Nintendo fans may not know it, but Yuke’s has actually worked on
several wrestling games for THQ in the past…only they’ve all been
Smackdown! titles on the PlayStation and PS2 with the exception of
Wrestlemania X8. With Aki moving on to work with EA, THQ was
forced to utilize Yuke’s again for WWE Wrestlemania XIX. The
result is a game that’s still not as good as the Aki’s best on the N64
No Mercy), but a worthy wrestling game all the same.
If you’ve played just about any post-16 bit wrestling game, you’ll
feel at home with the controls here. XIX features your
standard counter system, with different buttons for grappling and
striking as well as a counter button for each. Players can also work
the crowd with several different poses, which help to build up a meter
that eventually allows for finishing move combos. XIX actually
seems deeper in this respect, as each wrestler has several different
finishers that can be utilized depending on specific circumstances
(ex: where an opponent is in relation to the player). If this is your
first wrestling game it’ll take a while to get used to it all, but the
manual is well done and before long the game mostly becomes second
Unfortunately, one trait Yuke’s should’ve brought over from the
Smackdown! franchise but didn’t is the season mode. Instead, we
have a Revenge mode that has the player assisting Stephanie McMahon
(as if that isn’t bad enough) in getting revenge on her father Vince.
This takes place in one of several different locales, including a
shopping mall and construction site among others. Players will have
to meet a variety of objectives to advance, taking on various WWE
workers, security officers, other on-site people, and of course
wrestlers in the process. While solid enough, I would’ve preferred a
more traditional season mode where most of the action takes place in
the ring under actual wrestling rules. Other gameplay modes include
King of the Ring, Tutorial (training with Al “J.O.B. Squad” Snow),
Exhibition, Shopzone (buy stuff with money earned in Revenge mode),
and Create a Superstar. All standard stuff for a wrestling game, and
pretty much what you’d expect too.
Graphically XIX doesn’t wow with special effects, but is very
solid in all areas. The different arenas are well done; although the
problems that have always plagued wrestling games in this area are
still present (namely flat cutout crowds and lackluster lighting.
Every wrestler looks pretty good, although animation is a bit stiff in
some places and silky smooth in others. Wrestlers take damage
realistically, grabbing various body parts as they’re damaged and
bleeding like a stuck pig (as Good Ol’ JR would say). The entrances
are spot-on relatively speaking, and there are several types of
cutscenes that play during a match whenever a big move is pulled off
(such as Undertaker’s Last Ride being replayed from four different
Sound effects are composed of various crowd cheers and taunts,
authentic entrance music (replaced with generic when it’s licensed),
and generic in-match rock. Strikes and mat sounds sound good enough,
and the sound of a barrel crashing into an opponent is satisfying.
Tried and true gameplay wrestling fans know and love.
The entrances are good, as I was particularly impressed with Matt
The Create a Superstar mode is deep, although I don’t personally
care about it.
Season mode takes place outside of the ring, mostly fighting
generic security officers and construction workers. The
objectives are OK, but I'd prefer more interaction between
wrestlers and other personalities.
Not an innovative game for sure.
If you like WWE, this is the game for you. It’s the best wrestling
game on GameCube (unless you count Def Jam Vendetta), and good
enough to be a recommended purchase for true fans even if you already
own WWE Wrestlemania X8.