Each superstar felt unique, accurately reflecting their real life counter-parts strengths and weaknesses. For example, characters such as Kane and the Undertaker were slow but powerful in grappling and striking situations, whilst the more dare devil; high flying superstars such as Jeff Hardy were quicker and more effective when using aerial attacks. Heavier opponents (we’re talking The Big Show, Rikishi and Viscera) were difficult to lift. Without the required momentum, your wrestler may not be able to execute a grappling move on them.
Submission specialists were also catered for due to the fact you could effectively target specific areas of your opponent. For example, if you were playing as Chris Jericho you could target your opponent’s legs, softening them up for the Walls of Jericho and inevitable submission victory.
He Kicked Out! He Kicked Out!
AKI managed to create a system that remarkably represented all the unpredictability and drama of a real WWF match. The crux of WWF No Mercy’s gameplay relies on a unique stamina/momentum system known as the spirit meter, an ingenious creation which sets the foundation for the action. The spirit meter determined the likelihood of your moves being performed successfully, the ability to reverse an opponent or consequently be reversed. Ultimately, the goal is to obtain enough ‘spirit’ (the strength of which is indicated by blue for ‘cold’ and red for ‘hot’) so that your superstar can unleash their powerful special move. If enough damage is caused to a wrestler, they may be knocked out, unable to recovery from the can of whoop ass you just opened up.
The fight to reach a high spirit level, and the fear of facing such a pumped up opponent created a sense of genuine excitement. However, even at your lowest point, using the right tactics, or expertly timing a reversal can turn a match on its head. Pulling off that unthinkable move, a last minute reversal, that one last kick out which turns the tide in your favour is infinitely satisfying.
Know Your Role
A complex grappling, striking and countering system compliments the spirit system. Players have a choice of two grapple types, strong and weak. Weak grapples are best used to build up your spirit level, whilst strong grapples are vital for impacting significant damage to your opponents but are consequently easier to reverse.
Striking is effective at wearing an opponent down, however, when facing an opponent with high spirit, it’s likely you’ll wind up on the receiving end of a reversal and the taste slapped out of your mouth.
At the hands of more experienced players, matches can play out almost like a game of chess.
Countering adds a tactical element to proceedings. At the hands of more experienced players, matches can play out almost like a game of chess. One bad decision and you can quickly end up with your back on the canvas for the one-two-three count.
Oh Hell Yeah!
Although WWF No Mercy shipped with an infamous bug which would delete all your save data (old copies were later replaced and new copies fixed), I can’t stress just how fantastic this game really was and still is. Whenever I hook it up to the television, I can’t help but smile. Without a shadow of doubt, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages; WWF No Mercy is by far the greatest wrestling game of all time. Do I pray every night for a remake? Yes, yes I do.
If you consider yourself even remotely interested in wrestling, then WWF No Mercy is the only game worthy of a true fan’s attention. Engrossing, engaging gameplay ensures that WWF No Mercy will forever stand the test of time. Please, don’t be a jabroni; at some point in your life, grab some friends, grab some beers and play this game.
And that’s the bottom line, cause’ Sumonix said so!