Wrestlemania is here again, so slap on the warpaint, raise a people's eyebrow and check out some Stone Cold classic games of the WWE. Gimme a Hell Yeah...
It's not every day that someone waves "You Suck" signs in your face while at work; but for the muscle-bound megastars and dazzling divas of pro wrestling, it's all part of the job. While the world gets to grips with WWE 2K14, take a look at some WWE games that headlined the Main Event in PlayStation history. Ring the damn bell!
All the razzmatazz, drama and relentless action you can shake a big foam hand at; the SmackDown! franchise debut went down a storm across the wrestling-loving planet. Given the chance to become their favourite superstar or create a brand new grappler from scratch, players could live out their own title-chasing careers or design unique ratings-busting Pay-Per-View Events. Multiplayer bouts would often descend into chaos as a player-controlled referee could make some very dodgy calls in the ring.
WWE SmackDown! Just Bring It
WWE dropkicked its way onto PS2 with even more wrestlers, loads more moves and a stack of match-up options. Just Bring It was the first in the franchise to feature commentary to replicate the feel of live TV, while players were now bestowed with two different finishing manoeuvres for more ways to leave opponents eating canvas. With improvements to the create-a-superstar mode, along with smoother graphics and a return of fast-paced action, fans were quick to grab this game in a figure four leglock.
WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw
A SmackDown! franchise rebrand resulted in a deeper and more realistic wrestling simulation. For the first time ever, fans across the world were able to tie-up against each other in online multiplayer matches, while choosing if their wrestler was a Face or a Heel (good guy or bad guy) to influence their fighting style. A series a mini-games – from tests of strength to tense stare downs – randomly occurred before or during matches, while creation mode was given a boost with players now able to form stables (groups or teams of wrestlers).
WWE Legends of Wrestlemania
Breaking away from the more serious SmackDown! franchise, Legends has big, cartoony wrestlers unleash gravity-defying super moves in frantic arcade action. A roster packed with nostalgia boasts names from the '80s and '90s alongside more recent stars; allowing players to create classic and dream match-ups. Book a place on the WrestleMania Tour to play out famous matches, and relive or rewrite history to earn a slot in the WWE Hall of Fame. The roster could be expanded by importing stars from a copy of SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009.
WWE All Stars
PlayStation 3 and PSP (PlayStation Portable)
Two generations collide in one ring in this spiritual successor to Legends. Fans are treated to another fistful of gloriously pumped-up OTT arcade action and exaggerated superstars as dream match-ups dominate story-led game modes alongside classic survival modes. A wide variety of moves and attacks are determined by the fighting style of a chosen wrestler, with each superstar assigned a category from nimble Acrobats, strong Brawlers, technical Grapplers and the all-powerful Big Man.
The SmackDown! franchise was rebranded again with WWE 12, and a year later the now in-depth wrestling sim boasted a ton of features – headlined by the Attitude Era and Universe game modes. A celebration of the widely-considered greatest days of WWE, the Attitude Era mode let players relive timeless matches through the eyes of different wrestlers; while in Universe mode, players can effectively "run" the WWE by booking shows and matches. Another major inclusion was Spectacular Moments – eye-catching, crowd-pleasing events that could happen at any second during a match, from opponents crashing through the safety barricades, to the whole ring collapsing under the weight of the beefed-up grapplers.
It's real! It's fake! Who cares? Pro wrestling is downright entertaining, but don't try any of their crazy moves at home on your dog or siblings... leave that to the professionals – and to the little digital grapplers living in your PlayStation.
Spelunky, Dust an Elysian Tale and more, available now