A few months back, I read an issue of Retro Gaming (lost it, moved house) and there was a small article on SmackDown! 2 proclaiming it one of the best wrestling games ever made. This infuriated me, and I couldn’t figure out why.
I had the game in 2000, I queued up outside Electronic Boutique to buy it the day it came out, skipping school, and gorging for months on it’s sparkly goodness. I was eventually converted to No Mercy, and through good ol’ father time I began to forget about SmackDown! 2. This is partly because the sequels all sucked (or didn’ live up to SD!2), but mostly it is because No Mercy is one of the best games ever. I am not just talking best wrestling game. I am saying No Mercy is in my top 10 games of all time.
While No Mercy went for slower, more tactical wrestlingwrestling experience, SmackDown! 2 went for full throttle action/arcade style wrestling. It was a departure from what I normally liked, but I loved it. I had played a few utterly terrible wrestling games in the late 90’s/early 2000’s (mostly WcW titles) that a change of pace was needed, and boy did SD!2 do that.
The career in SD!2 is pretty strong, it starts after Wrestlemania, and goes for 5 years. You get 5 events in a month, 2 SmackDown, 2 Raw, and the monthly Pay Per View, so the career is fairly sizable, particularly when compared to SmackDown! 1.
You can play as a real life wrestler, however, what most people will want to do is create their own character, so you can whoop Stone Cold’s ass to WWF Title glory! And with that, I introduce you to Van Rockingham. An almost 100% accurate representation of me.
The character creator is pretty powerful (for the time), and offers a whole host of options. But because I just wanted to play the game, I spend about 10-15 minutes on this. Craig will back me up when I say we normally spend about 10-15 hours crafting our dudes on character creation. So while I used basic editing, there is an advanced creator.
The one thing I did edit in advance mode was the personality traits, and frankly, Ex-Nobility is my best one. As you’ll later discover, Triple H is an AssHat.
SD!2 looks good in game. The cutscenes are a little shonkey, but for PS1 this was top notch.
SD!2 was the first game (that I can think of) that used actual TitanTrons, and decent quality intro videos/music as it used actual videos, unlike No Mercy, which due to cartridge limitations used an awful stopmotion/freeze frame stills of videos, and slightly tinny music. It also looks good, and compares well to No Mercy.
Basically, if it wasn’t for No Mercy being SOOOOOOOOOOO awesome SD!2 would probably be remembered as one of the greatest wrestling game. Let’s be clear, SD!2 isn’t as good as No Mercy, but FFVIII isn’t as good as FFVII, but they are still fantastic games.
Pros: Create a wrestler is pretty powerful, Titontrons, actual music,
Cons: A little easy, the in game music!
SUPER SECRET BONUS SECTION
The following is an extract from the diary of a jobbing wrestler making his first tentative steps into WWF.
Week 1: SmackDown
- No match
Week 2: Raw is War
- No Match
Week 3: SmackDown
- No Match
- It is painful watching all these other matches. I realise I can skip them, but I have to sit through an auto-resolve screen. Starting to grate.
- The headline is Chyna vs X-Pac. I feel left out!
- I get bored and inexplicably call out Hardcore Holly. He kicks my ass, as I didn’t know the buttons…
Week 4: Raw is War
- No Match… I am starting to notice a pattern here
- Gangrel vs Albert for the 3rd time in a row. Why are these guys getting matches, and not me?
- Backstage, I spot Triple H asking DX to whomp The
- Chyna just won the Intercontinental Title. where is my shot? This is unfair, I’m considering retirement!
CockRock retains his title despite his ass whooping from DX
- Stone Cold appears, he blows up a trailer, and decides HE is going to special guest referee the Backlash main event. This seems unfair, he is back 2 seconds and he is on a bill. I have been here 4 weeks and no fights!
Week 5: Backlash
- No match, went and had a beer.
- Stone Cold refs Triple H vs The
CockRock. Triple H wins, I give him a thumbs up backstage afterwards. He ignores me, PRICK!
Week 1: Raw is Bore
- I realise I can enter myself into Heavyweight division. You’re now looking at the 9th in line for a title shot!
- No Match…
- Perry Saturn is European Champ. This seems unfair!
Week 2: SmackDown
- I decided stepping up to Heavyweight is a step too far for now. I enter the European rankings.
- I have muted the game, the music is annoying.
- Gangrel vs Steve Blackman, considering handing in my 2 weeks notice.
Week 3: Raw
- No match…
- Essa Rios vs Funaki is the first match. I hand in my 2 weeks notice.
- Kane beats up Triple H in the backroom. I stand and watch, prick should have acknowledged me the other week.
- Val Venus is a dick! He attacks me backstage with a 2by4. I SMASH HIS IMPERTINENT FACE INTO THE GROUND!
Week 4: SmackDown
- I have a match! I guess my notice bluff worked, thankfully they caved. Not sure how I’d support the wife and kids if this job fell through.
