reviews\ Nov 20, 2002 at 7:00 pm

WWE Road to WrestleMania X8 - GBA - Review

The timing is perfect. Triple H runs across the ring, and using the ropes to boomerang him back, delivers a spinning blow to a staggered Kurt Angle. The master of a devastating ankle lock isn’t wobbling anymore. He is flat on his back.

Triple H comes up behind him and kneels to administer a submission hold that sounds like gears being ratcheted into place. Rope break! Angle is hurting, but being the professional that his is, he is far from through.

Road to Wrestlemania X8, a THQ, Natsume and JAKKS Pacific release for the GameBoy Advance, is a two-dimensional ring romp that is entertaining and packs a lot of game into the hand-held console system.

The game features a wonderful WWE roster, including The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane, Rob Van Dam (identified as RVD in the game), Hollywood Hogan, Edge, Booker T, and Test, among other.

When it comes to game options, the program has single player challenge mode, which includes Championship, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble, Gauntlet and Pay-Per-View (you create the card). There is also an exhibition mode that has an Exhibition fight, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble and Team Battle. Multiplayer, in which players hook up via the GameLink cable, has the same array as the single play exhibition.

Tag team events are fun, with superstars working over an opponent, then running into the corner for the tag. The screen blinks when it is time for the partner to make an appearance. However, not all wrestlers, in spite of being rested, are able to dominate the minute they enter the ring. A little bar at the top of the screen shows each wrestler’s "special meter," which is powered up and, once full, enables the wrestler to perform his signature-finishing move.

The control elements take full advantage of the GBA’s limited options, employing the A and B buttons in tandem with other controls for a wide range of movement. There are close to 50 options available with each group broken down into situation like grapple moves from behind an opponent, or moves specific to a cage match. Give yourself time to learn all the moves because while you can stab at the controls and effect a decent attack, having a solid grasp of the controls will end matches much quicker.

The sound is solid. Some of the signature effects associated with some of the ring superstars are included ("Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?" is easily the most famous). Yes, a few of the effects are silly, like the ratcheting sound, but overall this game features decent audio.

The graphical elements of the game are two-dimensional. Wrestlers can move up and down across the ring, but this is extremely stilted and awkward when compared to the animation of aerials or body slams. And rather than create miniature wrestlers, the developers have opted for a ring that exceeds the confines of the GBA screen, with proportional wrestlers.

Road to Wrestlemania X8 is a challenging and entertaining game that is well suited to this platform. The game does a good job in the options department, and should be a hit with fans of the sport and those up for an enjoyable foray into the fighting-game world.

This program is rated for Everyone.


Gameplay: 8
The minute you begin a match, the clock ticks on and on and on seamlessly until the match ends. Wrestlers can take advantage of their surroundings, in and out of the ring. Even tossing an opponent outside the ring to get waylaid by an interfering wrestler is enjoyable.

Graphics: 7.8
While the graphical elements are two dimensional, and a little stilted when moved vertically on the screen, the game still does a good job of rendering animation that mimics the real thing.

Sound: 7
There are some nice elements to play against the sillier effects. But overall this is average.

Difficulty: Medium
The game does have several difficulty levels and the number of moves available will produce a learning curve of 20-30 minutes to get truly comfortable.

Concept: 8
Wrestling games are not exactly new to the console gaming world, but this program contains an excellent options package while maximizing the resources of the GameBoy.

Multiplayer: N/A
This game does support multiplayer gaming over the GameLink cable.

Overall: 8
This game fits the platform very nicely. The game may not do a great job in vertical movement, and you may have a time finding the right line that your opponent is on, but the game does a solid job of emulating WWE wrestling while challenging and entertaining game players.


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