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Legends of Wrestling II (GC)

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1 Review

"Over 65 legendary wrestlers; each with signature entrances and taunts. Never-before-seen $15;000 Body Slam Challenge with Big John Studd. All-new storyline and career modes"

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    1 Review
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      07.03.2003 17:31
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      For years wrestling has been exciting fans worldwide, from the days of High Chief Peter Maivia in WWF and Big Daddy in England to the present where stars such as Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock attract millions to tune in each week. Over the years many wrestlers have came and gone, although there are very few who can actually be known as "legends." Those that do achieve legendary status go down in the history books as greats of the wrestling world, and men whom have contributed a lot to the sport. Acclaim gives you an opportunity to control these legends, and to pit stars in matches that could never happen in reality. You can pit British heel Giant Haystacks against American heel The Million Dollar Man, you can pit star of the past Rocky Johnson against star of the present Hulk Hogan, and you can pit the bizarre George The Animal Steele against the equally bizarre Bam Bam Bigelow. Legends Of Wrestling 2 has the potential to be the best wrestling game ever as there are unlimited scenarios that can be created that see true legends battle each other. The only thing that stands in the way of Legends Of Wrestling 2 is THQ's rival title Smackdown? GRAPHICS Graphically Legends Of Wrestling 2 is not a bad game at all boasting chunky character models that resemble their real life counterparts. The graphics are a lot bolder than that of Smackdown's and don't appear to be too distant from those seen in Wrestlemania X8. When it comes to the actual fighting the moves pulled off are accurate leaving gamers to view a piledriver pulled off perfectly or more impressively the Hollywood leg drop delivered to Mr. Wonderful courtesy of Hulk Hogan. When grappling, gamers get to witness the action just as if it were being viewed on the television. Camera angles change from time to time, zooming out if wrestlers are spread out and zooming in if the wrestlers are next to each other. Legends Of Wrestling 2 is most impressive graphic
      ally when a big move is executed and the camera slows down, pans the ring and then resumes action again, this gives an effect similar to the slowdown in Max Payne and allows gamers to witness the moves pulled off in full glory. The game falls short when it comes to the fans. The fans are terrible and look like 2D cut outs taken freshly from the ancient WWF Warzone and placed in Legends Of Wrestling 2. Thankfully one can avoid looking at the fans a lot aside from when battling near the crowd where the gamer will be treated to a rather fuzzy fan aimlessly staring back waving their arms now and then. If there is to be a third instalment in the series then Acclaim will seriously have to consider how to present the crowd, whether they opt for a blurred mess of colours or a higher rate of pixels per crowd member something will have to change. In Acclaim's defence, however, there are many games out there such as V Rally that boast poor crowds, and it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the game just puts a strain on the eyes from time to time. As each wrestler comes in they have their own unique entrance. George "The Animal" Steele bites the turnbuckles resulting in a shower of feathers, whereas Brian Pillman struts down to the ring clad with shades and leather resembling the ageing rocker Ozzy Osbourne. The images presented on the titantron are a bit hit and miss, sometimes looking impressive whereas other times they appear to be as abysmal as the fans. It all depends on the distance of the camera from the titantron, if close up then there is nothing to smile about but if from a distance the action on the titantron is acceptable. As one would expect there is the usual share of fireworks and waving of hands from the fans to cheer or jeer the wrestlers. Thankfully Legends Of Wrestling 2 boasts blood, this is really important in helping create realism. When smacked across the head with a chair in Smackdown wrestlers will fall down but when a
      chair shot is delivered on LOW2 blood will spit out from the wrestler's head and they'll fall onto the blood splattered canvas. LOW2 highlights the real aspect of wrestling, showing that although it is technically sports entertainment a well delivered punch can deliver a busted eyebrow, and yes if hit with a dustbin you do bleed. Bloodshed is only present in Legends Of Wrestling as far as wrestling games for the PS2 are concerned and it is appreciated to help give a realistic, pleasing look to the game. From the chunky almost cartoon like Hulk Hogan to the giant Abdullah The Butcher LOW2 is a handsome looking game let down by a few minor flaws such as the crowd, and substandard titantron scenes. 16/20 SOUND The sound effects are very similar to those of the original LOW instalment consisting of entrance music that isn't quite authentic, clattering two by fours, gritty rock music in the background, and a bit of reaction from the crowd. The music gets off to a great start as the game opens with the brilliant rock band Saliva playing Superstar over the top of 3D wrestling action scenes. Music is similar to this throughout the game when wrestling as there is the absence of commentary when wrestling. Although commentary has gone wrong in the past with wrestling games (notably every WWF game that has incorporated the feature) one can't help but feel it would be appropriate if there were legendary commentators to choose from to go along with the whole "legends" theme. Just think you could combine Vince McMahon with Mean Gene, Jerry The King Lawler with Eric Bischoff, and of course good old JR with Bobby The Brain Heenan. Although admittedly idealistic it would be more suitable than modern rock music in the background.. The crowd that occasionally chirp up now and then in the background aren't particularly loud giving the gamer the illusion that the action is taking place in a small arena of around 2000 fans. This
