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WWE Crush Hour (GC)

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      29.06.2003 19:52
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      It's not quite wrestling, it's not quite a racer, and it's not quite a shoot 'em up! Which begs the question what exactly is WWE Crush Hour? As most people know the WWE is a very large wrestling organisation, Mr. McMahon the billionaire has finally taken the business to a new level, and rather than just restricting business to in the ring wrestling he has taken over television channels where WWE Superstars will appear in commercials, television programs, and WWE's latest venture a Crush Hour sport. Of course this is all fictitious but one could easily see Mr. McMahon attempting to take over television stations and creating new sports, considering the power mad image that is depicted on television and of course the XFL that Mr. McMahon created a few years ago. WWE Crush Hour obviously has the potential for success, any game with WWE branded over it does, but with this not being a wrestling game as such is it a brilliantly thought through master piece of a cash in? GRAPHICS Visually WWE Crush Hour is distinctly average. Admittedly each wrestler accurately represents their real life counterparts and there are a lot of explosions when battling others but there is nothing that separates WWE Crush Hour from any other racing game. Luckily there is a lot of vehicle damage ranging from small defects in the car to smoking vehicles ready to explode. Vehicles also change when players use armour or become invincible so that they can visually see when they have collected certain objects giving the player different advantages. Although strictly concentrating on vehicles and explosions this would not be a WWE game if there weren't notable WWE features. Located in the top left hand corner is a display with different character's profiles, when players have performed a particularly successful move they will become animated and utter a phrase. Entrances are impressive as always, wrestlers come out in their vehicles with their titantron
      in the background. Despite this being a key feature to wrestling games it seems a little artificial. Surely vehicles should line up ready to compete rather than have music blaring out of the P.A system and titantron videos! To add to the WWE feel there are various banners and sponsors in each match/battle referring to WWE events or shows such as Smackdown. Undoubtedly the game looks best when cut scenes take place, although rare these can be seen in odd intervals to serve as commercials or at the very start of the game when a news reporter explains how the WWE has taken over television. Cut scenes surpass the likes of Smackdown's graphics and show promise for the future in the form of some rather adverse Kane advertisements and an overenthusiastic Jonathan Coachman introducing Crush Hour! Although not the best of lookers in game WWE Crush Hour looks adequate in the graphics department and is by no means an ugly game. 14/20 SOUND Aside from Booker T's theme music (as in Wrestlemania X8) all entrances sound identical to those seen on television, although as mentioned before it is questionable whether entrances are really necessary. It is through sound that most of the WWE features of the game are expressed. Legendary commentator Jim Ross provides play by play. Luckily the comments are all appropriate as opposed to efforts where commentary has had a time lag of about ten seconds to actually pick up on what has happened, however the comments are far too infrequent and anything that is said is often repeated in every single contest - at some points they will be repeated in the same match consecutively! It isn't just JR who has decided to speak but the official WWE ring announcer and the wrestler's themselves. Whenever the wrestler's execute a move they are particularly proud of they feel it necessary to make some sort of comment to acknowledge what they have done, although none particularly help the flow of action. Some are
      fine as they give an insight into the personality of the character but some are just downright stupid such as Booker T confessing he is in fact a woman beater stating "I'll knock his damn momma out," and Stacey Kiebler stating the obvious when she makes the observation that she has legs and knows how to use them! In addition to the ranting and raving of the WWE wrestlers and commentators there is the roar of engines, blasts of weaponry, and explosions of vehicles. Nothing stands out to be particularly impressive but as with the graphics the sound isn't dire just standard. Sadly what will often start out as a grin as a wrestler utters a random phrase for the first time will often turn into a groan, after all there is only so many times one can hear about Booker T's obsession with hitting your mother now isn't there? 12/20 GAMEPLAY Gamers must take part in a series of battles in vehicles. There are various different types of matches that can take place all baring the name of a wrestling match. There is a vague resemblance between each battle and the wrestling match but the biggest similarity is in name only. Although this may prove a disappointment to some this does not mean that there aren't some fun battles to take place in. Although the standard match where gamers race around an arena and simply have to blow each other up are not particularly entertaining when there are stipulations added to each match the game starts to pick up pace particularly in multi-player mode. Some of the better modes include the lumberjack and hardcore match. The lumberjack match is by far the most entertaining in the game particularly if played on multi-player. Now a wrestling lumberjack match refers to a match whereby two wrestlers fight in a ring and there are around ten wrestlers outside the ring who push the wrestlers back in the ring if they fall out. Bearing that in mind it would be an easy mistake to assume that a lumbe
      rjack match in Crush Hour would consist of two people battling with various vehicles surrounding the arena - oh how wrong could one be! This bears no resemblance whatsoever to a lumberjack match. Gamers must collect ten stars; stars are located at various points and appear one at a time. The racer who collects ten stars first wins. This means that every time a new star is placed in the arena there is a mad dash to retrieve that star. Although this may sound relatively basic the fun comes from the stipulation that if a character's vehicle should be destroyed they lose a star, this leads to very addictive and fun matches where intelligent tactics can be put in place. If a racer has nine stars and the rest have an average of five then the other racers will quickly attack the racer with nine stars. In a matter of minutes the flow of play can be totally reversed with the racer who was winning with say just four stars and the rest of the racers holding between seven and nine stars. One of the features that is apparent in this match and few others is that there is a genuine rush of excitement when partaking in the match yet other matches seem to be more of a chore than a joy to play such as the basic free for all matches where gamers are simply required to destroy a set number of opponents. Hardcore matches, although not as addictive as lumberjack matches may also prove fun. This sees gamers fight it out for the Hardcore Championship. Once a gamer has found the belt in the arena they must flee for thirty seconds to win the match. Other gamers must destroy the vehicle with the belt and then pick it up themselves if they wish to win, if this is done then another thirty second countdown begins but if gamers fail to destroy the vehicle within thirty seconds then the vehicle with the championship is the winner. Although fun this mode can last less than one minute if a gamer is located by the belt near the start and then uses a lot of turbos to escape the others, of cou
