reviews\ Nov 19, 2002 at 7:00 pm

WWE Raw - PC - Review

"Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?"

Yep, and whatever it is has curdled. Back in February of this year, THQ released WWF Raw for the Xbox and the game, though sporting some unrealistic fight elements (take that with a grain of salt), was fast-paced and graphically very nice.

Nine months have passed and the game has ported to the PC. What happened?  Perhaps the range of system specs caused the game play to become mired in mud. Whatever is the case, WWE Raw is a plodding mess with slow control responses, slow motion animation and horrible crowd shots.

Now before wrestling fans unite to administer a collective body slam, while blaming the host system for the slow game play, it should be noted that the game’s minimum system requirements call for a PIII 500 with 64 megs of RAM and Nvidia TNT2 or GeForce1, 2 or 3 video cards. The host system for the game is a PIII 800 with 640 megs of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4200 card ­ all well exceeding the minimum specs.

So the game is launched and just for giggles, Trish Stratus is matched up against The Big Show. The lucky CPU gets to control Stratus while The Big Show is player controlled. Not very many wrestlers in the WWE can get The Big Show up in the air. Trish may be stunned to find out that she can muscle up all 7'2" and 500 lbs. for that body slam. And the woman is resilient. The Big Show can pummel her for almost 6 minutes before getting the pin.

When it comes to the controls, the game is a little suspect as well. Using a gamepad, the game was ponderous and reaction time was slow. But that wasn’t all that surprising when put in relationship to the graphics.

Each superstar has the same spectacular introduction featured on the televised programs, complete with fireworks, and posing on either the ring apron or on the turnbuckles. And then the camera pans the crowd, to take in the signs, and destroys the whole introduction. Cardboard cartoon cutouts would look better.

One of the hallmarks of the WWE is the sheer athleticism of its participants. These people are not only big and strong, but fast and agile. They can perform aerobatics with assured ease and are amazing to watch. This program doesn’t capture that. This is more like mud wrestling than professional wrestling.

The game does sport a variety of options (all identical to the Xbox version) and players can indulge in exhibition, title matches, king of the ring in addition to creating a superstar. There are two difficulty levels ­ normal and hardcore. You can also set the game for a count out, pin, or submission, as well as select a manager who can ‘interfere’ on your behalf. You can wrestle in a single match, tag team (two versus two), tornado match (two versus two, but everyone can get into the ring), triple threat (three competitors), fatal four-way (four competitors), battle royal (four in the ring), and handicap match (one versus two or one versus three).

The sound is well done and emulates the televised version of this sport. As for controls ­ there are 43 moves that can be used, but while the game does support a gamepad, the controls are outlined only for the keyboard.

WWE Raw was a game that was fairly decent on the Xbox. It just doesn’t translate well to the PC.

This game is rated Teen for mild lyrics and violence.


Gameplay: 5.5
The wrestlers move excruciatingly slow compared to real-life counterparts and this game is a rehash of the February console release.

Graphics: 6
The wrestlers do look like their counterparts and the introduction, as well as signature moves, are included. But the animation is plodding and stiff. Frankenstein’s monster could seemingly move quicker than The Rock.

Sound: 7
The game sports all the sound elements associated with the television spectacle that is professional wrestling.

Difficulty: Medium
The game is keyboard oriented although you can use and program a gamepad for some of the moves. However because the keyboard has 43-keystroke combinations for the wide variety of moves, this game doesn’t seem to let that translate well to a gamepad. The learning curve for the keystrokes combinations is estimated at 40-45 minutes to get comfortable.

Concept: 6
Porting this game to the PC would have allowed for other variants to be included, but this game is a rehash of the console program.

Multiplayer: 6.5
Several players can participate on one machine in a variety of matches. This is marginally more fun, and spontaneous than taking on the CPU.

Overall: 6
This is a game that should have been improved or upgraded for the PC. It wasn’t. If anything, the console version is much better and more fluid than the PC version.

Above Average

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