      is true visually as well when the camera spans around as there doesn't seem to be a large capacity of fans occupying the spaces. This small arena feel is appropriate for LOW as the game is atmospheric and takes gamers back to the origins of wrestling when it wasn't a big glamorised entertainment package, and was rather a small business that saw two sportsmen competing in a traditional wrestling match. As far as grunts and groans are concerned they are all there, the reactions to being dropkicked in the face aren't particularly special but are more than satisfactory. The effects as the wrestlers are thrown from the turnbuckle, apron, and canvas are amplified over the top of the music to full effect. The announcer loyally does his job when announcing wrestlers whom are entering the ring giving an energetic start to the match. The sound effects may not be spectacular and the music isn't quite authentic but nonetheless the sounds are average, but that is all. 14/20 GAMEPLAY LOW2 provides a traditional slow and sluggish wrestling experience. Rather than delivering a pumped up adrenaline high flying fast experience as is the case with Smackdown LOW2 is definitely all about creating a simulation and an overall realistic wrestling experience. The mechanics are essentially the same as the first instalment of the game and as a result fans of the original game will be pleased to know that the controls are more or less the same. For gamers new to LOW however it will be a big transition from Smackdown as controls are practically the reverse of those found in Smackdown. Although much more realistic when it comes to fighting the slower pace may be viewed as an annoyance for gamers who just want to experience a fast fighting game. For those actually interested in creating a realistic wrestling match similar to those experience in WCW in the early nineties this would prove a dream come true if it weren't for the surprisingly small v
      ariety of moves that can be pulled off. When it comes to executing moves each character has around four types of ready (punch/kick) moves, three types of moves after bouncing off the ropes, two types of reversal moves, and a few grapple, ground, and turnbuckle moves. Although it all mounts up if a gamer prefers one attack, say grapple, then there really isn't much that one can do and it ultimately leads to a lot of repetition delivering the same piledriver, or the same powerbomb, time and time again. Although the actual experience in a standard match isn't anything special Acclaim have spiced up the game a bit with ladder, cage, and battle royal options. Ladder and cage matches look the most impressive but as far as fun factor is concerned it is the battle royal that provides the most excitement as many men enter battling until every man except for one has been thrown over the top rope and eliminated. Even poor gamers can enjoy this mode for once eliminated you enter as another wrestler, baring this in mind it provides the ideal way to introduce a friend to the game in multi player mode as you can showcase your skill and they can still enjoy the game safe in the knowledge that when eliminated they will join the game as another legend. The great thing about LOW2 is that the focus of the game is not directed at winning each match but at putting on a great performance for the fans, the game concentrates on the important things for real wrestlers; pulling off spectacular moves, using a variety of moves, putting across other wrestlers, and behind all else working the crowd up into a frenzy. LOW2 highlights what wrestling is really about in career mode placing the wrestler in a small time promotion in small matches until they work there way through a series of matches and get to the top of the wrestling ladder. After each match there is a summary to enjoy containing information relating to the gamers and their opponents performance. The summary inclu