      rse the time that the mode lasts largely depends on the arena, if it is big then chances are the match will be short lived, if small however then gamers could be in for a long contest. In addition to this there are many other matches to take part in each differing slightly but with the same key ingredient involving vehicles and destroying one another. Although destroying vehicles may have a limited effect in the royal rumble if you have possession of the crown it is always a good idea to destroy others to reduce the threat of them attacking you. There are two main modes of play; career and exhibition. Exhibition sees gamers take place in a one off battle against friends or computer controlled characters whereas career sees a player take one wrestler through many competitions. Exhibition is best suited for multi-player, testing out characters, and having a quick session on favourite matches whereas Career provides the bulk of the gaming experience. Career mode sees gamers take part in various matches, the only way to advance to the next stage is to win - second best will not do! As gamers progress further, needless to say matches get more interesting with different stipulations. Although this may add variation to the game it is fair to say that each battle is largely the same with stipulations just being minor alterations to the task at hand. This means that some gamers may feel a little cheated but baring in mind that wrestling is essentially the same with different stipulation and racing games like Midnight Club II are all identical except for the location there is no real need to feel this way. Gamers can unlock various arenas and characters to play as in both exhibition and career mode so whilst gamers may start off with a basic selection of characters (although certainly not lacking in size) old time greats such as The Nature Boy himself Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan (now masquerading as Mr. America) will become available. Perhaps the main disappointment with ca
      reer mode is that there isn't a storyline. Although some viewers tune into wrestling for the action a lot tune in for the storylines so bearing in mind that this isn't strictly wrestling and the game starts off with a strong FMV introducing the situation it would have been nice to see a storyline - no such luck! The only FMV's that take place in career mode are commercials which emphasise that WWE has taken over television. If WWE taking over television could have been developed throughout the game then certainly there may have been a degree of depth to the game but with nothing whatsoever career mode is essentially a string of exhibition matches and nothing more. Playing the game is enjoyable if participating in the right type of match but take away all the stipulations and added incentives and what you are left with is something that resembles the battle mode of Crash Team Racing with wrestlers! Wrestler's alter depending on their size so those who wish to defeat opponents by simply ramming into them should choose the Big Show and his Big Rig but those looking for a bit of pace should opt for characters such as RVD and Jeff Hardy, who although not as powerful can get away a lot more quicker if this is required of them. With the variation of matches in career mode it is usually best to opt for an all rounder such as Brock Lesnar but who one chooses depends on their own personal style. WWE Crush Hour falls short in the fact that it doesn't quite offer anything that has long lasting appeal. It isn't wrestler, it isn't a shoot 'em up, it isn't a racer, and it doesn't have any extra modes aside from the battle element. WWE Crush Hour can not be considered a waste of time for it has some valuable ideas and is on the whole an okay game. If THQ are to improve upon this title they need to add in some extra features and modes of play. Although the WWE label will have undoubtedly helped the game in terms of sales one can't help
      but ask if THQ would have been more successful had they have created this title without the WWE license, at least then the title may have been taken a little more seriously. 16/25 LIFESPAN Sadly this is an extremely short title and can be completely within hours in career mode. The advantage to such a short title is that it can be mastered with ease making it a very accessible pick up and play title but in the gaming world today length is important. Gamers do have to play through the career mode several times to unlock all characters but once this has been done and all have been tested out the only reason to continue playing the game is multi-player mode. WWE fans will appreciate occasional multi-player games and it certainly makes a refreshing change from the virtually exhausted Smackdown series. What WWE Crush Hour needs is a few more modes to help give the game some "oomph." If WWE wishes to stray from pure wrestling games then Crush Hour suggests that there is the possibility to do this but rather than make a game based solely on this new "Crush Hour" sport why not create a game that has several mini games similar to Mario Party 4? The storyline speaks of WWE taking over all television so capitalising on this with many innovative WWE related programs and events would have made for a fun and varied game, as things are WWE Crush Hour is borderline entertaining while it lasts but is over nearly as soon as it started. 15/25 ORIGINALITY There have been both wrestling games and games that have had a similar battle mode to the matches in Crush Hour such as Crash Team Racing, but there has not been a game to combine wrestling with battling in vehicles. Although original in this sense it doesn't really add any major innovations to the arcade battle racing genre. It is clear that there has been an attempt to add something new to the gaming market by producing a spin off from the successful Smackdown ser
      ies but sadly there is nothing that new. Although enjoyable modes such as "Survivor Series" help gamers get the most out of the title, the whole WWE image seems to hinder rather than help this title, particularly when matches are labelled as WWE matches that bare no resemblance to the actual battle leading to misconceptions. 5/10 OVERALL There is certainly an idea here for a very entertaining game where high power vehicles battle against each other until there is one remaining. WWE Crush Hour is marketed towards WWE fans but only really provides gamers with their favourite wrestlers than any WWE like action or storyline. There are full titantron entrances and commentary from JR to satisfy wrestling fans but the short length of the game will not be enough to leave gamers feeling entirely happy. For fans determined to play this game a rental is in order but for those looking for a new pick up and play title only indulge in this for the multi-player mode. 62%

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