- I unmute the game to hear my AWESOME TitanTron music!
- I discover I chose Steve Blackman’s music by mistake. I almost faint in dismay!
- The anger of Steve Blackman’s theme inspires me to a 1:44 victory. I didn’t even use my special.
- To celebrate my victory, I mute the game.
Week 5: Judgement Day
- No match… But to be fair, I don’t really deserve one.
- Triple H decides he is having an Ironman Match vs The
CockRock, Shawn Michaels decides to make an appearance. I remember I actually wantedwanted his music!
- I seem to be watching Triple H in his trailer, this feels a little creepy
- Kane vs Undertaker in a Casket Match, I remember how shit these were…
CockRock beats Triple H, I suspect foul play by Shawn Michaels.
- Triple H whomps Shawn in revenge. I watch…
Week 1: Raw is War
- For some reason I am 6th on the Bill in a Fall Anywhere Match
- A mysterious man attacks Stone Cold backstage. I forgot that bald coot was around, he ain’t done shit since he stole my thunder, and place at Backlash! They should fire his ass.
- I bump into Stone Cold backstage, I don’t recognise him, and ask him who he is. I think I am loosing my mind.
- Just seen Stone Cold again, he is limping, seems he is injured. I recognise him this time, so I got that going for me… which is nice.
- Stone Cold pulls out of his match. The guy is faking it, might tell Vince.
- Time for my match vs Crash Holly and Steve Blackman. Hoping nobody uses weapons. I am feeling a little rusty.
- That Steve Blackman has the tenacity to steal MY TitanTron! Prick! As a result, I figure out my special, and Torture Rack him 3 times, before pinning him. Crash Holly, helplessly stands by and watches.
- Urgh, due to Stone Cold faking njury, I have to fight a mystreious man. Turns out he is a doppleganger of Stone Cold. Some of tonight’s events start to make sense.
- I punch Mysterious Man in face once, and pin him. match is over in 20 seconds. Crowd are a little annoyed, but I’m glad, my back is sore from all that Torture Racking.
- I smugly boost into microphone. Success has gone to my head.
- Looking forward to a well earned week off.
Week 2: SmackDown
- My fame proceeds me, I am headlining this shit! Fatal 4 Way vs Kane, Rikishi, and Edge. I am WAY out of my depth.
- Kurt Angle turns up to talk about King of the Ring, but nobody cares. They’re all here to see me! I ask Vince to rename it Van RocKING of the RingINGHAM. Vince laughs.
- Have to sit through 3 other people’s TitanTron. They all suck, just play mine 4 times!
- I snap Rikishi in half with a Torture Rack
Week 3: Raw is War
- What the hell! I am slumming it in match 2 vs Albert! Who do they think I am? Crash Holly? PFFT! Anyway, least Steve Cackman doesn’t get a match, the prick! Hate that guy!
- Realise my profile picture looks like a sinister Chris Benoit. I feel this is somewhat distasteful considering “events”
- To make ammends for being an arse a few months back, Triple H comes to the ring and whomps Albert, and Pedigrees the SHIT OUTTA HIM. I am kinda glad, I was struggling here.
- Oh no, Test shows up… I ask the Ref to stop the fight, he refuses!
- I finally win with a Torture Rack, I am starting to think I should get into BDSM. I clearly like it kinky and rough.
- Dean Malenko finally loses to Scotty Too Hotty after 5 attempts, so STH is the Light-Heavy Champ. I feel that could have been me, if I wasn’t 7ft tall and 499lbs. Anyway Van RocKING of the RingINGHAM is coming up, so I am excited by that.
- I just realised the SmackDown music is Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People, I lament my lost youth think MM wasa good musician.
Week 4: SmackDown
- Just realised the game was unmuted again…Quickly muted (again)
- Triple H is reduced to 4th on bill vs Big Boss Man, fuck him anyway, this is my year.
- Anyway, I have a match vs Faarooq, Al Sneeer, and Hardcore Holly in another Fall Aywhere Match. I ain’t worried, I got this shit. I’m undefeated YO!
- I Torture Rack Hardcore 3 times behind a forklift truck, you can’t quiet see what happened. Seemed sketchy, don’t ask. We may have kissed…
Week 5: Van RocKING of the RingINGHAM
- I am not entered, I resign on the spot!
- On reflection, I realise VAN ROCKing of the ringINGHAM is a better name. The humiliation is complete, I should have listened to the wife,
- On the plus side, I make friends with Mr Ass as I leave the arena, makes me lust for asses. I’ll tell the wife I’ll be late home.
- The Undertaker beats Crash Holly in VAN ROCKing of the ringINGHAM. What was Crash doing there? This is so painful, I score some cocaine and hookers
- I leave Arena shouting “I CALL BULLSHIT ON THIS!!