      des an excitement percentage, good and bad points of the match, who their rival was in the match, how they were eliminated, their style, and a popularity percentage. When wrestling it is important to bare these categories in mind, if you want to get the best mark in each category then work the crowd up to boost your popularity ratings, and hit a lot of high flying and dangerous moves to boost your excitement rating. If the massive career mode, and novelty matches don't whet your appetite there is plenty more that can be done in Legends Of Wrestling 2, why not enter a tournament? Or perhaps have a match wearing one of the four alternative costumes the wrestler can have. Alternative costumes add value to the game for long time wrestling fans as you can dress your wrestler in a costume for a particular time in their career, a good example of this is Hulk Hogan who has his traditional yellow trunks, his alternative red, and the NWO black and white colours that he wore between '96 and '02. It isn't just alternative costumes that provide hours of entertainment for die hard wrestling fans but also the amount of unlockables that can be purchased using a rather unique coin system in the career mode. Among the things that can be purchased and unlocked in the "shop" are; wrestlers, textures, arenas, abilities, cheats, and concept art. Earning coins is fairly easy simply win exhibition matches and tournaments and you'll be rewarded with a set number of green coins, however if you want to earn red and blue coins you must take part in a mini gambling game. In this game there is a board of squares, each square flashes now and then. In order to win you must first place a bet on a square, once this has been done the game then begins, to win the blue or red coins you must quickly hit a button when the square you bet on flashes. If you press the button on the incorrect square, you lose?it may sound a little complicated and dodgy but it works rath
      er well and given a fast finger it is easy to win coins at an alarmingly fast rate. There is a tremendous amount of gameplay in this game, and assuming gamers are prepared to put up with a small variety of moves then the whole LOW experience will prove entertaining and fun. Just remember Legends Of Wrestling 2 takes the gamer back to the roots of wrestling letting them experience the knocks and falls on the bumpy road to stardom, it is not an easy fast paced ride like Smackdown but one that requires persistence. 20/25 LIFESPAN To put it in very plain terms there is a hell of a lot to do! In order to complete the game fully one must take all 65 plus wrestlers through career mode as only then will all career ending movies be unlocked. If that sounds a bit too much for you then taking just one wrestler through a career will prove entertaining as you see your wrestler go from the bottom to the top of the wrestling ladder. On top of career mode cage, ladder, battle royal and tournaments prove fun if you only have a few minutes to spare. Experiencing all of that will take a while and the prospect of unlimited multi player sessions hasn't even came into the equation yet, or for that matter around one hour of interview footage! Career mode has various storylines that can see you working from anybody ranging from a rowdy Scottish promoter to a rough Texan! Legends Of Wrestling 2 is not going to be a game that you can just rent out and complete, it is a game that, if you want to achieve the most out of it, will last a long time, and it will certainly bide you over till the next big wrestling game comes along? 24/25 ORIGINALITY The thing that has to strike one as the most original and definitely entertaining part of the game is the interviews with wrestlers. For the average wrestling fan this is a dream come true as there is a vast wealth of information available as legends are interviewed. There are around 20 interviews, and
      each last around 5 minutes each. Baring in mind this is just a game that is not a bad amount of video footage at all! Watching the interviews will further emphasise that wrestling is not just about glamour and stardom as the most famous wrestler of all Hulk Hogan says it wasn't easy getting into the business and it was "rough at first." If you don't believe him then spare at thought for him baring in mind he had to live in a trailer with Brutus "The Barbour" Beefcake for a year! It isn't just Hogan who has a few surprises but Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff as well, he was in the business for 25 years and it shows in the video footage. No longer is Orndorff a perfectly built wrestler but he is now an old man sat back in an armchair?not that this affects his ego of course when he brags about him and Hogan holding the record for the largest outdoor crowd. Most shocking of all things revealed in the interviews however, is not Hogan's trailer accommodation, not even Orndorff's ego, but the revelation that Jimmy Snuka still wrestles!! Now although the guy was a great wrestler in his day for a man of between 50 and 60 that is a phenomenal achievement and one that you must take your hat off for. If providing a factual insight into life in the squared circle doesn't seem original enough for you consider what this game stands for. The game is about reflecting on the real values and attitudes towards wrestling, what it is really like to be a pro wrestler. It is not about sports entertainment, this in itself is original for most wrestling games simply take the fancy side of wrestling and wouldn't dream of rewarding you for entertaining the fans or taking falls for other wrestlers, they would just reward you with winning. Other than that and a create a wrestler mode which seems to be a little rushed and not on the same level as previous ones Legends Of Wrestling 2 brings nothing new to the squared circle. 6/10 OVERA
      LL One should view this title as an alternative as opposed to a rival to WWE Smackdown. Although it is a rival in the respect that both are wrestling games that is where the similarities end. WWE Smackdown is about winning matches in a fast tempo arcade game whereas Legends Of Wrestling 2 is a simulation of the sport. It is definitely worth renting if nothing else, and for those who fear it isn't worth buying there is months of life in the title. 80%

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